HEAR YE, HEAR YE, One More Time; There is Not a Wetland on Emerson’s Property and There Never Has Been One

Well here we go again with more information, all from Island County records again proving that there is not now nor never has been a wetland on Emerson’s property

A February 6 Public Documents Request regarding the short plat division of the parcels surrounding the Emerson’s home  and Emerson’s  parcel indicated the following: 

Official county records confirmed NO WETLANDS or Sensitive lands existed during the original development of that area in 1994.

Additionally, the two adjacent properties to the north of Emerson’s property had new homes built in 2007 and on the upper lot and the property immediately to the rear of Emerson’s property which is actually closer to County’s PHONY WETLAND/ STREAM where another new building was put up in 2010 showed “NO WETLANDS” .

All of these other  properties had their Building Permits approved by  County Planning  with NO WETLAND indications, despite being closer to the bogus wetland County claims exists on Emerson’s property. 

Planning Director Bob Pederson, his enforcers, probably other Planning Department staff members, Commissioners Homola and Price-Johnson, State Department of Ecology and Steve Erickson of WEAN, who provided Planning staff his wetlands critique of  Emerson’s  wetland,  all obviously ignored  these documents in County’s record files 

County even decided to challenge the documented facts stating  no wetlands existed in a report  prepared  for Emersons by a state Certified and licensed Hydrogeologist Engineering Geologist, Steven Nuegebauer of the SNR Company

Pederson didn’t like the SNR Company report and he ordered Emersons provide a peer review for a second opinion report which they did 

That report agreed with all the findings in the SNR Company, Nuegebauer report

Over 2 years have now passed and Pederson still demands  Emersons resolve the wetland problems on their property before he will release the  approved building  permit

Our review  of  County documents  included   letters   from Pederson  but  it was not clear if  his “fines” ended with the  $37,500 or if  the  $500/day  was  still  being accessed

We  found only  letters  from Pederson demanding  Emerson’s  pay  fines  and requesting authorization, BUTthere were NO LEGAL documents authorizing Pederson’s  demands  for  payment or placing a lien on their property
Nothing has been done to by  Pederson try to resolve this issue  and  Emersons remain in limbo trying to figure out what County’s next move will be; one way or another

Pederson recently stated to Emersons’ attorney, Justin Park,  “…as to your belief that no wetland exists, this question can be easily answered by a site assessment performed in accordance with accepted methodologyI do not see any benefit to issuing a final decision unless the wetland and stream questions are first resolved” 

What’s Pederson going to do now that Island County’s own records prove there are no wetlands on or near the Emerson’s property.

The entire wetland fiasco has been a bogus political sham that’s cost the Emersons thousands of dollars and wasted staff hours and tax dollars of County resources 

To me that ?borders? on violations of:

RCW 42.20.040 False Report, 

RCW 42.20.050, Public officer making false certificate, and/or

 RCW.20.100, Failure of duty by a public officer, a misdemeanor??? 

Something is rotten in Coupeville and it’s called Island County Planning Department 


Pederson’s plan has been, “If you try and don’t succeed, cheat. Repeat until caught. Then lie”…



  1. Bill,
    Additionally,the “Official Maps” of “Island County Wetlands and Critical Areas” of 2008 (none published later) also indicate no Wetlands/Streams/Creeks/Rivers/Waterfalls/Lakes/Oceans/Puddles… are present for at least 1/2 mile away.

    1. Right Ken and Justin Cravin, Pederson’s enforcer who approved the building permit and found no wetland on your nearest neighbor’s property is the wizard who documented the wetland on your property
      DUH??? “Where there’s a will; there’s a way”

  2. So, basically, all those allegations about wetland and stream violations by the Emersons were fabricated, since the subject wetlands and streams themselves were fabricated, so whenever Pederson et al say things like “I do not see any benefit to issuing a final decision unless the wetland and stream questions are first resolved” they are simply layering on another layer of fantasy to the entire scenario.

    It appears to be a marvelously deliciously engineered example of circular logic that leads nowhere for as long as the fabrications and fantasies about wetland and streams can be maintained.

    1. “… for as long as the fabrications and fantasies about wetland and streams can be maintained.”
      Right Bill, and when their games end I bet the risk pool will part with some bucks
      Too bad that money can’t come from Pederson, HPJ and Homalone’s pockets
      I really resent it when political animals pull crap like this and the taxpayers end up paying
      Look at the Indian remains fiasco on Piomer Blvd in OH and costs nearing $4 mil+ all because of decisions to ignore facts
      You, I, and most of us should have been politicains instead of working in positions where our mistakes cost us our money, jobs, reputations and much more

      1. We’re looking at a larger potiental expense to the county in legal fees settling the Emerson issue; that should never have been in the first place.
        My guess is that Pederson will do anything he has to, to save his hide, and will eventually end up throwing a couple of county officials under the bus.
        It will be interesting.
        Another political distraction from essential County business.

        1. Larry. Again this time the risk pool will be involved and unlike the first time when Emerson’s lawyer was tricked into not presenting any of the evidence it will not be repeated. Remember Judge Hancocks final decision only stated,
          ” 1. “The court notes, in passing, that presumably nothing would prevent the planning director from voluntarily reconsidering certain of his findings and/or conclusions based on the receipt of additional information, but that is beyond the scope of the issues in this case.”
          2. “Nevertheless, the court declines to find that the action as a whole was frivolous and advanced without reasonable cause, and therefore the motion for attorney fees under RCW 4.84.185 is denied.”

          Banks will probably be in the bleachers on this one. The trial will not be in Island County. It will be in another county’s court based on violation of state and federal laws
          Hancock never heard any of the depositions or saw any of evidence/documents discussed in various IslandPolitics articles over the past 2+ years
          All the public ever heard was Price-Johnson and Homola chanting “pay your finss” which was just more of the sham that started in August 2008

          This time all the evidence will be heard by the courts and the result will, as you said, “… a larger potiental expense to the county in legal fees”

          From the tone of County documents we obtained via Freedom of Information requests, my bet is the risk pool lawyers are already involved with Emersons legal team, aka $$$
          If /when the Emersons finally get their day in court and all of the evidence is presented, there are a lot of costs etc the Emersons incurred that need to be recovered; thanks to Pederson, Dean, Price-Johnson, Homola and a few others that felt they should stick their noses into supporting County in this fiasco
          Pederson keeps insisting that he needs Department of Ecology to visit Emersons site to evaluate the accuracy of the Reports Emersons presented Pederson should read the last sentence in the response Ecology sent him when he first requested their help which in effect stated they were not staffed to reverse Nuegebauer and Kilduf’s reports, etc

          1. The first time Pederson involved DOE was when he requested their evaluation of Nuegebauer’s report
            In that request he implied it was just a routine request that had already been setteled locally
            When Ecology realized that NO court decision had been issued and that the owner was an Island Counry County Commissioner, they were not pleased; they knew they had been “used” by Pederson and apologized to Commissioner Emerson

            Jeannie Summerhays, Regional Director , DOE, Northwest Region Office said in the last paragraph of their response to Pederson
            “The only way for Ecology to make a final wetland determination is to visit the property and properly administer the 1987 Manual and WMVC as required by state and Federal law.
            Ecology can render our best professional judgment on whether or not the drainage feature on the property is a stream according to the County’s and State’s definition, but the final determination would need to be made by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife”

            Why do you think Pederson is still beating a dead horse with his demand that Department of Ecology to visit Emersons site to evaluate the accuracy of reports prepared for Emersons by two respected, certified and licensed Hydrogeologist/Engineering Geologist professionals before he will consider releasing the approved Building Permit and stop his actions re fines and liens?

    2. BillB,
      As a homework assignment, I was wondering if you can dissect and clarify the following section of IC code from the Critical Areas Ordinance Section 17.02A-090 C. Wetland Identification-page 823?

      What I woild like is another (correct) interpretation of Items 2 and 3. It seems to me that The planning director is completely overstepping his authority when he “orders” an “owner or applicant” to provide a “Wetland Report”. Item 2 seems to clearly indicate that it is the owner or applicants option to decide when or if a wetland report will be provided other than the field indicators worksheet. In a nutshell, I don’t see anywhere, in this code, where the planning director can order anything, especially where it would have cost to the owner or applicant.
      Item 3 clearly has the term “other than” as a very important limitation to what needs to be provided. What do you think?

      C. Wetland Identification
      1. The Planning Director shall determine Wetland Type, location and Classification for
      any Development Proposal on a Lot that contains or is affected by a Wetland or
      Wetland Buffer. This determination will use information provided to the County
      through the Field Indicators Worksheet contained in the Wetland Identification Guide
      or a Wetland Report. As provided herein, except for activities and uses addressed in
      ICC 17.02A.060, a Worksheet shall be required for all Development Proposals.
      2. Wetland Identification Guide. The purpose of the County’s Wetland Identification
      Guide is to assist an owner and/or an applicant in the identification of Wetlands.
      Generally, the Field Indicators Worksheet shall be submitted with all Development
      Proposals regardless of whether the Lot may contain or be affected by a Wetland or
      Wetland Buffer. For Single Family Dwellings or Accessory Uses and Structures for
      Single Family Dwellings, the owner or applicant shall have the option of submitting a
      Wetland Report instead of the Field Indicators Worksheet.
      3. Wetland Report. A Wetland Report shall be submitted for all Development
      Proposals, other than Building Permits for Single Family Dwellings or Accessory
      Uses and Structures for Single Family Dwellings, when the Development Proposal is
      located on a Lot that contains or is affected by a Wetland or Wetland Buffer. A
      Wetland Report will also be required for any request to modify a required Wetland
      Buffer. Wetland Reports shall be prepared by a Wetland Professional.

  3. What was found in the document request for lien and fine information on the Emersons? Were fines actually levied? I understand that there is not lien on the property for those fines if they do exist.

    Was any new inormation found in the doc request?

    1. A quick check of the Island County grantor/grantee index showed no liens against the Emersons.
      If it were me I would want a lien filed, at least then there would be a chance at adjudication.
      My wish is to see the kind of positive energy we saw at the city council meeting extended to the reelection of Commissioner Emerson.

      1. When and if all the facts of the Emerson case ever come to light it is probably going to shock the socks off of all of us. We at IP have said all along this was a political attack on an opponent that was designed to marginalize another sitting Island County Commissioner. It was a vicious, planned attack by political opponents.
        It is certainly going to be interesting to see how this is resolved. The first of March is a very short time away and it does not appear that Helen Johnson as Chair has taken any steps to remedy or help this come to a conclusion. Of course we don’t know what is going on behind the scenes. I don’t even know if they have had an executive session since Jill has come on board have they? Everything else is public so what IS going on?

    2. Cliff, the documents provided indicated Pederson several times requested approvals to force collection of fines from Emersons. Evidence regarding the $500/day fine was conflicting because it was sometimes there and other documents indicated the $500 was not continued; the records are very confusing.

      No evidence was found that any of Pederson’s requests to commissioners or others were ever approved; hence no legal authorization to collect fines or place a lien on their property exist

      From the list of 10 docs that I was not allowed to see due to various confidential protections, it caused me to feel Pederson’s attempts to collect from Emersons are still active

      Of greater concern is that the first communication dated Oct 27, 2012 was from Banks to Pederson, Homola and Price-Johnson; not Commissioner Emerson
      nor was Emerson involved in any of the other 9 documents referenced that occurred ending Nov 20 2012

      There was no evidence of Executive sessions or opportunities for Emerson to be involved or recuse herself

      Pederson is an intelligent person and it’s hard to believe that all of his actions starting in August 2008, were a result of him being a hateful vindictive person. The Emerson wetland sham had few if any personal gains for Pederson
      The only reason I can imagine for his actions was that his motivation came from others who had much to lose if the Emerson Wetland action ended with a decision that was not in their favor

      1. I also did not get the impression that Pederson is some sort of eco-extremist during my 15 minute meeting with him a few years ago.
        Regardless of any motive it’s all about the cover up now.

        How are referrals made to the state attorney general for potential criminal prosecution and to the US attorney as well? Is there a citizen complaint process or does it need to come from law enforcement?

        I will attempt to research this myself but sometimes my 70 hour a week job gets in the way.

        1. Jason, Yes there is a formal complaint and procedure outlined online at:

          Some of us discussed that move but feel right now it better to let Emersons legal team do heir thing and one way or another it will resolve the Pederson actions and result in total satisfaction regardless if Emersons initiate the suit or file a counter suit if County decides to try to collect fines and place a lien on their property
          Which ever, part of the disclosure and court’s decisioms from those actions should automatically produce hard evidence for criminal actions

          1. I also feel that the ball is with the Emersons and any decision they make I will respect.
            If and when it goes the the Ag’s office it is no longer “Emerson vs Island County Planning et al.” is becomes “The People of the State of Washington vs …”.
            I do believe criminal charges to be appropriate since the citizens have been damaged also.

  4. Roger that Jason, at the very minimum. I recall that one minor indiscretion by Larry Kwarsick resulted in a fine, loss of right to hold office, and incarceration. It seems in fairness that the crimes of conspiracy, fraud, character assassination by Pederson and possibly by up to three elected stooges should result in more severe penalties in addition to awards of treble civil damages and plaintiff costs. For obvious reason such a complaint and trial should be conducted outside of Island County.

  5. Due to the Emerson case, our building permit is also being held up now for the 9th month so that we can resolve our little pond issue and pay substantial fines. We also have docs showing no wetlands, and have submitted ecological reports proving such, with Planning disputing the evidence and experts in the reports, and pushing for punishments. What the heck? They explained the 6 month delay of answering phone calls and emails was all due to the delays the Emerson case caused them. We would like to add our name to lawsuit. Our building permit will not be allowed until the Emerson case is won or lost. We refuse to pay another dollar for another report or expert to satisfy Planning, who will dispute it anyway. Where do we sign up?

    1. Ron,

      I strongly encourage you to forward information from your case to Bill as he is very knowledgeable about these abuses.

      1. Thanks for the compliment Jason, but a lot of my knowledge results from activities with CAPR, Citizens Alliance for Property Rights; they are the real movers and shakers
        I am only one of many workers in this cause
        They are a great source of help
        I was involved in starting the Island County Chapter with Ken Emerson, Ken Wolf and a couple others a few years ago


        1. Thanks for the link Bill. Looks to be an group I can align myself with. Sent away my membership application and check today.
          What we have now are really no rights at all with our property, only the “right” to pay the taxes in full. Otherwise we can only buy or lease “permissions” from the gov.
          I would like to see a move to an allodial title system.

          1. Because of my age (79) I don’t travel as much as I’d like to be an active member. I am a “taker” member.
            I read everything I can on the CAPR home site and their blog and everytime I see something relating to Island County, I dig deeper and store a lot of that info on my computer files
            There’s another good source for property rights info; National Association of Rural Landowners http://www.narlo.org/

            I think getting on their mailing list is free
            They sell one of the most intimidating signs I ever saw that prevents ALL government people from trespassing on my property
            I have one at the entrance to my drive and observed County employees at the entrance looking and talking on their cell phones but never once has any tried to enter my drive

            Every Sunday Morning I get an Email from them (Ron Ewart) loaded with thought provoking information
            You might be interested in this group for Property Rights information to keep Island County’s Politicians from personally interpreting law for their political or financial gain

    2. Ron,
      Here is a shocker, IC is lying to you. There is no ‘Emerson case”. We are waiting for them to start one. As soon as that happens, there will be a case that should have statewide ramifications. In the meantime, why don’t you ask Pedersen for access to the rules, policies, credentials, training and procedures for enforcement actions or fines. Also ask, how IC assures no discrimination in their actions. You will be surprised at the answers. Or you should be.

  6. Ron Hetzel, We are working on other Planning Department abuse cases similar to yours; one is very close to your location
    Please contact me
    I need copies from you of all documents relating to your specific case
    I will also make sure Commissioner Emerson and other involved parties know the details of your situation
    Thanks Bill

    1. Ron,…another thought:
      If making copies is a problem for you, I am only a couple miles from you ~3 blocks from East fence of old Seaplane Base/Polnell Shores
      I have a copier and will copy them for you or, you or your wife are welcome here and copy them if you don’t want them out of your posession

    2. FWIW, Mrs. Hetzel
      If Price-johnson tries to “talk” with you re your letters I suggest, because of her negative acts toward you last time, you state that you’ll not discuss the problem with her.
      Tell her Kelly Emerson is your Commissioner and you will only disuss your complaint with her

      You sent your letters to all three Commissioners because all three Commissioners are responsible for Pederson and his staff’s violations of your property rights that resultied in waste of time and your money….all totally unacceptable

  7. Below is the guiding principal that Bob Pederson claims gives him absolute power in Island County. ICC 16.09.080 – He believes that the rule ends at the first comma of the first sentence and that it applies outside of his office in all of the county.( I have his sworn deposition testimony to this fact) When in reality it is meant for the usual internal controls and office rules. The reality is, there are NO published rules or procedures in place for ANYTHING! and the second part of the sentence (after the comma) doesn’t matter to him.

    Island County Code – 16.09.080 Rules
    The planning director shall establish such rules and procedures as are necessary to assure
    thorough and expeditious dealing with matters properly the concern of the planning department,
    except that such procedure shall not be in contravention of state or county law. The Planning
    Commission shall adopt its own rules and regulations governing the conducting of its internal
    affairs, provided that such rules and regulations shall not be in conflict with state or county law.
    (Ord. P-73-49, December 3, 1973, vol. 14, p. 460)

Comments are closed.