Letters to the Editor

Counterpoint: CAO 'corrections' disputed | Letter

Janet Alderton, board member of the Friends of the San Juan’s, quotes me in last week’s paper and claims that the council resolved the issue that I had raised. Unfortunately, she is just plain wrong.

On pages 28 and 29 of the council-approved general section of the critical areas ordinance the wording is clear: “prior to removal of vegetation or site disturbance, all development activities must undergo this review.” Development is defined as, “ ........ structural alteration, relocation, or enlargement of any structure;  any clearing, draining, filling, grading, paving, excavation, mining, landfill;  or any extension of the use of land.”

County planner, Shireene Hale, speaking during the councils deliberations on the general section of the CAO, states;  a property owner is required to first seek the county’s approval (review) before doing any trimming of brush, turning a shovel of dirt, assembling a small garden shed; (use a chain saw, get prior county approval?)

According to the new law, county staff will do their analysis and, if the proposed activity will take place within 300 feet of a critical area, any approval will be conditioned on mitigation or avoidance of impacts to the critical area or critical area buffer.

Failure to get prior county approval is technically a code violation. If Community Development and Planning gets approval of the new law it is asking for the violation will be a misdemeanor, ticketed by CDPD personnel. Recent events show the Friends are only too happy to be neighborhood police in our “Brave New World” tightly regulated community.

If you have any doubt that this is correct or that Janet Alderton is just plain wrong, watch the YouTube clip of questions and response between council Chairwoman Patty Miller and senior planner Shireene Hale from the council’s broadcast of their meeting on Jan. 24. To her credit, council Chairwoman Miller clearly understood the issue and asked the right questions.

(It is easy to watch the clip with the link provided here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aiZyIpM43ZI&feature=youtu.be

John Evans

Orcas Island



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