Letters to the Editor

Time to draw the line, stiffen the CAO | Letters

We live in one of the most strikingly beautiful places on the planet.

In 2011, The New York Times placed The San Juan Islands No. 2 on its list of “Places To Go.”

Also this year, National Geographic placed the San Juan Islands No. 3 on its list of, “World Travel Destinations”.

From 1980 to 2000 our population increased by 80 percent, faster than any other county in Washington. Projections are that we will continue to see our population increase at a comparable rate.

This influx of people has led to more building, which has put pressure on our critical areas. It’s time to draw the line. It’s time to increase protections for future building.

The current draft of the revised critical areas ordinance takes protections that have been in place for the past 25 years and waters them down so much that what was once black coffee is now more like weak tea.

For example, I don’t understand the pressure to offer mitigation options.

To me the only time anything should be allowed to be built that would require mitigation is if it is for public use, when there is no good alternative.

As for private homes, they should all be placed outside of all critical areas and their buffer zones, and built using the guidelines of “limited impact development”.

San Juan County is a treasure that has been here long before we showed up and started calling parts of it our personal property, and one that will be here long after all of us are dead and gone.

We might be five years late in submitting an updated CAO, but we have the chance now to do an impressive job of it.

San Juan County should now make global headlines for a critical areas ordinance extreme in its protections so future generations can enjoy the pristine beauty that is here.

Liza Michaelson

San Juan Island

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