Sunday, February 3, 2013

$400 And 24 Questions -- To Start

In addition to elections and Community Conversations, the County has been having workshops about the new CAOs. Already, there has been one workshop in Friday Harbor, and there will be another on Orcas on February 6.

We've heard some candidates say how much easier the new CAOs are, but that's not how it appears to people who have attended the workshops. In a letter to the Journal, Paul LeBaron has captured in a nutshell how "easy" our new system is.
The CAO will certainly create several high paying jobs throughout the county. The new Pre-Application Evaluation Questionnaire has 24 technical questions and costs $400 to file. The $400 fee will be the least of your worries, since you will probably need to hire a surveyor, geologist, biologist, land use attorney, and wetland expert if applicable. This will become more difficult if you are within the shoreline.

Once this form is completed you can turn it into the county for review. If by chance their experts agree with your experts, you are ready to go back to the planning department to fill out the Land Use Pre-Application Evaluation Worksheet. This is a 6-page questionnaire with 78 technical questions to be filled out by several of your highly paid consultants.
Couldn't be easier! Just do all that, and faster than you can say "Kyle Loring," you'll be on your way to the next phase of your project -- confronting a Hearing Examiner challenge by the Friends. Ahh, the good life.

But really, it's better, just listen to the candidates. The CAOs are logical, and I guess some people aren't frightened by unbridled regulatory discretion.


  1. How did Lisa "prove" that she didn't have a wetland on the OPAL property? Kyle thinks she does!
    I guess OPAL will need new grants from the County to pay for delineations and stiff.

    1. As I understand it, OPAL has wetlands on their property and they had to design around it. What property in particular?

  2. Heaving a great sigh of relief while rolling on the floor laughing.

    Ah, Lisa, Lisa, Lisa. You are so much smarter than this, so much more together than poor Lovel.

    What are doing?

    Not very scary? What planet do you live on? Did you go to the CAO workshop? Will you?

  3. The consensus I heard from the crowd after Lisa expressed this sentiment at one Forum was that, of course she hasn't got any problems with it--OPAL gets exemptions and fee waivers and --we all suspected--actual HELP from the planning department. Problem is that few of us trying to build ordinary homes with our own money have those all-important "connections." She also likes the "certainty" of the new CAO. Like certain doom is so much better than the possibility of a rational scheme.

  4. Heard a really disturbing story about one of our local "delineators" who was retained to look at a property, declared a wetland requiring a mitigation plan, and when the owners explained that the standing water resulted from an artificial diversion, said that she would report the owners if they did not hire her for a full-blown "mitigation" plan. For several thousand dollars. Heard the same thing about a "delineator" on a different island. These "consultants" show up on all the County boards and studies, demanding extensive "mitigation" requirements, and then turn around and make big bucks. I SEE WETLANDS.

  5. Lisa is a perfect politician - she'll tell you anything that you want to hear. She has the green machine backing and her motherly urging to "not worry" about the revised CAO is equivalent to a mother urging her daughter to "not worry" after the bomb has been dropped..."it's only castles burning..."

  6. With the appeal of the December Lame Duck Council approval of the CAO to the Growth Management Hearing Board by FOSJ it only seems logical that the "Winter Council" cancel ANY effective date for this thing until, of course, all issues, concerns, and performance parameters have been fully resolved, fully vetted, with opaque getting the squeegee candidates LOVE to talk about. (Is there a verb in there? Or is this an attempt at Lisa talk?...Editor)

    No CAO effective date until FOSJ is completely happy (don't worry, it will never happen) or banished from these islands.

  7. To Rick Hughes, Did you see the last post in the comments for the January 30th blog post? It's a direct question to you and I would love to hear your response to that poster.

    And...thank you for running. It takes courage I would think.

  8. That question goes to EVERY candidate. Thus far, Brian McClaren is the only candidate to respond.

  9. As I posted on the 1/30 blog...

    I have no intention to allow any special interest to have undue influence on my opinion or process while as an elected official. My interest is to represent the entire county fairly and openly. I will do my best to fight so the average person can open a business or build a shed on his/her property or attempt to earn an honest wage.

    If this answer is not complete enough, then send me an email at and we can book some time for a face to face.

  10. The key part is missing-

    What role can/should FOSJ as a litigant against the county have on standing comittees?

  11. Lovel Pratt stated during one of the candidate forums that the CDP is fee driven, and that none of it's funding comes from the general fund. So you tell me what kinds of behaviors does this financial structure incentivize ? With the economic downturn,and the reduction of new building permits as a consequence, the CDP's sights are going to focus on any possible way to boost the fees coming into the department. Enter the new enhanced CAO and the proposed new enforcement policies and procedures that empower the county to " investigate " and "enforce" based on anonymous conversations with anyone. It appears that government entities always have sought to turn the people against each other, then their attention is not focused on misconduct and corruption that flourishes within the government itself. Talk about built in conflicts of interest.

  12. Excellent comment at 12:23. As usual, it all about money. It is not how a parking meter keeps cars in circulation, it is about how much we can fine the poor bastards who don't feed the meter. An extremely non issue of a violation of the "rules" becomes money maker. Sweet! AND, completely and wildly wrong.