On Tuesday, I attended the primary forum put on by the San Juan Islander and was pleased to get to hear the candidates on their opinion on how to grow our economy.
Out of the six candidates, the four men were the most consistent with their message of simplifying the county code and balancing environmental concerns with encouraging small business. All six agreed that we need more high paying jobs throughout the county.
Thursday, I went to the Critical Area Ordinance workshop. Careful what you wish for was the first thing that went through my head.
The CAO will certainly create several high paying jobs throughout the county. The new Pre-Application Evaluation Questionnaire has 24 technical questions and costs $400 to file. The $400 fee will be the least of your worries, since you will probably need to hire a surveyor, geologist, biologist, land use attorney, and wetland expert if applicable. This will become more difficult if you are within the shoreline.
Once this form is completed you can turn it into the county for review. If by chance their experts agree with your experts, you are ready to go back to the planning department to fill out the Land Use Pre-Application Evaluation Worksheet. This is a 6-page questionnaire with 78 technical questions to be filled out by several of your highly paid consultants.
The CAO needed to be reviewed, not rewritten by our county. I fear the new CAO is so complicated it will add months if not years to the building process and several thousand dollars to building fees.
We are still waiting to find out when this will take effect because it has become so confusing. Once again our county's greed for grants has created another fine mess. After three years of a soft real estate market this new legislation is the last thing the county needs.
Don’t forget to vote.
Paul Le Baron/San Juan Island
— Editor's note: Paul Le Baron is president San Juan County Association of Realtors