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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.

Consider, as a brief example, the Reasonable Use Exception in the General Section. Aside from adding some meaningless platitudes up front about respect for private property, the Council left it alone. It’s still the same old unreasonable Reasonable Use Exception that we’ve seen in every unacceptable draft up to this point. Nothing substantive has changed.

One of the local newspapers said the CAOs were “blessed” by the County Council yesterday. We think they have their religious imagery mixed up. The citizens of the County were cursed by it.

In a separate matter that might have implications for CAO implementation and general governance, a lawsuit was filed today to overturn the election results regarding Proposition 1 (Actually, the prayer for relief requests that all three propositions be invalidated. See comments below). Among other things, the suit seeks injunctive relief to stop the scheduled county-wide elections for three new councillors. Readers also may remember that there already is a separate lawsuit in progress regarding the behavior of Fralick, Miller, and Pratt and their secret CAO meetings. The year 2013 is shaping up to get off to a bang in what may be a year of continuous litigation for the County.

Interesting times.

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