Affordable housing and land preservation are essential and congruent | Letter

The Land Bank and the San Juan Community Trust would like to dispel any misconceptions that might have arisen as a result of the cartoon published in the Journal on August 10, 2022 seemingly alluding to an existence of conflict between efforts to provide affordable for islanders versus land preservation. In fact, housing initiatives and land preservation are essentially congruent: both work in concert to preserve the whole of the island; its beauty and its community.

The Home Trust’s mission in fact includes a commitment to protecting our island’s delicate ecosystem, as evidenced by high energy efficient building and the use of green technologies. Additionally, the Home Trust is focused on community development that reduces ecological footprint, primarily by building within the Urban Growth Area of Friday Harbor.

The Land Bank’s stewardship of our island’s extraordinary natural resources ensures that all island residents will be able to enjoy our remarkable and diverse ecosystems for decades to come. Together we create a portfolio of assets, from community to recreation spaces, that we couldn’t accomplish without working in tandem.

The relationship between creating permanently affordable housing and land stewardship is only a conflict if perceived that way, i.e. people “taking sides.” (Apparently the default mechanism in our country today.) The reality is that our island must sustain housing needs for all members of our community and, equally, preservation of natural spaces for everyone to thrive in this remarkable place. The only way to achieve that balance is by collaboration as a community, not by conflict. And the Land Bank and Home Trust are working together to accomplish this.

Sincerely,

James Goetz, President of the Board, San Juan Island Community Home Trust

Amanda Eichelberger, Executive Director, San Juan Island Community Home Trust

Lincoln Bormann, Conservation Land Bank Director