Another week, another Friends attack on community groups | Letter

Clearly, the Friends’ feathers are quite ruffled about the wave of citizen opposition to the ill-conceived CAO revisions proposed by CDPD. Their complaints, first focused on nasty outside agitators, are now directed at grass-roots, local island groups (the Common Sense Alliance, the Orcas Eagle Forum, the Lopez Birds, and the San Juan Citizens Alliance for Property Rights) with widely varying missions, but one common concern: how to balance protection of our island environment with the rights and interests of their neighbors.

None of these groups has claimed a right to do anything they want with their property. They simply want to see valid reasons articulated for any increase in the regulation of their property and in the costs of county government, including (1) the extensive additional staff that will be needed to implement the proposed regulations; (2) the enormous projected cost of litigation about the ill-conceived new rules; and (3) decreased revenues from wholesale loss of property values.

The overwhelming majority of the residents of the county have been excellent stewards of their lands; witness recent accolades about our pristine paradise. The people of the county, and the community groups that the Friends are so intent on reviling, want to see some evidence supporting the existence of a problem and a rational relationship between any such problem and the complex, expensive cures proposed to solve them.

The county has utterly failed to articulate problems with our existing CAO, we are told there is no science, and there is no data, but county staff with the help of the Friends and the Department of Ecology - have drawn up numerous expensive plans to solve the problems. At the same time, county staff proudly acknowledge that they have performed no analysis of the economic impact of this complex new regulatory burden - no analysis whatsoever!  Concerned citizens are told either not to worry or the county has no choice. Happily, the people of the county are beginning to realize that there is plenty to worry about, and that we do, indeed, have choices.

Peg Manning

Orcas Island

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