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Home » Archives » April 2006 » CC Moves Forward With Restrictive Ordinance

[Previous entry: "Court Asked Not To Grant Stay Of Decision On ADUs"] [Next entry: "CC May Ask Court To Rule On Guesthouses"]

04/04/2006: "CC Moves Forward With Restrictive Ordinance"


With praise of the work of the Planning Commission (PC), the County Council (CC) embraced the draft ordinance that the Commission had finally worked out of the draft sent to them by the Council. By unanimous vote on Tuesday, the County Council approved it as the basis for a hearing to be held on April the 25th to take public input on the Ordinance. Once approved by the CC, with or without any changes, the Ordinance will then go to the State for their approval, and all agree that given the restrictiveness of the new ordinance, it is expected the Growth Management Board will find it acceptable, and declare the County to be in Compliance. This assumes that the Court of Appeals grants the CC request for a stay on the court's decision on the lawsuit before them, and does not come back with a decision that finds the County was in compliance all along -doubtful, but possible given recent Supreme Court decisions that give some hope. It also assumes there will be no appeals on the action of the CC in passing the ordinance, and if there are appeals, that the courts or the hearings board find them to be without merit.

The CC could have rejected the proposal from the PC, or changed it at will, but In accepting the recommendations of the PC, the CC made very few changes, however they did delete large portions of it, the most notable of which was the recognition, and the inclusion, of the language of the now famous advisory ballot on guest houses that asked the voter in the 2004 general election "Do you support local land use provisions for San Juan County that retain the right to allow one guest house (detached, accessory dwelling) on any parcel with a single family residence, subject to restrictions on size, location, ownership, occupancy, and proximity to the main house?". A question that had been answered in the affirmative by 73 percent of the voters. A ballot measure that at the Tuesday meeting Chairman Lichter called a "bogus written ballot that asked the voter if they wanted to break the lawnot a very good thing for the County to ask them to do.." Ranker said that he believed that a majority of the community simply wants us to "get out of non-compliance" by passing the ordnance before them.

One of the reasons the CC gave for asking the Court of Appeals to stay a decision on the Guest House issue was the fear that the court may come back and be more restrictive than what the CC would approve as part of a settlement with the Friends. In the words of Ranker, Previous Story "If we settle this matter now, before the court decision, we can move forward, as a community, with guest houses".

Councilman Ranker had previously told the SJ Board of Realtors Previous Story that he favored free standing guest houses, and had stated in The Island Guardian that "Like a majority of our community, I feel very strongly that guest houses should be allowed.", and on Tuesday he said he would have preferred they had pushed the envelope to allow more flexibility, but repeatedly commented that he was pleased with the more restricted work of the Planning Commission than with what the Council had put forward -which also would have ban freestanding guesthouse, and said that he was "amused by the fact that those members of the Commission who were opposed to the original Council draft as being too restrictive, now have a more restrictive ordinance".

Councilman Myhr called the PC proposal to the CC a simple solution to the problem and asked the staff if there had been any discussion by the PC about small building envelopes, stating that "looking into the future we may need to protect more open space".




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