Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Glimmer Of Hope?

The County sponsored a wetland tour this week for the Council and the public to see properties potentially affected by the CAOs. While I personally think that the level of technical information being provided to the Council has much to be desired, it was nonetheless gratifying to have Council members asking good questions. Questions were asked about fate and transport, soils, and other relevant aspects of wetlands.

If you can get light from a pencil, maybe there is still a glimmer of hope to get something good from the CAOs too.


  1. I like the idea gaining ground to just ask our senior planners what their price is? To leave. Just name a price. It's got to be cheaper than a lawsuit. It will allow the county to get back to real business and allow our communities to start the healing process. Hey, I am sure Erick Stockdale and his pals at Ecology has a price. Just buy them out and make the "problem go away."

  2. I don't think they have to worry about legal expenses. The UN will pick up the tab.

  3. I am concerned that critical area enforcement in SJC could go the way that it has in Whatcom County, where a punitive and repressive culture in the natural resources section in PDS dominates the whole department. The default finding by PDS is "wetland", even when the evidence for that finding is tenuous. Specialists ( "Qualified professionals" ) routinely find their studies second-guessed by the county. Very often, PDS requires that study findings be altered to conform to PDS preconceptions.

    At a commercial site near Birch Bay, an initial delineation that found the entire site to be upland was later altered at the insistence of PDS following the reservation and stockpiling onsite of topsoil removed in preparation for development of the site, and the stockpiling for later recycling of certain other clean sandy fill material from offsite, placed on another area of the site for the purpose of filling the basement of a structure on the parcel that is slated for demolition.

    An examination of the later-delineated "wetlands" on the site reveals that they lie in areas where dozers compressed the subsoil in the process of pushing topsoil and sandy fill materials into piles, somewhat compressing those subsoils.

    There you have it: the act of reserving topsoil and fill for later use on the site was the action that created the "wetlands".

    The initial study, by the way, was written to delineate a portion of the site for mitigation of "offsite wetlands". By that, I mean "wetlands" that are presumed to exist on a neighboring property, the buffers for which are presumed to extend on this property. In that way, the owners of this property are required to reserve areas of their property from development because of conditions ( "critical areas" ) on a neighboring property, the delineation of which is beyond the control of the owners of this property.

  4. I hesitate to extinguish any glimmer of hope that the CAO process will produce anything useful, but the general section is a disaster, the wetlands section is still a mess--despite valiant efforts by the Planning Commission--and the newly-unveiled "fish and wildlife habitat" draft is scarier than either of the aforementioned.

  5. All by design. Make the weeds so thick no one can escape the mess. Someone once said: "If you can get them to ask the wrong questions, you don't have to worry about your answers!"
    And so they have us all wrapped up and arguing about the endless details. Dragging us through the weeds for what purpose? They already said their hands are tied. The environment is just their vehicle to get us to their new world. And many think their concern is just about ecology and the environment. What a sham this whole process is.
    This is all being dictated from on high. Do we think the UN, our federal government and state government are open to reason? Follow the money.

  6. People need to read the draft of the Fish and Wildlife CAO section, and show up at the joint Planning Commission/County Council hearing on it on this Friday. Peg Manning is spot-on - this code section is far worse for property owners than the Wetlands section, and I suspect there is pressure to run it through the process at high speed.