Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Patty Miller and the Wetlands on her Property - Her Response

The Trojan Heron received this reply from Patty Miller in response to the questions about the work on her property and wetlands (original post and comments can be found at this link).

We don't know the County's position about this, and of course, if you remember the way the Charles Dalton story developed, his activities triggered a cascade of emails between the Friends, Ecology, and the County, resulting in several "visits" from those groups.

Based on the information available to the Trojan Heron, and depending on which map is used, then the alleged work seems to have happened either in, or very close to, one or more suspected wetlands (see maps below).

Wow ... if a County Councillor finds it this hard to follow the rules, imagine what all this conflicting information will mean to the rest of us.

Thank you for the opportunity to respond to the concern raised on your website. 

My property in Olga does have a number of wetlands.  Over the years I have had buildings built and cleared a small portion of land.  I have obtained the building, storm water, and forest practices permits required for these projects.  Each of these projects have required wetlands assessments at varying levels and thus I have consulted with several wetland experts to learn more about the wetlands and to inform how I develop my property.   Additionally I allowed the County to assess and inventory the Category II wetlands as part of the work to develop the possible wetlands map.  I do not believe that I am doing any work in a regulated wetland or its buffer.   The work that is being questioned is a small project in an area next to an old road/trail that we use to get to the back portion of the property and does not include any filling or bulldozing.  I believe this work is well outside any buffer associated with these wetlands.  If any citizen has a concern about my conduct I encourage them to file a complaint with the County's Community Development and Planning department.  I have tried to learn and live by the laws developed in San Juan County and expect that I would be held accountable to them.  We have a process that is intended to identify and resolve these issues.  This is the most appropriate and constructive process to follow. 


Patty Miller

Miller's property with possible wetlands as shown by the County GIS map.  Yellow circle is the approximate location of  where the work is believed to have occurred.

US Fish & Wildlife Service National Wetland Inventory Map of Miler property.  Yellow circle shows approximate location where work is believed to have occurred.
Possible Wetlands Map associated with the current Wetland CAO proposal.  Orange circle is the approximate location of where the work is believed to have occurred.  Green areas are possible wetlands.  Black lines are un-typed streams.
Miller's Property with possible wetlands (green) and streams (blue) as mapped by Adamus. Yellow circle on adjacent parcel (also owned by Miller) is the approximate location of where the work is believed to have occurred.


  1. So is Patty aware of the BAS Synthesis maps, adopted into the public record apparently, by the San Juan County Council?

    This looks disturbing like an insider attempt to move fast before the rules change.

    Call it "insider trading" of a certain kind. Most folks wouldn't have such advance knowledge to take advantage of it for their own personal gain.

  2. Patty is right. The County has a process to identify and resolve these issues and it should be followed. Someone----or more appropriately the Friends, if they truly care about disturbance of wetlands, and since they claim on their website that it is their job to "enforce" (wow not!) environmental regs, should request the County to go out to Patty's property and see if it is in compliance. For that matter, the County should be asked to check Stephanie Buffum's septic system for compliance, since questions have been raised about that. It has been said however, to get Friends to act on a complaint (or is it to get them to not act?) you have to first give them money. This could get complicated. But maybe they will act voluntarily to make sure the rules are being followed on Patty's property and on Stephanie's. Those who want to impose rules should be willing for the public to see that they are living by them.

  3. Re the previous post: Wonder if The Friends would follow up their request to the County that they inspect Patty's property with dozens of emails like they did in Charles Dalton's case, demanding to know what action would be taken and when, and if Stephanie will trespass on Patty's property (but not admit to it) like she did on Charles' with her telescopic lens to document any violations. Wonder if they will call ditches 'fish-bearing streams'? Wonder if they will check as they did with Charles, to make sure that Patty really got all necessary permits? They have said they believe in equal enforcement for all.