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Home » Archives » September 2011 » LETTERS ON LAND BANK


09/17/2011: "LETTERS ON LAND BANK"

(Note:Date above, left, is when the first letter was posted below on the subject)

Islanders' Support Land Bank

To the Editor

Many in our community support Land Bank renewal. Listed below are names of supporters, gathered at the San Juan County Fair booth, willing to have their name used in an ad to support a YES vote for renewal of the Land Bank. And over 2600 San Juan County voters signed the petition to place renewal on this years ballot. More supporters and testimonials can be found on

To understand why it is important to renew now and why a 12-year term is critical to the Land Bank's ability to complete projects which serve the citizens of the San Juan Islands and help enrich our quality of life, visit

Please join us and the many, many others in our community by voting in favor of San Juan County Prop 1 and help protect what makes these Islands so special.
-John Moth-BooBoo Keane-Ashley Strutz-Danielle Dean Palmer
Mathew Palmer-Geoff Prentiss-Susan Risser-"Jennifer Roberts
Karen Skoog-Rod Kulbach-Sam Stitt-Cher Renke
Kay Jakutis-Carrie Lacher-Howard Rosenfeld-Ruth Offen
Todd Roberts-Dana Roberts-Karalynn Ott-Scott Boye
Megan Jones-Gary Allspaugh-Shireene Hale-Frances Bacon
Pamela Morais-Malinda Dreyer-Luanne Pasik-Kent Gale
Barbara Cox-Mitzi Johnson-Robyn Lowe-Ken Sebens
Jaime Ellsworth-Emily Reed-Chris Greacen-Stan Mathews
Joy Van Camp-David Smith-"Jane Weil-"Sandy Strehlou
Janet Wright-Joe Gaydos-Julie Brunner-Mary Blevins
Liz Pillow-Kathy Cope-Nancy DeVaux-Heather Spaulding
Chris Curtin-Jamie Stephens-Ed Carlberg-Jan Chamberlin
Merle Turman-Elisa Howard-Richard E. Norris-Susan Vernon
Bob Elford-Joan Tucker-Carolyn deRoos-Roger deRoos
Rene Beliveau-Hannah Snow-Pablo Lopez-Trudy Dallas
Kelly Snow-Barbara Cable-Katie Hover-Judy Chovan
April Ford-Gary Ford-Clint Mills-"Louis O’Prussick
Shann Weston-Steve Porten-Mark Cunningham-Susan Sterner
Gary Sterner-Marshall Sanborn-David C. Wilcox-"Lee Schiff
Keith Van Cleve-Jackie Scherer-Lisa Nash Lawrence-Jim Lawrence
Marilyn O’Conner-Karen Vedder-Buz Peoples-Jim Vedder
Susan Key-Lenore Bayuk-John Stamey-Martha Scot
Virginia Otto-Dodie Gann-Jay Boreen-Judy Jackson
Cole Hall-Edie de Chadenedes-Richard S. Lee-Margot Shaw
Mary Elford-Doris Van Alen-Diana clark-Joel Clark
James Goetz-Grace M.Swan-Tamara Greene-Larry Wight
Pamela Gross-Steve Hushebeck-Charles Anderson-Kari Koski
Carolyn Haugen-David Zeretzke -James Skoog-Louise Dustrude
-Lil Hamel-Barbara Wright-Patricia Morse--Susan Mathews
Joyce Harrell-Georgia Baciu-Bruce Twoomly-Sandra Bram
Patricia Curtis-Doug McDonald-Julia Sanders Dubos-William Myers
Jeanette Myers-Susan Dehlendorf-David Dehlendorf-Les Gunther
Mark Madsen-Garth Jones-Robert Deattie-Margaret Langlie
Peter Goddu-Katy Nollman-David Eden-Joanruth Bauman
Marty Robinson-Mary Zeretzke- -Molly O’Neil-Geneve Moffet
Shirley Zyph-Pete Rose-Sarah M. Crosby-Vanda Randall
Scott Schwinge -Susan Schwinge-Dale Whitmill-Loa St. Luise
Jean O’Brien-MIchael Wayner-Aaron Shepard-Caroll Kinnaman
Heidi Lopez-Juan B. Lopez-Donna Alexander-Nancy P. Wight
Molly Hogan-Mary Mager-Jennifer Armstrong-David Halpern
Barbara Conrad-Dennis Conrad-Kyle A. Loring-"Barbara Marrett
Shaun Hubbard-Harold Kawaguchi-

Islanders Oppose Blank Check for Land Bank

To the Editor

Like many organizations that have had success in their primary mission, the Land Bank has begun to lose focus on conservation. It has strayed into commercial development and is competing with the struggling private sector for real estate transactions. We believe that the Land Bank’s excessively long 12 year taxing authorization is to blame for this lack of focus.

The Land Bank has a large budget, millions of dollars in reserve, and many properties to manage. In this bad economy and with real estate sales at or near their lowest levels in decades, the Land Bank should concentrate on the prudent management of its investments and holdings it has accumulated over the past 21 years.

The Land Bank is prematurely requesting another authorization to extract a 1% tax from all real property purchases. There are many issues, including its focus, mission, and the stewardship of currently owned lands that should be addressed before the Land Bank is re-authorized to tax transactions.

Join us in urging that the Land Bank adopt strict adherence to its conservation mission and a 4 year time frame for its tax renewal by voting NO on the current request for Land Bank taxation authorization through 2026. The Land Bank has years before its current funding expires. Let’s use that time to correct the path that it is on.

Marlene Crosby - Frank Buchanan - Susan W. Rich
Bob Levinson - Jim Cooper - William Hancock
Gordon Peterson - Leith Templin - JoAnn Buchanan
Kathleen Commins - Helen Chapman King - Mike Nachlinger
Rex Stickle - James Webert - Richard S.Rich
Kay Hodgson - Harold Harrison - Mike Carlson
Edward Strickland - Alexandra Gavora - Ed Kilduff
Rosalie Webster - Andy Urbach - Bill Hodgson
Virgil Hennen - Minnie Knych - Christian F. Chesley
Ary Hobbel - Evelyn Fuchser - Dan Sorgen
Shari Harrison - Bill Gendron - Scott Webster
Jim Knych - Pauli Gavora - Margaret Strickland
Al Commins - Linn Motko - John Evans
David Cable - Marni Gendron - Frank Penwell
Dennis Hazelton - Wanda Evans - Dave Vandaveer

Tax For All, Carried By Few
To the Editor:

Are open spaces important? Of course they are, but when is enough , enough

A quick search on the internet reveals that there are over thirty National, State, and Local parks in this county covering thousands of acres. These parks include miles of shoreline and even more miles of trails. I would be willing to wager that less than one percent of the people reading this letter are able to name them all. In addition there are literally thousands of acres of other open spaces for public use in this county.

I would also be willing to make the same wager that less than one percent of this counties population can name all of the parcels that the Land Bank has accumulated, much less point to a map where they are located.

The Land Bank is an unfair tax. The burden of the program is carried by the few that purchase property. While renters pay nothing, land owners pay next to nothing, the people who purchase property for what ever reason are made to pay the bulk of the tax. Using the example of the $500,000.00 home that has been mentioned several times, the tax is $5000.00 of your hard earned money.

It is my humble opinion that in these tough times we should be getting back to the basics like repairing our schools and improving our educational system. Not providing half million dollar bailouts to individual farmers and purchasing $325,000.00 boats.

Why this issue is on the ballot two years before the tax is due to end.

Vote no for the Land Bank tax and lets talk about what this really means to all of us. Two years is plenty of time to discuss this issue and come to a logical answer.

Terry Whalen
Friday Harbor

I totally support the Land Bank: But Will Vote 'No' To Renew

To the Editor

I totally support the Land Bank. It’s presence in San Juan County has enhanced all of our lives and certainly makes San Juan County an amazing place to live. However, after reviewing the detail financial information it is clear to me that a .5% (i.e. ½ of present tax) is totally adequate to maintain the current properties. As the Land Bank Director has pointed out, there is money in reserve to adequately pay the current debt. In addition, there are properties that could have permanent conservation easements placed on them with designated building envelopes that could be re-sold to help fund new acquisitions.

I have also encouraged the Land Bank group to seriously consider requesting our local representatives propose a change in the current RCW’s ruling the Land Bank Excise Tax to allow Counties (we are the only one it currently would affect) to exempt all primary residences at or below the “affordable housing” rate. This would have to be written clearly so there would be guidelines (i.e. the ones followed by the local affordable housing groups) that could be followed to determine that amount on an annual basis.

It bothers me a lot that the Land Bank Board and the Committee to renew the Land Bank’s current excise tax rate, does not seem to value the San Juan County residents contribution to this tax since it has been in place. It is huge. I am one of those that have consulted on a lot of local real estate transactions since 1990, and I know there are a large number of Sellers that have had to either lower their price or actually pay the Land Bank Tax to get their property sale closed. These “Sellers” are almost all San Juan County Residents. It really would be nice if that was appreciated more by the current Land Bank Board.

Since the current levy does not expire until 2014, I would encourage everyone to vote “No” this time and really give it serious thought and study. We have plenty of time.

I don’t know of any entity making financial commitments for the next 15 years at this time. AND we can vote to increase it at any time if the County residents consider that necessary.

Cathaleen Cavanagh
San Juan Island

Land Bank Is Just Such A Wonderful Institution!

To the Editor

Our Land Bank is just such a wonderful institution! It has preserved treasures such as Turtleback Mountain, Watmough Bight and Deadman Bay, providing incomparable recreation and inspiring scenic views in perpetuity. It is difficult to imagine our islands without the secure protection the Land Bank can afford to wetlands and marshes, wildflower meadows, riparian areas, wildlife corridors, feeder bluffs, spawning beaches and young and old growth forests. These are biological systems we hope will remain safe from fragmentation, degradation and pollution for generations to come. I believe it gives a community a valuable sense of belonging to know that cherished lands will remain open to the public in perpetuity with the scientifically valuable, historic and healthy biological functions of those lands conserved.

Our islands are currently filled with exquisite forests, meadows and wonderful stretches of relatively undeveloped rocky shoreline or sand and gravel beaches. Yet many if not most of these spectacular scenic views and natural areas will profoundly change as development continues. Today there exists in the islands roughly half of the development which is potential at buildout and open lands are vulnerable to conversion and development. There is a great deal more for the Land Bank to do in order to protect even a semblance of the quality of life islanders take for granted now.

The Land Bank's future work may also further enhance specific aspects of islanders' health, safety and quality of life. Presently there is public access to only one of the 77 miles of shoreline on Orcas Island. Though we have a vital community of food producers in the county, it is small and we are far from food self sufficiency. Arable land in the islands is scarce and farms and forests can provide long term local food stability and forest products only if protected.

I see the Land Bank as a remarkably successful and efficient institution for which I am grateful and which I will gladly vote to renew.

Maile Johnson

The Land Bank and Our Quality of Life

To the Editor:

We were disheartened and dismayed to see our local papers Editorial’s and the Guest Editorial’s concerning the Land Bank renewal. In Reading them, about ¾’s of the editorials are PRAISING the efforts of the Land Band and pointing out the important acquisitions the Land Bank has secured for the islands. Then the “Boogey Man” word is used….”TAXES”. The Land Bank is not taxing us unless we purchase property and that is a 1% tax. Many of us have property acquired long before the Land Bank was in existence. The Editorials and letters unfairly use the scare tactics of the struggling economic times that the county is facing “by cutting programs, etc.” when in effect, the Land Bank has nothing to do with this. Much of the land acquired was already in a reduced tax classification. If all the land the LB owns were put back on the tax rolls the decrease in taxes on a $500.000 parcel would be around $10.00. I remember seeing one writer at the Turtleback Celebration and Auction a few years back. It seems to me that now that we have our “CAKE” we are asking the voters to withhold any more “CAKE” to the residents and to future generations. The LB needs us to vote now to be able to complete projects that are in the works which will take longer than 2014 to complete including another possible and important shoreline acquisition for Orcas Island. The county is made up of 111,870 acres. The Land Bank has acquired for the good of the people 3180 acres, half of this being Turtleback Mountain. These are the facts. The Land Bank is not gobbling up land and taking it out of the tax rolls. The LB contributes to the economy by preserving the island and rural character that tourists come here to enjoy. Educate yourselves and don’t fall for scare tactics. Visit and please vote a heartfelt YES to renew the Land Bank.


Patty Pirnack-Hamilton
Jim Hamilton

(10-24-11)The Land Bank and Our Quality of Life

To the Editor:

As we watch what we had hoped would be a productive debate on the future direction of one of our most successful local government institutions, The Land Bank, we are amazed how quickly and thoroughly the pattern of national polarization has come home.

We do not expect this letter to refute or convince anyone who is already posturing themselves against the program. We do not even hope to win many of those for whom the words “Land Bank” are unknown. We do however hope to inspire those of us who have benefited to vote YES.

This is personal. It is, at the end of the day, all about our quality of life, our reasons for moving to the San Juans and our reasons for investing our time and money in this community.

For us, the equation is simple. The Land Bank provides protection and public access to our most precious resources, our shore, our vistas and our farmlands. And that equation involves balancing the inevitable pressures from growth and development with preservation. It comes down to maintaining our (and your) quality of life.

When we walk our dog Pi on the west-side of San Juan, we know how important the Land Bank work has been. When we look across San Juan Valley or up at Turtleback Mountain, we know how important the Land Bank work has been. And, when we try to leave our driveway and wait for seventeen (yes 17) cars heading into town to pass, we know it is critical for the Land Bank to continue to work on our behalf.

Some say that the work of the Land Bank is done. Over the last 20 years we have preserved less than 3% of the land (1.5% excluding Turtleback), but still they say the work of the Land Bank is done. Well, we say we need the Land Bank to continue to help balance, inspire and provide solutions to the inevitable impacts that will come as our community continues to grow. A healthy community is a community in balance.
With the Land Bank, we pay approximately $15 per year in extra taxes. Without the Land Bank, we will be paying infinitely more with our quality of life. It is an easy choice, VOTE YES for renewal.

Pamela Gross
Charles Anderson
San Juan Island

Know Before You Vote!

To the Editor:

The San Juan County Council provides videos of their council meetings. If you are not able to make the meetings, you can still watch what goes on.

On Tuesday, September 20, there was an item on the Council Agenda entitled “Presentation: San Juan County Agricultural Strategic Action Plan.” The presenters were a “collaborative” (their word) group from the Agricultural Resources Committee, the Land Bank and the San Juan Preservation Trust. Unlike other matters before the Council, the Strategic Action Plan that the group wanted the Council to approve -written by representatives of the above entities and Boyd Pratt- was not attached to the Council agenda. It had not been made available to the public before the meeting. Generally, the public is able to view copies of all supporting materials. If you are unaware of this Plan or activity, you can view the county video online at, select the September 20 session at 3:13 p.m. titled as above.

The presenters opined about the farms and farm easements they own -retiring farmers; the lack of farmers to farm the lands they hold; the unaffordable cost of infrastructure, such as fertilizers, heavy equipment, fences and wells; the need to hire and house interns to work the farms; and, the poor condition of the soils. Then, they suggest that the three taxpayer-funded entities should form yet another taxpayer-funded entity to “help” farmers. See for yourself!

Be informed when you vote and ask yourself questions like:

* Why isn’t the Land Bank focusing on obtaining conservation easements on open space- rather than purchasing urban land and farmland, making expensive improvements and leasing it at a loss?

* Why isn’t the Land Bank making all of its land accessible to the public?
Why should the Land Bank be subsidizing the agricultural community?

Don’t the taxpayers already support them with the special tax base and other programs they enjoy -the ARC, Agriculture Guild, “Brickworks,” WSU programs, Conservation District, and reduced taxes?

Do your homework and ask yourself, is the Land Bank still the organization that we all approved in 1990 and reapproved in 1999? I for one think not.

Jane Cable
San Juan Island

(10-20-11)Vote 'No' On Land Bank Renewal

To the Editor:

Why is the land bank asking for a renewal this year when their funding does not expire for another two years? That is right 2014! Voting no in this upcoming election does not mean you are against land preservation because I certainly am not. Voting no will show that you are being a fiscally responsible citizen to your neighbors and friends.

The county is struggling with the current economic problems by cutting programs, positions and salaries. We do not know at this time what the next two years will bring. So while our funding is very tenuous at best the Land Bank is asking for us to commit for the next 16 years (2026).

I believe all organizations need to periodically evaluate what they are currently doing to make sure they are following their stated goals and mandates. I would like the Land Bank to take the next two years to do just that. Like many organizations that have had success in their primary mission, the Land Bank has begun to lose focus on conservation. It has strayed into commercial development and is competing with the struggling private sector. Check out the Land Bank mandate 16.54.010 purpose in their publications..LB shall 1st consider conservation easements..

As an example, the land bank purchased 66 acres on San Juan Island for $545,000, made $106,000 of improvements, (65k for a fence and the rest for utilities) and is now leasing it for $300.00 a month for 20 years. They are creating unfair competition between our farmers.

Join me in urging the Land Bank to adopt a shorter time period for renewal and strict adherence to their conservation mission by voting NO on this current request for a 12-year taxing authorization.

Leith Templin
Orcas Island

Vote No On Prop-1 To Secure Land Bank For future Generations.

To the Editor:

Proposition 1 - Vote NO this year to secure our Land Bank

In their broadly supported effort to protect our islands from overdevelopment, The Land Bank Commission has not contributed nearly enough to the Stewardship Fund to meet its sunset obligation.

"A reserve within the Conservation Area Fund shall be established within one year to provide funding for the maintenance of acquired real property interest in perpetuity. It is the objective of this reserve that the interest earned will fund all care and maintenance expenses upon the expiration of the REET" - Land Bank Ordinance

Unless we’re prepared to accept that the Stewardship Fund will not serve “in perpetuity” as intended, we don’t even have the option of not extending some portion of the 1% REET before 2014. So how can we prevent an even larger burden from being handed off to the County and its taxpayers in 2026?

The first step is to stop bonding against future revenue. In anticipation of the extension, the Land Bank Commission is studying new bonding scenarios. If Proposition 1 passes, they’ll be free to re-amortize the remaining payments on Turtleback and bond against future receipts all the way to the next sunset.

Voting NO on Proposition 1 will postpone re-authorization for a couple of years so at least Turtleback will be paid for as intended. The message will also be sent that an actual sunset of the 1% REET must be prepared for in earnest.

The County Council is ultimately responsible for insuring the long term viability of the Stewardship Fund and should be encouraged by all of us to exercise greater oversight. We can vote to reauthorize the Land Bank’s funding in 2013 or 2014 once a properly adjusted course has been set.

Vote No this year to secure our Land Bank for future generations.

Jim Higgins
San Juan Island

(10-14-11)Land Bank Provides Public Access & Protection

To the Editor:

Public access to open space as well as the protection of environmentally sensitive areas is one of the most important legacies we can pass to our children and is a vital force in building healthy communities for both nature and people. Once access or protection is gone, it is often gone forever.

Our County Land Bank is a model of a fiscally responsible organization with little financial impact for those of us who already live here and a 1% added cost onto the property sales price of new owners. Because of low overhead, positive productive partnerships with other organizations, and thousands of volunteer hours, we islanders, new and old, are getting a great deal. Voters have the power to continue Land Bank’s ability to purchase more cherished assets, including much needed inner-island retreats, which can be enjoyed by everyone in the years to come.

By voting yes on the Land Bank Proposition 1 we can protect our important resources and open spaces in the San Juan Islands. Let’s do it.

Robin and Tom Donnelly
Roche Harbor

An Opportunity To Do Something Wonderful

To the Editor:

Every once in a great while, we have an opportunity to do something wonderful for our little piece of the planet. Such an opportunity greets us now: the privilege of voting for the renewal of the Land Bank.

The late Steve Jobs, who was one of the founders of Apple computers and the Pixar Animation Studios, suggested in his 2005 commencement address at Stanford that the graduating students not allow “the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice…have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”

My heart and intuition tell me how much I treasure this island home. And since the Land Bank works to preserve the totality of what I treasure -its environment, beauty, history, farmlands, recreation areas, and much more - my vote goes to its renewal.

We are unique among Nature’s creatures in that we have the chance to determine what our legacy will be once we are gone. An old principle applies here: the best way to thank someone for a kindness is to do the same for someone else. We can thank the land for its kind and generous gifts, and benefit it most, as the film “Pay It Forward” taught, by paying the land’s beauty and abundance forward to those beings, human and other, that will follow us.

A vote for the Land Bank’s renewal pays it forward.

Wendy E. Shepard
San Juan Island

(10-14-11)Tourists flock Here Because Of Land Bank

To the Editor:

Since moving to San Juan Island 33 years ago, I have purchased and sold several different homes, including two since 1990 when 60% of San Juan County voters approved the creation of the Land Bank. I have never regretted paying 1% to the Land Bank. The Land Bank is unique in that it preserves agricultural, historic, scenic, recreational and other lands, all of which benefit every resident. It is no wonder that in 1999, 73% reauthorized Land Bank funding to 2014. Now we are asked to authorize the renewal of Land Bank funding and I plan to help do that with my vote.

In spite of the fact that property values both nationally and locally have fallen dramatically, people are still drawn to island life, partly because of the work of the Land Bank. A property's value is worth more that it would be without the Land Bank. When people buy houses, they look for good schools, good fire protection, and a good environment. In San Juan County, it is the Land Bank’s acquisitions -- a stunning valley, rich farmland, a place to sit by the water and watch for whales -- that surprise us no matter how many times we've seen them before. Its beauty is for everyone; one does not have to own land or a home to enjoy island life.

Tourists flock here for that enjoyment. They aid the island economy, and many will decide to stay. If they are asked to pay 1% to the Land Bank, many will do that without question, since the Land Bank preserves that which initially attracted them to the islands. Common sense suggests that a vote for the Land Bank is a vote for ourselves.

Please join those of us who are committed to where we live and vote for the renewal of the Land Bank.

Jeff Brash
San Juan Island

Arguments against Land Bank May Confuse Others

To the Editor:

The arguments against Land Bank renewal are confusing, erroneous, and misguided.

The issue before us is this: Do we want to renew a 1% fee on the purchase of real estate in order to:

"preserve in perpetuity areas in the county that have environmental, agricultural, aesthetic, cultural, scientific, historic, scenic or low-intensity recreational value and to protect existing and future sources of potable water." (Land Bank's mission statement).

If you would like to fund other social programs then go to Olympia and begin the process to secure permission to come back to the voters and get their approval.

This isn't a choice between competing interests. Voters approved this measure by almost a 73% majority. They saw what was happening to their island and they didn't like it. What a logical quid pro quo: If you want to live here, you can help us secure the open space that made you want to move here in the first place. To say that there is no further need to acquire and preserve open space is short-sighted. With the population growth that we will undoubtedly see in the future, open space will be even more precious. We can't afford not to continue to fund the Land Bank.

I understand this is an historic time of cynicism and profound disillusionment with Washington and political posturing. But your local government is working. Attend a Land Bank meeting. Volunteer for a work party. Get to know board members. Visit the website, walk on local trails.

Jamie Rackley-Schiff
Lee schiff

Ron Whalen Letter Assessor's comments on Voter Pamphlet

To the Editor:

Response to the assessors comments:

According to the County Assessor [4th letter down] the voters pamphlet statement by the Committee Opposing Land Bank Initiative contains inaccuracies. ["For" and "Against statements" by clicking HERE -Ed]

The 3580 acre figure used by the Committee Opposing Land Bank Initiative for the voter pamphlet statement was taken from page 10 of the Land Banks 2010 annual report as fee simple acquisitions. So whose figures are wrong, the County Assessors or the Land Banks annual report?

The assessor also notes the differences in how Land Bank taxes are calculated compared to school district budgets which come from different tax levies. I liked the editors comment but wish to expand on the point.

Yes, we understand Land Bank funding uses a different formula than other tax based services (school budgets, law enforcement). The question is…should it? Just because that’s the way it is doesn’t equate with if it should be that way. Why should Land Bank funding get 12 year authorization when the schools levy is only for four years and the sheriffs budget decided annually? Is funding for the Land Bank more important than education or police services? That’s how voters should be looking at this. There’s a common denominator between the different formulas. That common denominator is the tax payers wallet. Their wallet doesn’t make a distinction between formulas.

It doesn’t make any difference what formula got used. All we know is our wallet is getting hit from all sides. The result is the same. Tax payers are already bearing too much. Such is the state of the union and the state of tax payers wallets.

In this economic climate when virtually every budget around is taking hits why should the Land Bank get funding assurance for the next 14 years?

Letters on this issue include one from the Renew Our land Bank Co-Chairs. They wrote “Without renewal the Land Bank will expire in 2014”. Following that letter is one by the director of the Land Bank. He wrote “I just thought I’d point out that if the Land Bank is not renewed it won’t go out of existence”. The Land Bank director is correct. If the Land Bank initiative didn’t pass it wouldn’t be the end of the Land Bank. By in large it wouldn’t even effect their existing stewardship expenses. The real effect is the Land Bank would have to cut back on their projected future spending. We believe that’s exactly what they should be doing instead of asking for more.

Just like other government services are having to cut back. It appears the Land Bank doesn’t wish to be accountable. Voters should demand more.

Ron Whalen
San Juan island

Reader Responds Ron Whalen Letter

To the Editor:

Ron Whalen from the Committee Opposing the Land Bank Initiative seems to feel that the Land Bank's "mission has digressed" and therefore recommends a "No" vote. I see no digression from the Land Bank's original mission: "to preserve...areas that have environmental, agricultural, aesthetic, cultural, scientific, historic, scenic or low intensity recreational value..." The areas listed in this mission statement are clearly not limited to "open space" and can be found anywhere on our islands: along the shore, in the wetlands, in pastures, in the town of Friday Harbor, in Eastsound, etc. The Land Bank has helped preserve our islands so that we can continue to enjoy the beauty that brought us here in the first place. I am proud to live in a county where people care enough about where they live to have voted for this 1% tax on property sales. I urge a "Yes" vote so that the Land Bank can continue its important work.

Clare Kelm
San Juan Island

Dehlendorf Responds To Petersen's Response To Dehlendorf's Response To Petersen's Letter [see 4th letter below -Ed]

To the Editor:

In response to Mr. Petersen's October 7 letter in the Island Guardian, I would first like to address his attack on my personal wardrobe, specifically a T shirt WORN BY ME 14 MONTHS AGO. He said about the tongue-in-cheek message on my T shirt that he had "never seen anything so mean and divisive in this community".

Preposterous as this is, it deserves a response.

The T shirt I wore for three hours last year during the debate over the Brickworks farmers market project said on the front "Save the Downtown Friday Harbor Farmers Market".

On the back it said "Move Ace Hardware to the Fairgrounds". I am surprised that Mr. Petersen did not see the humour and irony in this message, which was actually quite clever. (No, I didn't create it!) He also does not recognize the context in which the T shirt was worn by me and several other supporter of Brickworks. And no, Mr. Petersen, I was not, as you claim, "deeply involved in the movement to get the Land Bank to fund the Farmers Market" just because I wore the T shirt! I was just one of hundreds of supporters.

The T shirt was created by farmers unknown to me in response to a petition being passed around the island at the time by an individual affiliated with Ace Hardware and supported by Mr. Petersen. This petition was an arrogant effort to coerce the Farmers Market Association (FMA) to move its farmers market to the San Juan County Fairgrounds, a location that it had no interest in moving to, instead of to its preferred location, the Erickson Building. The Fairgrounds itself was not involved in the petition effort.

Isn't it hypocritical of conservative property rights individuals such as Mr. Petersen to sign a petition to attempt to coerce a private organization to move its place of business against its will?. Such action should get petition signers thrown out of the Citizens Alliance for Property Rights, the Common Sense Alliance, and the Tea Party. Instead of my T shirt, opponents of the Brickworks project had actually already created the extreme divisiveness in our community over the project.

To blame it on my T shirt is ridiculous! Let readers decide for themselves which is more "mean and divisive", my T shirt or the petition.

As to more recent "mean and divisive" words in our community, what is Mr. Petersen's opinion of the recent advertisement in the Journal placed by the CSA showing a snake representing San Juan County government coiled around a citizen of our island? Is he willing to condemn that advertisement as he did my T shirt? I suspect not, as he is a founding member of the CSA.

Second, let me address Mr. Petersen's criticism of the Land Bank for buying farm land outright instead of using less money to buy conservation easements. Actually, the Land Bank does both. In some cases, it buys an easement because the farmer is willing to sell one. In others, a farmer may not be willing to sell an easement because he/she has decided to sell the property and exit the farm business, with the Land Bank having no choice but to purchase the property to conserve it for agriculture. In other cases, the Land Bank may have both options. However, when faced with both options, it may actually be preferable for the Land Bank to purchase the property in order to preserve it for agriculture, as an easement does not require the current or any subsequent owner to continue to farm the property. I encourage the Land Bank to continue to implement its existing effective policies to preserve agriculture in our county.

Finally, Mr. Petersen attacked my remarks in my letter to the editor earlier last week about CAPR, an out-of-county special interest group. In my letter, I criticized CAPR for sending an email to candidates for the Charter Review Commission requesting them to sign its property rights pledge before the election. I consider this political blackmail because CAPR threatened to withhold
its highest candidate rating from those who do not sign the pledge regardless of their position on other issues. I also stated in my letter that citizens of San Juan County are expected to take office with an open mind and not beholden to CAPR or any other special interest group.

I agree with Mr. Petersen that the commission will not be making decisions about property rights. But apparently CAPR didn't believe this or it wouldn't have sent out its threat. I request that Mr. Petersen
tell CAPR this so they don't send out such threats in the future.

Mr. Petersen also says "He (i.e. me) does not seem to have much respect for our constitutional rights to private property" How absurd for him to attack me like this when my letter about the CAPR pledge
did not even mention my position on property rights. In fact, Mr. Petersen has no way of knowing my position on property rights. All I was saying in my letter was that candidates for the Charter Review
Commission should not give in to political blackmail from CAPR and should take on their responsibilities if elected with an open mind without any prior commitments on any issue. Mr. Petersen, did you sign the CAPR pledge?

For the record, I favor property rights with reasonable limitations established in a public debate and consistent with our constitution and local, state, and federal laws. I also believe that petitions should not be used to coerce organizations against their will to move their business to a new location. I would be surprised if Mr. Petersen does not agree.

Please vote YES on Proposition No. 1 to renew the Land Bank

David Dehlendorf
San Juan Island

Vote No To Save The Land Bank

To the Editor:

First, to be clear, the Land Bank can cease to exist - not as a result of a NO vote on Proposition 1 - but later when the Stewardship Fund runs dry. Then, all of the obligations the Land Bank has acquired will revert to the County and its taxpaying citizens.

They have only 3+ million dollars set aside to manage IN PERPETUITY what… 3% of the land in the County? Look to the Parks Dept. budget if you wonder where the money will come from when they run out. Imagine the explosion of commercialized tourism required to maintain that behemoth of a park system.

The Land Bank won’t lose its funding if not reauthorized this year. The 1% REET is guaranteed to 2014. They say they need the citizens to commit now so that they can plan and continue acquisitions.

Yes, if reauthorized, they’ll be back to acquiring at the fastest pace they can manage. They’re ideologically bent toward “saving” as much land as possible from the tyranny of private ownership and use. Against that backdrop, they’ve worried little whether enough funds are being set aside to protect the taxpayers from having a huge burden dumped on us when the gig is finally up.

Yes, I’m saying their approach is out of balance. The citizens need to demand renewed assurance the Land Bank will not continue to create unsustainable obligations for the rest of us to assume once they’ve finished their frantic acquisition run.

Simultaneously, they’re in hot pursuit of ever more public access. This has necessarily shifted the Land Bank Commission’s focus away from the Voters’ directive to seek conservation easements over fee acquisitions.

They live by their commitment to promote the “sense of place” their volunteer class demands. “Real islanders” who could once roam the county at will cannot accept that the previous owners -who once accommodated them- have sold their land to new owners. It’s the new owner’s right to choose that really makes them see red.

This diversion of priorities is significant. Unlike conservation easements which ensure as much land remains in private hands as possible and that neighboring land owners cannot be unduly burdened, fee acquisitions create significant obligations and legal liability for county taxpayers to fund or defend. These days, just one or two well orchestrated screw ups could decimate the Stewardship Fund.

By not reauthorizing the Land Bank’s 1% REET this year, they’ll feel pressure to begin setting more aside in the short term - which they should be doing anyway. The County Council has the power to impose a moratorium on acquisition projects not already on the books and they should do so.

The question of whether to extend the 1% REET can be reconsidered each year between now and 2014. One might expect they’d avoid the 2012 ballot for fear that a high turnout would result in a more representative response from the voters. Instead, the voters could bring reforms to the 2012 ballot so they’d be in place prior to providing another 12 year extension of the 1% REET.

Defeating Proposition 1 will require a significant proactive response from those inclined to passively vote for renewal - or simply not vote. Heck, if enough of us just stay on the sidelines, their petition signatures alone could represent enough votes to prevail in this off year balloting.

Be proactive when it counts. Vote NO in order to save the Land Bank.

J.C. Higgins
San Juan Island

Clarification By The Assessor

To the Editor:

The Statement Against Proposition No. 1 written by the Committee Opposing Land Bank Initiative published in the voter’s pamphlet contains several inaccuracies which bear correction.

First, the Land Bank owns only 3,198 acres, not 3,580. The additional acreage may be attributed to the Lopez Hill property which the DNR leases to San Juan County, but continues to own.

Second, The Committee Opposing Land Bank Initiative states, “The LB has exempted 3,580 acres. As they remove more from the tax base something has to give. Either rates on the remaining base have to increase or income for government services is reduced. We're already experiencing layoffs and cuts to school programs.

This is not how our property tax system functions. Taxing districts are allowed to increase their budgets by one percent per year without voter approval, irrespective of increases or decreases in the value of properties within the district.

As property values rose over time, even with Land Bank acquisitions, the rates of taxation decreased to remain under this one percent cap. Even in a declining market, taxing districts’ budgets are allowed to increase each year.

Third, the Land Bank REET has no relationship to school district budgets which come from different tax levies.

It is unfortunate that many voters may be misled by the publication of inaccurate information in the Voter’s Pamphlet.

Charles Zalmanek
San Juan County Assessor

(Editor's note: How real estate taxes -and assessments- are determined is a source of confusion for many, but the bottom line is: If a tax paying parcel is removed from a taxable pool of property, the remaining properties pay more to make up the difference. Same amount of money is collected, but less people pay.)

Land Bank Maintains Our Quality Of Life

To the Editor:

Vote YES on Proposition 1 to renew funding for our effective, efficient, low overhead Land Bank. This is a great organization! The land and conservation easements purchased by the Land bank have significantly improved the quality of life for islanders, visitors and wildlife.

In the long run, the quality of life is one of the major factors in maintaining a happy community and viable economy. This is especially true in San Juan County where a large portion of our economy is tourism, and service businesses that serve residents who have either stayed here or moved here because of the quality of life these islands offer. Proof of the positive effect on tourism is the mention of the Land Bank preserves in the New York Times list of 41 places to visit in 2011. The benefit to residents is self-evident. Just go sit on the rocks at the Westside preserve and watch the whales go by at sunset. The Land Bank makes that wonderful experience available to all - with no entry fee! While we appreciate our Land Bank preserves’ benefits to the local economy, more importantly, almost all of the preserves also have significant environmental value. For example, the preservation of land along the lower portion of False Bay creek protects an important stretch of the largest creek on San Juan Island.

At a time when our State parks are raising entry fees and even threatening to close some parks, it is more important than ever to continue to fund preservation of our remaining wild lands and open space. We are proud to live in the only county whose voters had the wisdom and foresight to take advantage of the opportunity to institute this wonderful organization. Vote YES and be a positive force for nature and your community.

Patrick Kirby
Gretchen Allison
San Juan Island

Petersen Responds To Dehlendorf Letter

To the Editor:

In response to the letter from Dave Dehlendorf [See below -Ed], It seems that he either didn’t read my letter or he doesn’t understand the point. First let me say that Mr. Dehelendorf was deeply involved in the movement to get the Land Bank to fund the Farmers Market. In fact he was wearing a T-Shirt that said something like, “Move Ace Hardware to the Fairgrounds.” I have never seen anything so mean and divisive in this community, targeted to harm someone personally, as I saw during this attempt to twist the Land Bank’s mission.

Now the point of my letter about the Land Bank is this. Anytime there is a pot of money in the public treasury there will always be special interest groups out there trying to get that money for their cause. They think their cause is righteous and just and that they deserve public money for their pet project. So the original mission of the organization will be twisted, the gatekeepers of the money will be lobbied, and the expenditure will be justified by the loud whining voices in these groups until they get what they want.

Let me quote from the original ordinance that spells out the purpose of the Land Bank. Tell me if this has been twisted or not in the case of the King Sisters property:
“In order to maintain private ownership and maximize the use of available funds, the Land Bank Commission (LBC) shall first consider conservation easements or other nonfee interests as the method to achieve the purpose(s) of the proposed acquisition.”

The purpose was to keep property in “private ownership.” How does buying acreage for $545K, improving it for $106K, and leasing it at a loss for the purpose of farming fit this mission? For that kind of investment the Land Bank could’ve purchased a lot of conservation easements all over the county and helped more farmers like Farmer A. That was the point I was trying to make.

While I have the opportunity, I would also like to point out something Mr. Dehlendorf seems to have missed in another letter he wrote about the Charter Review Committee (CRC). The committee will be concentrated upon reforming the structure of government. They will not be making decisions about property rights. Just to be clear, land use issues are legislative. The CRC has no such power. However, his letters reveal his opinion of private property ownership. He does not seem to have much respect for our Constitutional rights to private property. How sad.

Gordy Petersen
San Juan Island

Reader Disagrees With Petersen

To the Editor:

I am writing in response to Mr. Petersen's recent letter [letter below -Ed] criticizing the Land Bank's lease of its King Sisters' property in San Juan Valley to a local farmer.

He claims that Farmer B was unfairly subsidized by the Land Bank to the detriment of Farmer A. Such is not the case. As they say, you are entitled to your own opinions but not to your own facts. In this case, Mr. Petersen conveniently omitted the fact that both farmers had the opportunity to summit bids in an open bid process for the use of the property. Either Farmer A submitted a bid and lost, or he/she decided not to bid. In either case, Farmer A and anyone else who wanted to bid had an equal opportunity to submit a competitive bid.

Mr. Petersen also claims that the Land Bank shouldn't have spent money on fencing and water on the property. Instead of criticizing it, I would like to thank the Land Bank for making this commitment to conservation, continued farming of the property, and to public access. Fencing and adequate water are necessary assets for the property to be farmed successfully. Moreover, the fencing in this case serves a dual benefit in that it allowed for the development of a 4,600 ft.walking trail parallel to San Juan Valley Rd. Who doesn't like another place to walk, particularly in the San Juan Valley where other walking trails are non-existent?

Thank you Land Bank for conserving our farm land and providing public access with all of its recreational and health benefits to the public it serves.

David Dehlendorf
San Juan Island

Petersen Letter On Land Bank As Landlord

To the Editor:

Story problem: 2 farmers go to market with lamb to sell. Farmer “A” bought his own 44 acres of land, paid the cost to drill his own well and install utilities, purchased materials and built his own fences, cared for his own property, and paid his property taxes. Farmer “B” did not. Farmer “B” leased 44 acres for 20 years at $250 per month. The Landlord paid $106,000.00 to build the fence and install utilities and paid Farmer “B” approximately $45,000.00 to build the fences.
Which one will be able to sell his lamb at the market for the lowest price?

Answer: You are Farmer “B’s” landlord!

Who Knew? Yes that’s correct, the citizens of San Juan County, through the Land Bank, purchased the King Sisters farm for $545,000.00. They paid an additional $106,000.00 to develop the land including a fence for $65,000.00, and a well and utilities for $41,000.00.

They then leased this property for three thousand a year for 20 years to make this look like a working farm. Good stewardship? You decide.

Everyone likes farms. We need farms. I hope Farmer “B” does well. He has every right to enter into this arrangement and I only have goodwill toward him. My only question here is should the Land Bank’s mission be stretched to the limit by picking winners and losers in farming? If they subsidize one farmer shouldn’t they give something to the others for keeping their farms working? After all if it is the “appearance of farming” that the public wants to see in the island’s rural areas, shouldn’t the Land Bank help those who are doing it on their own dime? Why should they be in the land development business at all?

Gordy Petersen
San Juan Island

[Mr. Petersen writes a column for The Island Guardian. His columns may be accessed by clicking HERE.]

Land Bank Is Frugal

To the Editor:

We're voting to Renew our Land Bank because it is a win-win for all--locals and visitors alike, nature and economy alike.

The Land Bank not only supports our desire to preserve the beauty of our birthplace and home, it also offers visitors a sense of place they, too, come to cherish.

Our County Land Bank gives us priceless places to treasure and enjoy, but because of its partnerships with other organizations and its leveraging of public funds and private donations it is a very financially frugal organization. With its low overhead and low tax impact (less than $15 for a property valued at $500K), and thousands of volunteer hours saving thousands of dollars, we get a lot of bang for the buck, a lot for something essential and precious--to us and to future generations.

When we review our annual costs for living here: fuel, ferry, internet, phone, food, taxes, subscriptions, insurance...we will gladly subscribe to insure the beauty and bounty of the islands now and into the future. We are voting YES to RENEW THE LAND BANK. Please join us!

Lisa Nash Lawrence
Jim Lawrence
San Juan Island

We Don't Mind It The Cost

Dear Editor:

"I'M JUST SAYIN". We didn't mind at all that an extra 1% was added to our home purchase price. Just think of the present and future pristine land purchases that will be left undisturbed for all of us to enjoy. How could you not vote for that?

Karen & Bud Bolin
San Juan Island

Lucky To Have Land Bank

To the Editor:

As a rural community we are incredibly lucky to have an effective tool to preserve our open spaces as the Land Bank. Citizens of San Juan County treasure our islands for the beauty of our pristine landscape. Our Land Bank has been most effective in preserving our open spaces, not only for our current citizens, but for future generations to come. We believe that property buyers funding the Land Bank at the time of purchase makes abundant sense. This is an investment that pays dividends multiple times over as our property values are directly tied to our pristine landscape. Please join us and many others in voting for our county's bright future by supporting the Land Bank renewal request on November's ballot.

Bill and Maude Cumming
San Juan Island

Land Bank Protects Island Beauty & Scenery

To the Editor:

We just returned from a 6 day camping trip up near Mt. Baker so I could get my mountain hiking in. I finally broke down and bought a new hiking book entitled “Day Hiking North Cascades”. It also covered day hikes in the San Juan’s as well. I was moved to see a page called “Saving the Turtle” which gave the reader some history as how Turtleback Mountain was acquired and saved for the people of this county and those who visit our islands. It mentions the joint efforts of the citizens of this county, mostly on Orcas Island, the San Juan Preservation Trust, The Trust for Public Land and The San Juan County Land Bank. The Land bank owns the property while the SJ Preservation Trust retains a conservation easement.

It made me realize just how important the San Juan County Land Bank is. It has worked in joint and by itself to acquire many easements and land that has benefited this county immensely. As we drive down Orcas Road and see pasture land, as we walk at Crescent Beach, as we hike Turtleback and look up at Turtleback, as we hike or enjoy Watmaugh Bay on Lopez…..the list is endless, we are enjoying the efforts of the Land Bank. We have been able to have the island beauty and scenery that we all love, that exemplifies “Island Living” and that visitors come to enjoy. I was proud when I read the passage in this book that many others will read of “Saving the Turtle”. It also inspired me to write this letter and urge all voters in this county to vote for the renewal of the San Juan County Land Bank. It is brought to the voters every 12 years for renewal and will be on our November ballot. Most of you know this, but when I was gathering signatures to get it on the ballot, I was surprised at some of the confusion a few people had about the Land Bank. To me, to be able to have a stretch of undeveloped land next to my land that was purchased through an easement freely sold by other concerned property owners would only enhance my property and its value. The land Bank is funded by a 1% property tax levied at the time property is sold. This in turn is used by the Land bank to acquire and maintain additional conservation areas. It is a win win situation for us all. When you drive down Orcas Road and look up at Turtleback, think proudly of your own efforts and what a wonderful thing it is, to have Turtleback Mountain and the many other properties to enjoy, for the public and for our children’s children in the years to come. Please vote to renew the San Juan County Land Bank this November.

Thank You,

Patty Pirnack-Hamilton
(Note:Date above left is when first letter was posted below on the subject)

Vote To Renew

To the Editor:

We are writing to enthusiastically endorse the Land Bank Renewal proposal on the November ballot. The guiding ordinance which San Juan County voters approved in 1990 committed the Land Bank to uphold the following mission: to preserve in perpetuity areas in the County that have environmental, agricultural, aesthetic, cultural, scientific, historic, scenic or low-intensity recreational value, and to protect existing and future sources of potable water. As we review the Land Bank accomplishments over the past twenty-one years, we are indeed grateful that the primary mission looked beyond simply preserving open space. The wisdom of the language in the guiding ordinance clearly looked to the future to protect the total sense of place we are fortunate to call home. The future is now in our hands. Let us move forward the same wisdom of our 1990 voters.

Each month the Land Bank Commissioners and staff meet to conduct Land Bank business. These are public meetings and open to everyone. Every year the Land Bank plans must be approved by County Council. Over the years the Land Bank has actively sought the opinions and help of citizens and organizations around the county to guide its annual program. Renewing the Land Bank’s operations for another twelve years by means of a county-wide vote is yet another process to insure that the efforts of the Land Bank are faithful to the citizens of San Juan County. The Land Bank is indeed OURS.

We urge our friends, neighbors and fellow residents to join us. Protect our sense of place among the San Juan Islands. Vote YES to renew our San Juan County Land Bank!

Carolyn Haugen
Alice Hurd
Renew Our Land Bank Committee Members
(Note:Date above left is when first letter was posted below on the subject)

Is There A Limit?

To the Editor:

In the process of County residents deciding whether to renew the Land Bank, one question I have yet to hear asked is how much of the County's land the Land Bank should control.

By a simple process of increasing money buying up or otherwise controlling the fixed amount of land in the County, if the Land Bank continues indefinitely at some point it will necessarily control every square inch of land. Presumably before this happens the Land Bank will be discontinued, or at least it will no longer be provided sufficient funding to increase its control of land and will be limited to managing the land already under its control.

I hope that the Residents will stop this process before it gets to that ultimate point. But at what point short of total control should the Land Bank's appetite for more control over our property be satiated? Should the Land Bank control 1%, 5%, 10%, 25%, 50%, 90% of the County land? Before we keep mindlessly renewing the Land Bank over and over, shouldn't this question at least be discussed? Shouldn't the Land Bank commissioners be asked by our public media (hint hint, local news editors!) what each of them considers an appropriate level of Land Bank control?

Christopher Hodgkin
San Juan Island
(Note:Date above left is when first letter was posted below on the subject)

LB Is Crucial To Economic Health

To the Editor:

Our whole family appreciates the way the Land Bank supports our local economy by bringing in outside funding and by leveraging public dollars. Collaboration with willing private landowners and partner organizations helped raise over 23 million dollars of additional funds in just the last five years!

Thanks to the Land Bank, the San Juan Islands have more preserved farmland and farm infrastructure and our beautiful open spaces attract visitors that are a mainstay of our economy. The San Juan Islands are a top world travel destination. By managing growth to help pay for conservation, the Land Banks is safeguarding the foundation of our economy. And we islanders reap the benefits everyday from our precious public lands.

We so appreciate how this is accomplished with low overhead (administrative costs average 6% a year), low tax impact (funded by a 1% tax paid by the buyer when real estate is purchased in the county and the property tax cost per year to a local landowner is less than $15 for a $ 500,000 property). And who can argue with 250 volunteers who put in over an additional year of equivalent paid labor?

Thank you Land Bank! You are crucial to our economic health and the future of our children’s children. We can't imagine what the islands would look like without you."

Shann Weston
Steve, Mariya
Elena Porten
San Juan Island
(Note:Date above left is when first letter was posted below on the subject)

A Legacy For All Of Us

To the Editor:

We’re fortunate to live in a place where people think about the future strategically, and the Land Bank is a good example of that. Started in 1990, the Bank is protecting bits of what made us first fall in love with these islands’ unique beauty, habitat, history and culture.

The Land Bank’s mission statement ends with the words “value for existing and future generations”. By investing is quality projects, partnering with a variety of local and national organization and building sound management, it’s creating a template for future generations to sustain this effort.

It’s a legacy for all of us.

Merritt and Janet Olsen
San Juan Island

Continue The Legacy

To the Editor:

Ballots will be sent out next month to registered San Juan County Voters. It is extremely important that we all realize that the continued existence of our Land Bank is completely dependent on the Nov 8 election. If voters do not approve it, our San Juan County Land bank will be discontinued.

The San Juan County Land bank is used as a model for the National Trust for Public Lands.
Let us vote to continue a legacy to be proud of which protects beautiful and historic places in our county for public use in perpetuity.

Thank You!
Liza Michaelson,
San Juan island

Vote “Yes” to renew Land Bank

To the Editor:

The Renew Our Land Bank Committee wishes to thank 2,659 voters who signed the petition to put the renewal of the Land Bank on the ballot. Their recognition of its good work was inspiring.

Without renewal the Land Bank will expire in 2014. The Land Bank works on long-term goals -- renewal in 2011 will improve its ability to maximize its resources.

Voting ‘Yes’ to renew the San Juan County Land Bank means voting for the success of our communities. The Land Bank is a proven performer that preserves beautiful views, open farmland, natural landscapes, habitat for wildlife and walking access to cherished places. The Land Bank increases the value of living in the islands and thus the economic health of San Juan County. Our local economy benefits from the preservation of our unique environment in many ways.

Funded by a 1% tax paid by the buyer when real estate is purchased in the county, the Land Bank is designed so those who come here help pay to preserve these special places. Finances are responsibly managed with low overhead (6% on average) and hundreds of volunteers. Partnerships with other agencies leverage Land Bank funds: 23 million dollars extra in just the last five years from agencies such as the San Juan Preservation Trust, the Orcas Island Community Foundation, Ducks Unlimited, and many other groups.

We need the Land Bank in the future when opportunities arise to provide public access, to save scenic views, to secure farmland for actual production, to make trails for our well-being, to preserve historic places, to protect sensitive habitat and to keep the outstanding character of the San Juan Islands alive and healthy. Go to for more information.

We, the Co-Chairs of the Renew Our Land Bank Committee, truly believe the Land Bank is a gift to ourselves and to future generations. It’s a success. We urge you to vote “Yes” to renew the Land Bank.

Harvey Himelfarb & Dave Zoeller, Orcas,
Sally & Tom Reeves, Lopez,
Pam Gross & Dave Zeretzke, San Juan

(08-12-11)A Clarification

To the Editor:

I just thought I’d point out that if the Land Bank is not renewed it won’t go out of existence. Rather, it will lose its ability to protect additional properties. The Land Bank will continue to steward its properties utilizing its stewardship fund and income from the Turtleback Stewardship Fund set up by the San Juan Preservation Trust.

Lincoln Bormann
San Juan County Land Bank

Tom Bauschke
John Evans
Mary Kalbert
Ron Keeshan
Gordy Petersen
Janice Peterson
Bruce Sallan
Terra Tamai
Amy Wynn
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