I urge everyone to read the recently released Tourism Destination Plan for San Juan County.
Ownership of private property is a right protected by the Fourth Amendment. My understanding of the reading of this plan is that it will be necessary for county government take private property as a means to build bike lanes and hiking trails. Is this fair to the land owners along those proposed routes?
A major concern for me is a statement referring to the Land Bank in the plan: “Increase lands protected through purchase, easements, and updated for streams, wetlands, and shoreline buffers to achieve a goal of 40% land area by 2040.” As we all know there is a need for affordable housing for workers. When land becomes less available the cost of available land for building homes becomes even more expensive. Removing 40% review more of our property will make it nearly impossible to find land for affordable homes.
Tourism is the main industry and employs more people in our county than any other type of business. Our annual visitors already pay a premium to come here via ferry. By adding the expense of parking passes, on top of the dysfunctional ferry system, the tourists will just go somewhere else.
How many employees will be added to the county employee workforce for coordinating, and monitoring these initiatives? Is there a consideration of costs for that? Since 2020, the county employees have increased to almost 300. Thus, a new position in the HR Department had to be filled. The costs for the increase in wages and benefits will be another heavy burden on the taxpayers of San Juan County.
The plan gives an estimated cost of $13,000,000 to implement. It will cost much, much more.