In her New Year 2012 newsletter, Commissioner Emerson gave citizens a warning about a very important land use decision soon to be made.
She explained how this would have given us a way out of the cost associated with the WEAN lawsuit and any others pertaining to AG Critical Areas.
For Island County, “opting in” to the new Ruckelhaus Voluntary Stewardship Program (VSP), would mean the lawsuit goes away.
Any future lawsuits would be defended by the State because they give final blessing.
Commissioner Emerson told the truth on the obligation to the county when she said’
“This would not be an unfunded mandate. We would not be required to begin implementing the plan until we receive funding of $150,000 for the first year, $100,000 for years 2 and 3 and there is no penalty for an early opt out.”
And she spoke frankly on the alternative of not “opting in” for Island County would likely mean defending our current CAO again in higher court. Past Planning staff and commissions spent many many many hours crafting what appears to be a very good and compliant ordinance. But that would be up to a court to decide and you can’t always anticipate a correct outcome.
I posted a story about this on Island Politics at the time: http://www.islandpolitics.org/?p=356
With a standing room only hearing room, and the Camano Annex crowded as well, the commissioners heard testimony by many in support of “opting in” to the VSP.
As should probably have been expected, Commissioner’s Price-Johnson and Homola fell on the side of WEAN.
There was no second to Commissioner Emerson’s motion to “opt in” to the VSP and Island County was headed back into court with WEAN.
Now in the Saturday, August 13, 2013, Whidbey News Times there’s a story headlined “Court Overturns Decision on Island County Growth Management…Emerson was correct
The team of Commissioner’s Price-Johnson and Homola and WEAN, aka Steve Erickson and Marianne Edain had their way and once again regardless of what the majority wanted
The Dynamic Duo also decided to ignore the standing room only citizens in the hearing room, and the crowed Camano Annex; they rejected testimony by the many citizens supporting “opting in” to the VSP
Because of Commissioners Price-Johnson and Homola we the people were the big losers
It’s very sad that they didn’t follow Commissioner Emerson’s recommendation
The political games continue resulting in a waste of resources and tax payer dollars