Letters to the Editor

CAO: just say enough already | Letters

A phrase in a letter to the editor praising county planners raised questions for me: “Our desire is to see San Juan County in compliance with the state’s Growth Management Act, and to protect the long-term environmental health of our islands for future generations.”

(“In praise of county planners”, March 14, Journal, pg. 6)

What about the long-term health of humans? What hope is there in pages of regulations? Who says we’re out of compliance with the GMA? What about using BAS that is “logical and reasonable... used in appropriate context... based on accepted methods”, as stated in the county’s own FAQ paper on the CAO?

What are we doing wrong that needs to be addressed by the CAO when 48 percent of our islands are already protected in Land Bank, Preservation Trust and public parks?  How do we encourage agriculture and sustainability when once productive farms or gardens are now critical areas because of seasonal streams, man-made ponds and drainage ditches?

What happens to the struggling middle-class who may be told “no garden or home remodel to accommodate an aging parent” but can’t afford environmental impact statements and lawyers to fight it? Who’s going to buy de-valued property so folks like me can get a fresh start?

What happens to my family’s future generations if I leave the islands where my great, great grandparents’ pioneer home still stands (unpermitted) after more than 100 years?

The socio-economic trickle-down effect of the CAO is devastating to everyone involved in the building trades—talk about taking away the power of the 99 percent. Our county and state wastes money creating more regulations to fix what doesn’t appear to be broken.

Results don’t come immediately. Give the costly, 8-year-old GMA plan and an even younger storm water treatment plan the time and enforcement they deserve. Don’t add even more stringent regulations by lumping our islands in with over-developed Puget Sound or ignoring real problems created by our neighbors to the north.

Future generations of islanders are depending on sanity prevailing so they can make a living and have time to enjoy our natural environment. Let’s say “enough is enough” and get on with being a close, supportive community like past generations who spent their valuable resources on family, schools, public fields and local businesses, not in fighting neighbors or the government that is supposed to be working for us.

Kristine Brown/San Juan Island



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