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.