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Critical Areas Ordinances

A visit to the past: One reason Clallam County made the DCD an elected position

Posted 6/22/2015

(Editor’s note:  This letter from 2001 is self-explanatory.  Shortly after, Clallam County, as a Home Rule Charter County, placed a change to the Charter to see if the DCD [Director of Community Development] should be made an elected position instead of an appointed one.  The issue went on the ballot, and the voters said “yes” to an elected, rather than appointed position for the DCD Director – the first and only in the nation so far.  When the next Charter Review Commission convened, the issue was placed on the ballot again – pressed by those who thought the DCD Director should be an appointed “expert”, despite the fact that the elected position had been working quite well.  The second time – the voters AGAIN voted to keep the position elected.  There is a movement afoot to bring it to the ballot a THIRD time by the current Charter Review Commission.  We shall see if that comes to pass. LKP)


Frustrated Clallam County citizen speaks out about extraordinary requirements to place part of his property into a “pre-man” condition as a result of the Critical Areas Code Continue reading

Guest Editorial: Why is Ocean Science Missing in the SJC’s BAS?

Posted 8/12/2013

as printed in The Trojan Heron

San Juan Island, WA – My wife and I came to San Juan Island in 2009 to enjoy the wonderful ambiance of these Islands.   Like many friends and neighbors, we are environmentally oriented–I having retired from 40 years of ocean technology work, and she a long career in public relations.   We both are alarmed by San Juan County’s recent CAO [Critical Areas Ordinance] developments and public disclosures–her from a public information perspective, and I from an ocean sciences point of view.  Continue reading

Property Rights Are Not Secure in Washington State


By Preston Drew, President,
Citizens’ Alliance for Property Rights

Posted 7/6/2013


In 2008 the Washington State Court of Appeals threw out the most controversial section of the 2004 King County Critical Areas Ordinance, which was a provision that called for the set aside of as much as 65% of a rural landowner’s property when applying for a land use permit. The Supreme Court then refused to hear King County’s appeal, thus rendering the Appeals Court decision settled law. Yet the King County administration refuses to change the code to reflect the Appeals Court decision. When queried recently the reply was “Oh, we just don’t enforce that clause”.

Why? Aren’t county officials obligated to have the code reflect the law? Continue reading

New CAO rules not backed by science | Guest Column

By Bob Levinson
for San Juan Journal

JULY 30, 2012 · UPDATED 7:36 PM


San Juan Islands, WA – According to County Councilman Howie Rosenfeld, we now know the council will be passing the Critical Area Ordinance (CAO) by a majority of 5-to-1.

It has been over three years since the San Juan County has been involved with the CAO process. From the start the public has been asking the council and staff “What is the problem” without getting a reasonable answer.

The public, whom you represent and basically work for, deserve an answer from each council member giving us the reasons you are getting ready to pass a more restrictive CAO that will have profound impacts to our county. Continue reading

Resistance grows due to heavy-hand of CAO | Guest Column

by Gordy Peterson
for San Juan Journal
APRIL 5, 2013 · 5:59 PM

San Juan Islands, WA – I enjoyed reading Judge John Darrah’s guest column “Deconstructing the CAO Campaign,” Journal, pg. 7, April 3.

It may help him understand the “Anti’s” if he had an inside look into the movement.

I’ve been embedded in what I call the “Rural Resistance” for about 25 years. At times I’ve felt alone but now there are many of us.

I’m certainly not the leader. This movement is made up of very independent folks who don’t follow orders very well. We do not receive grants like the Friends (Friends of the San Juans) who are paid to lobby for more government authority over land use. Well-funded State agencies like DOE and Puget Partnership are also allied against us. Continue reading

Planning to Stifle Human Ingenuity

Glenn Morgan
The Freedom Foundation

Posted 1/5/2013


When my Great Uncle Ed Dalby installed the first waterwheel in the South Puget Sound near Union, WA in 1922, he did not get a permit.  He was just an innovative guy, and he wanted to have electric lights in his home and a few cabins on his property.  He also believed in recycling (long before it was a fad).  He acquired the used counterbalance flywheel from the Yesler Cable Car in Seattle, and along with other scrapped material was able to produce power for the family homestead until well past World War II.  This waterwheel is a famous landmark today, officially listed, and unofficially photographed, painted, and admired by both locals and tourists 90 years after it was built.  In today’s world, Ed Dalby would be arrested, fined, sued, and probably end up in endless litigation for building this landmark.  With modern zoning, shoreline master plans, comp plans, visioning plans, consensus goals, critical area ordinances, planning departments, and the Environmental Industrial Complex in full force, it is ludicrious to believe that a modern landmark like this could ever be built by an individual again.


Living In A Post-CAO World – Critical Areas Ordinance passes in San Juan County

The Trojan Heron Commentary
An investigative newsblog about environmental deception in the San Juan Islands of Washington State

Posted 12/6/2012

Today, we got our first look at the CAOs that were passed yesterday. They can be found at this link.

The County came out with a press release regarding Council CAO approval. As we review and analyze the final version, we will be providing our own commentary. At this stage, it appears as if many of the last-minute changes made by the Council were cosmetic. Councilwoman Pratt is quoted as saying that the CAOs represent “hard work” and “compromises,” but the final CAO text appears to represent neither. It makes us wonder whether Pratt has a grasp of either concept. Continue reading

6000 farmers and rural landowners DENIED WATER in the CLOSED Skagit River watershed

From Pearl Rains-Hewett

Posted 11/6/2012


This video is about the atrocities happening to the 6000 farmers and rural landowners DENIED WATER in the CLOSED Skagit River watershed.

One couple on this “JUST WATER Alliance Video has owned and paid taxes on their retirement property in Skagit County for 25 years.

They were DENIED a building permit because they were DENIED WATER.

Pearl Rains Hewett Continue reading

Farm Bureau challenges county’s new Critical Areas Ordinance

Posted 10/30/2012

by Steve Brown
Capital Press

The state and county Farm Bureaus have appealed the updated Critical Areas Ordinance filed by the Thurston County Commission, claiming it doesn’t abide by the state’s rules.

John Stuhlmiller, director of government relations at the Washington Farm Bureau, said the state’s Voluntary Stewardship Program includes the commitment “to make no changes as it relates to agriculture.”

But the Thurston County Farm Bureau claims the county government did just that when it split farming into “existing” and “new” and then applied different rules to each. It also failed to define what “change of use” is.

Every county in Washington that agreed to participate in the stewardship program committed to involving farmers and other landowners in updating its Critical Areas Ordinance. The ordinance addresses issues including agriculture, wetlands and aquifers, preserving and protecting land from urban impacts. Continue reading

Progress being made on new DOE watershed rule, says county commissioner

August 15, 2012

PORT ANGELES, WA — In what he described as a “huge step forward,” Clallam County Commissioner Jim McEntire this week praised state Department of Ecology for addressing his concerns about the proposed water management rule for the Dungeness Valley. As it stands, McEntire said the state-initiated rule is “good enough” to preserve streamflows and protect senior water rights without harming the economy or infringing on property rights. “Big milestone,” McEntire said in a Tuesday commissioners’ meeting. “It ain’t over by any means. We’ve got to stay on this. But this is a big step.” READ MORE >>>>>

Continue reading

The Trojan Heron follows the Critical Areas Code on the San Juan Islands

from The Trojan Heron
San Juan Islands, Washington State

Bookmark their website to follow environmental issues there.

Posted 8/5/2012


The Critical Areas Ordinances (CAOs) are a requirement of the Growth Management Act (GMA).  Unknown to many is the fact that the oversight agency for the GMA is the Department of Commerce, not the Department of Ecology.  The GMA requires that Commerce consult with Ecology on critical areas.  However, Ecology has no authority, under the GMA, to involve itself at the local level.  Ecology’s local participation occurs only with the tolerance, permission, or invitation of our local government.

According to independent analysis of the County’s critical areas maps, critical areas will affect 50% of parcels covering 78% of the area of the county — even before buffers are added.  Technically, the critical aquifer recharge area (CARA) map affected 100% of parcels, but the land-use restrictions of that particular CAO were slight.  By contrast, the effects of the upcoming CAOs will have onerous restrictions for affected citizens.

When the GMA was enacted, San Juan County was not required to fully participate (fully plan, as it is called).  However, our County Commissioners at the time (Cowan, LaPorte, and Orchid) opted in.  In all, 29 of the 39 counties in Washington were eventually required to fully plan.  While the CAOs are required of all counties, whether they fully plan or not, the CAOs of the ten counties who do not fully plan cannot have their CAOs appealed before the Growth Management Hearings Board (GMHB).  That is an often-used legal threat made by Ecology and the Friends of the San Juans:  that if the Council is not appropriately strict, they will be challenged before the GMHB. Continue reading

Malaria and other mosquito-vectored diseases are a brutal form of population control

from Pearl Rains-Hewett

Other viruses present elsewhere in the world could similarly be introduced into the United States, as well as new species of mosquitoes. In the mid-1980s Aedes albopictus arrived; in the late 1990s Ochlerotatus japonicus.


One report, these infected mosquito can only fly two miles? They did not report how many miles a bird infected with West Nile Virus can fly?


Our Federal Government mandates “no net loss” of wetlands? Restore or create wetlands?


Save the WETLANDS? And sicken and KILL the People of the world?


Malaria and other mosquito-vectored diseases are a brutal form of population control.




Pearl Rains Hewett

Read on if you are interested

Continue reading

Water rule slows development in Kittitas

Published on Wed, Jul 11, 2012

By Mark St.J. Couhig
Sequim Gazette


The water management rule promulgated by the Department of Ecology in 2009 resulted in an immediate moratorium on development in the Upper Kittitas. Mitch Williams, a Kittitas builder, said today no one purchases land within the area “until they have water.” Before issuing the rule, Ecology created a draft map of water availability. Williams said, “Green means you’re good to go. Yellow is a big maybe. If it’s red, you’re already screwed,” he said. Department of Ecology graphic


Mitch Williams, a builder in Kittitas County and a principal in a new for-profit water bank, says the people in his area are now learning the ropes in dealing with a Department of Ecology-approved water management plan.

Continue reading

Clallam County approves letter to Ecology on Dungeness water rule

By Rob Ollikainen  Peninsula Daily News

July 3, 2012

PORT ANGELES — After a week of deliberation, the three Clallam County commissioners reached consensus Tuesday on a letter addressing the state Department of Ecology’s proposed water management rule for the Dungeness Valley. The revised three-page letter raises eight concerns the county has about the state-initiated rule that would set minimum flows in the river, create a water exchange and require the owner of new wells to mitigate his or her use of water by purchasing credits. The controversial rule would affect the eastern half of Water Resource Inventory Area 18 from Bagley Creek to Sequim Bay. Concerns raised by the county include the requirement for meters on new wells, protection from liability and the need for a periodic performance assessment of the rule. The letter — which commissioners approved by a 3-0 vote Tuesday — is available at Commissioner Jim McEntire, the board liaison for Water Resource Inventory Area 18 issues, led the effort to formulate comments that reflect the interests of his fellow board members, county staff and the public. READ MORE >>>

Changing the Way We Govern Ourselves

Posted 5/30/2012
From Property Rights Foundation of America
Speech from Proceedings of the Seventh Annual New York Conference
on Private Property Rights
Opening Address-Grassroots Action — Changing the Way We Govern Ourselves
Don Parmeter
International Falls, Minnesota

Thank you. My name is Don, and I am a recovering environmentalist. I thank you for that introduction. Carol and I have talked over the phone, like she said, for years, but it’s nice to be back in New York. I have to tell you something though. I don’t know who designed your freeway system. I was thinking about that as I was coming out of New York City last night trying to figure out how to get to Albany. It looked easy on the map. You know, I did take some map reading courses at West Point, so it’s not that I don’t know how to read a map, but, anyway, the only thing I could think of was the Department of Tourism once they get people in New York they don’t want them to leave, so they create this system. I have to tell you, you’ve a ways to go to keep up with Pennsylvania, though. I think I have been living in rural America for too long. You get in a metropolitan area and you kind of panic. So that’s why, after 25 years in Northern Minnesota, I am moving to St. Paul, which is kind of a frightening prospect. What are you going to do driving in that traffic? Well, you know what? I found a place to live that’s seven miles walking distance to the Capitol, so I am looking forward to that, actually.

Frankly, that’s one of the problems we have in the rural parts of America. Our capitols are so far away. I was trying to get things done living five hours from the Capitol and, I tell you what, those folks that live in the St. Paul area have an advantage. The problem is, us folks that are passionate about what happens in the rural parts of the country, we don’t want to live in the city, and we tried for years to try to get the Capitol moved up north. It’s a lost cause. I get involved in a lot of battles, but that one we’re going to lose.

But I really appreciate the invitation. It’s nice to be back here. I want to congratulate Carol for organizing this conference. I am not a conference organizer, but I got stuck with one, and I tell you it’s a lot of work and a lot of headaches, but forums like this are really important to bring a lot of people together. So thank you for doing that, Carol. Continue reading

Citizens voice extreme concerns at water management meeting

by Lois Krafsky Perry
Citizen Review Online

Posted June 29, 2012

Sequim, WA – The Dungeness Water Management open house presentation and public hearing was staged by the Washington State Department of Ecology (DOE), June 28th, 2012,  at the Sequim Community Church sanctuary, on North 5th Avenue in Sequim, WA.

Apparently there was not enough room for  facilitator, Judy Beisel, to put her paperwork, so she plopped it onto the altar, which also held a large Bible and Chalice.

Clallam County taxpayers, as well as Jefferson County citizens, numbered approximately 300 people, with attendees  from as far as Lake Ozette, who also came to testify.  There were approximately 10 representatives from the DOE and/or auxiliary agencies. Continue reading

CAPR goes on record against Ecology proposals

Posted 6/23/2012

Citizens Alliance for Property Rights (CAPR) in Spokane, WA has responded  to the WA State Dept. of Ecology’s  (DOE) Recommendations for “fish consumption”.  Letter to the DOE follows:

June 21, 2012

Washington State Department of Ecology (DOE):

The Spokane Chapter of Citizens’ Alliance for Property Rights (CAPR), reviewed your recommendations for increased Fish Consumption Rates (FCR). Our Chapter wants to officially go on record that we are not in favor of your specific recommendations for increased Fish Consumption Rates (FCR) for Washington State citizens.
Firstly, your proposal will waste tax payer dollars. Your more stringent water quality clean-up standards will cause businesses to suffer financially all across our state in these tough economic times.
Secondly, your increased FCR standards are based on consumption patterns of minority populations of tribes across the state. As you point out, tribal members eat larger quantities of fish, compared to the majority of the population in our state.
For example, DOE recommends that citizens follow the fish consumption patterns of the 29 Washington State Tribes by consuming 5, 8 oz fish meals per week. Whereas, the American Heart Association and Oregon State University only recommend that 3 ounces (the size of a deck of cards) of fish be eaten in a meal. Also, the American Heart Association recommends 2, 3 oz. fatty fish meals a week be eaten, not 5, 8 oz fish meals, which DOE recommends.
Therefore, the DOE should consider expert, nutritional recommendations for fish consumption patterns from the highly respected American Heart Association and the O.S.U. nutritional guidelines before revising FCR standards for all of the citizens of Washington State.


Kevin Paulson
President of Spokane Chapter of CAPR
10321 E. Bigelow Gulch
Spokane, WA 99217

What is the COST to the county for Commissioners expanding the buffers?

Commentary by Randy Dutton

RE:  County increases buffers to development near streams

Posted June 20, 2012

I know that by the stroke of their pens the Commissioners virtually eliminated the possibility of me selling the ten acres of bluff ridge above Geissler Road. Why? Because the county has a roadside man-made ditch they claim occasionally has sculpin in it. Thus it is classified as ‘fish bearing’ and establishes a 140-foot buffer, which then tracks along that lot’s entire bluff edge. So, the county loses the potential revenue from building two homes, and because the property has great views, there may be a loss of bringing professionals and their jobs into the county. Good going Commissioners! You just screwed the County out of more jobs and tax revenue! Continue reading

County increases buffers to development near streams

By Steven Friederich
The Daily World


MONTESANO, WA — On a split vote, the Grays Harbor County commissioners approved changes to the county’s critical areas ordinance, which increases the “buffers” land owners must leave between development and

A rural area near the Chehalis or Wynooche rivers would have had to leave a 50-foot buffer under the old rules. But, under the newly-adopted rules, that buffer is increased to 150 feet.

Gone also are the old permitting rules under the critical areas ordinance that allowed a single-residential home to be treated differently than a major industrial site. Now, all applications are treated the same with identical buffers. Continue reading

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