Fisherman Bay Road tree controversy

  • Tue Jun 17th, 2008 4:45pm
  • News

Disputed trees on John Domanic’s property

The San Juan County Public Works Department will hold an informational open house about the proposed Fisherman Bay Road improvement project that spans from Military Rd. to Hummel Lake Rd. in the basement of the Lopez Fire Hall on Thursday, Feb. 21 from 1:30 to 5 p.m.

On Tuesday, Feb. 26 the San Juan County Council is conducting a public hearing to hear testimony on whether to proceed with the condemnation of lands owned by John Domanic along the proposed road improvement project at 11 a.m. at the Lopez Center for Community and the Arts.

Three public meetings have been held in the past two years addressing such concerns as the width of the new road to safely carry truck traffic, bike lanes and acquiring right-of-way. The most controversial concern has been acquiring the right-of-away between the sharp curves located about half-way owned by Domanic along the proposed route where there is a stand of mature trees located near the roadway.

Domanic has raised much concern about the impact to his mature trees and has been reluctant to sell his land for the right-of-way. In the event that negotiations to purchase the right-of-way are unsuccessful, the county council can authorize the acquisition of the right-of-way through condemnation procedures.

To receive public funding, the road must have a paved surface be 28 feet wide to allow for 10 foot-wide lanes and have four foot shoulders from mile-post 1.1 to 2.1 (the start of the sharp curves to Hummel Lake Rd.) An additional eight feet on either side of the paved surface is recommended for drainage, future construction, future utilities and to provide a clear-zone. The County is proposing a 60-foot right-of-way.

According to the minutes of the Feb. 2006 public meeting, the county indicated Domanic’s trees could be saved if a drainage pipe were installed in front of his property rather than a ditch. In Nov. 2006, the county indicated that a guardrail would be needed in front of Domanic’s trees to provide a clear-zone requirement — but stated that the public was opposed to a guardrail. By March 2007, the design of the road was moved two feet south in attempt to design around the trees. Domanic maintains that the county is trying to acquire the land where his trees are located with a view to cutting them down.

For more information contact Project Manager Dan Vekved at 370-0504 or County Engineer John Van Lund at 370-0510 or email