As our island population ages and circumstances change it is very important to a substantial portion of our community that we have an active real estate market.
The initial draft of the critical areas ordinance was quite radical and had the potential of making a devastating impact. Many homes would have been classified as “non conforming uses.” That would prevent the affected property from being altered or expanded, which of course would effect its value.
More ominously is the possibility that a non-conforming use could be abated under certain conditions. Estimates of the cost to property owners run from $20 million to $150 million.
It is unfortunate that the state is pushing this issue at the very time when neither the state nor San Juan County can afford to do the necessary studies, the so called “best science” requirement that would enable the CAO effort to be focused on those areas that are genuinely critical.
Mr. Olson believes it is disingenuous and self serving to be concerned about the impact of the CAO. I would suggest we have a community problem: How to protect the genuinely critical areas in the islands without inflicting unnecessary economic pain on a substantial portion of our neighbors.
Patrick C. Roe