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Home » Archives » June 2006 » CC Will Support The Friends, Not Voters - Bet On It!

[Previous entry: "Wolf in Sheep's Clothing Back Again"] [Next entry: ""Friends" Win County Citizens Lose"]

06/02/2006: "CC Will Support The Friends, Not Voters - Bet On It!"

By Jim Nelson

On May 22, 2006 attorneys representing the Friends of the San Juans and the County had a telephone meeting with the Presiding Officer of the Growth Board. The result was that on May 25, 2006 the Growth Board issued an order setting a fast track schedule for compliance hearings on the Guest House (ADU) ordinance which was primarily developed last year in private negotiations between the Friends of the San Juans and the County.

The Order states that "If the County adopts the ordinance that is currently being proposed, Petitioners" (the Friends) "state that they will stipulate that the County is in compliance with the Growth Management Act."

This essentially means that the Friends are offering to settle their dispute with the County contingent upon the County adopting the proposed ordinance which the Friends developed and therefore find acceptable. They want the County Council to abandon the wishes of the voters. They want to play "Lets Make A Deal" with your rights. This is happening in private meetings where they don't have to deal with the public's outrage.

The Growth Board Order further states "Both parties agreed that if compliance could be achieved before the Court of Appeals stay expired, it would be the best outcome for the parties". The County has spent a great deal of time and money in court trying to defend our citizen's right to build a guest house and they now want to drop the case at the last minute and settle without getting a decision from the court. They think that would "be the best outcome for the parties". It would in fact be the "best outcome" for the Friends but clearly not for the voters of this county.

The highly unusual fast track hearing schedule will give the "parties" who oppose this travesty just two days from the Growth Board Compliance Report date to submit any objections they might have. The Growth Board will likely decide not to allow members of the public to participate in the Compliance Hearing because they are not considered "parties" to the matter so there may be no one there to object despite huge public opposition to this ordinance.

When our County Council meets to consider the final ADU ordinance they basically have two choices. They can either represent the voters (74% of whom voted in support of allowing Guest Houses) or they can sell the voters down the river and represent the Friends of the San Juans. I am betting that the voters are going to get sold down the river.
We'll find out soon.

I encourage everyone who has an interest in preserving the right of rural property owners to build a guest house to attend the June 6th at 1:30 PM in the County Courthouse hearing room. This may be your last chance to help stop the Council from selling out to the Friends of the San Juans and bargaining away your right to build a guest house in the process.

(Jim Nelson lives in Olga, on Orcas Island, and was one who drafted the Comprehensive Plan, the Uniform Development land use Code, and served for many years on the SJC Planning Commission)

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