Letters to the Editor

CAO: why bigger buffers are bogus | Letters

In response to Janet Alderton’s letter last week, “CAO: confusion over faulty facts”, April 4, pg. 6) I would like to add some clarity.

Janet, the board secretary for The Friends of The San Juans, downplays the impacts of the “Best Available Science” her organization has been spoon feeding to our county planning staff and council members.

I have spent considerable time talking to water experts that have a polar opposite view of the buffers “The Friends” are proposing. Some water experts say that wetlands are buffers and therefore do not need a buffer for a buffer.

Dr. Mayer thinks that large buffers are necessary, while Dr. Zang states that buffers over 54 feet are not necessary.

According to Dr. Zang, 93.2 percent of pesticides, 92 percent of nitrogen and 98.5 percent of phosphorus are filtered out within 54 feet of the source.

The Friends have convinced our county staff that they need 260 feet, worst case scenario.

If you have a sensitive wetland on the edge of your 5-acre property, the difference between having a 54-foot buffer and a 260-foot buffer means not being able to use 2.78 acres versus .64 acres of your land.

When the government takes land from private citizens it is called condemning land and property owners have a legal right to be compensated.

Once again we were asked to review our CAO not rewrite it. Current regulations are working; proposed regulations will certainly ignite a legal firestorm which we cannot afford.

Paul Le Baron/San Juan Island



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