CAO: wetlands know no boundaries | Letters
August 11, 2012 · 6:16 PM
The proposed critical areas ordinance sets forth a system where in order to develop land, a landowner is expected to survey, delineate and, if necessary, remediate a wetland.
However, with buffers as big as 260 feet, It will not be uncommon for a wetland on one parcel to affect the development prospects of a neighboring parcel.
One of the major flaws of the proposed CAO is that it does not specify how a landowner will have access to a critical area in a neighboring parcel in order for it to be surveyed or remediated. Simply, how can landowner on Parcel A demand access to Parcel B in order to survey the wetland in order to complete the requisite study?
This potential problem becomes even more likely when it is considered that the owner of Parcel B may wish to limit the development on Parcel A.
While perhaps a governmental agency could obtain a regulatory warrant to compel a landowner to submit to inspection by that agency, I can think of no law where Landowner A can compel the inspection of Landowner B’s property.
Until this eventuality is addressed, it is clear the proposed ordinance is not ready for approval.
Nicholas Power/San Juan Island