Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Countdown to CAOmageddon: Flaw #6 - Friday Harbor Free Pass

Which do you think would have a greater impact on the environment? Would it be a 1.4 square mile area with a population density of over 1,500 people per square mile, or would it be 170 square miles with a population density of about 80 people per square mile?

Friday Harbor, with a population equivalent to that of Lopez squeezed into 5% of the area of Lopez, gets a free pass on the County's CAO. Nothing the County does will apply to the Town because the GMA requires that each incorporated area within a county do their own CAOs.

Has Friday Harbor revised its CAO?

According to inquiries made with Mike Bertrand, the Town Planning Director, the Town's update was a very basic process. Bertand reviewed the current Town ordinance, didn't find the need for any changes and submitted a report to the DOE with those findings. It didn't even go to the Town Council because the DOE approved Mike's findings.


There are several shocking things about Mike Bertrand's statements. Ecology approved the changes but the Town Council didn't? But Ecology doesn't have approval authority. State law requires that the Town take "legislative action" with respect to the CAO review. You can't just mail it in. There has to be, for example, a public participation process. Lest there be any confusion about what "legislative action" entails, the RCW has been kind enough to define it for us:
Legislative action means the adoption of a resolution or ordinance following notice and a public hearing indicating at a minimum, a finding that a review and evaluation has occurred and identifying the revisions made, or that a revision was not needed and the reasons therefor [sic].
Frankly, it doesn't sound like the Town (or Ecology) has followed the law at all, but Ecology "approved" it anyway. Furthermore, it's downright "Congressional" for us to have a Council member from Friday Harbor voting on something that won't apply to himself.

Given the Town's situation, it is especially galling that the current County Council member from the Town is one of the most enthusiastic supporters of stricter CAO regulations for everyone else, even going so far as to predict the voting margin of victory (at least 5 to 1) for stricter County CAOs. The Trojan Heron feels that the Friday Harbor Council member should recuse himself from the County CAO vote. While Councilman Rosenfeld has undoubtedly shown pre-vote bias, the equally troubling aspect is that neither he nor hardly any of his constituents will suffer direct consequences. Ironically, Rosenfeld voted in 2008 to approve the CARA, too, and if he actually does vote to approve the remaining CAOs, Rosenfeld will hold the distinction of being the only person to have voted to approve all of them.

Howie Rosenfeld should abstain from the County CAO vote. Instead of taxation without representation, when it comes to the CAOs, the Town of Friday Harbor has representation without participation.


  1. Have they thought about recruiting Bertrand to the County Administrator job when it is reopened??

  2. Concerned CitizenAugust 9, 2012 at 8:47 AM

    Would Howie really drive a stake through the heart of Friday Harbor? I'm thinkin' I'm hearing yes. Very concerning. Maybe his wife the Mayor can reason with him if no one else can.

  3. Will Howie be awake during the deliberations, or will his snoring drown out the discussion?

    I can't believe the people of this county pay Rosenfeld to sleep on the job, but maybe we're safer while he is snoozing?

  4. So let me get this straight. You are upset at the Town for NOT restricting property rights more through government regulations and for NOT wasting public funds by having a drawn out review that wasn't necessary?.......So much for common sense!

  5. More to the point, I believe the question is why the Town, via their County Council representative, appears to be a strong advocate for property restrictions (and wasting funds) for the county community at large but not for itself? Seems like a double standard to me. Why is the County Councilman from the Town even part of the County CAO/SMP deliberations at all, and if he is, why isn't he an advocate for consistency? Incorporated urban growth area heal thyself ... or maybe it's not about "healing" anything at all, and as we at the TH believe, it's all about getting more and more control over every aspect of rural life. It's not about the environment. The inconsistency between the Town and County compliance paths just highlights that fact.

  6. Perhaps even more to the point is the the Town is the one and only actually known area with CAO impacts!

    These are the impacts we should be addressing and I think we all want to help the Town do that. Instead the County Council wants to carpet bomb the rest of the place with buffers that serve absolutely no reliable purpose against pollution and humankind that don't exist.

    About half of the shoreline parcels have owners who DO NOT LIVE IN WASHINGTON STATE!

    Of the 3600 parcels of shoreline in private ownership there are only 600 occupied by people who live here 365.

    Of course our elected County Appraiser could have told the Council Council this simple stuff if they had asked OR if HE actually took an interest in the goof ball stuff they are doing.

  7. OK, I better give actual numbers, more correct numbers. Of 3,522 shoreline parcel owners 316 live north of Everett but not SJC, 1,366 live mostly Seattle, Bellevue, Bellingham, Anacortes etc. NOT SJC!

    Six hundred and thirty five shoreline property owners live in Canada or in some 49 other states.

    So the actual bottom line is that of the 3522 shoreline parcels 2,317 are owned by ABSENTEE OWNERS! That's 65.7%

    So while I apologize for my math in the first post, the FACT remains the Council is, as many have said for months, attacking a problem that does not exist! THERE AIN'T NO PEOPLE OUT THERE!

    Our ELECTED assessor could have told them this in five minutes. Instead he could be hit with hundreds of property reassessment demands if this ship of fools continues to sail.

  8. I would just like to say that I think Mike Bertrand had the right idea. Without any evidence for changing the CAOs, why change? If only Mike were a politician at the County level, we might have avoided all this unnecessary and expensive baloney we've had to put up with.