Journal of the San Juans, March 05, 2014
March 05, 2014 edition of the Journal of the San Juans
Passages Auto aficionado, host extraordinaire, Neil Tarte: 1927-2014 Daylight Savings Time to spring forward; set clocks one hour ahead, this Sunday, March 9 PAGE 4 Editorial On March 12, lunch will be the important meal of the day; attend ‘March for Meals’ at the Mullis Ctr. PAGE 7 Journal The 75¢ Wednesday, March 5, 2014 Vol. 107 Issue 10 of the San Juan Islands www.sanjuanjournal.com Council readies to back CAO Tangled up over tax breaks Legal challenge to newly revised landuse rules could follow By Steve Wehrly Journal reporter By Steve Wehrly Journal reporter Another chapter in the seemingly unending Critical Areas Ordinance update process is reaching a conclusion. The County Council was scheduled to complete the current installment at a March 5 special meeting. But this chapter is far from the end of the story. At a Feb. 25 public hearing, the Council considered 26 amendments to three of four critical areas ordinances originally passed in late 2012, which were intended to bring the environmental and construction permitting regulations into compliance with the state Growth Management Act. “All of us have reservations about the CAO, but we have worked together and we have been able to approve options provided by the planning commission that will put the county in compliance,” Council Chairman Rick Hughes said. An “update” of four critical areas regulations was originally required by the GMA to be completed by 2006, but procedural and substantive impediments delayed completion until 2012. The council’s 2012 enactments were then appealed to the Growth See CAO, Page 3 Journal photo / Steve Wehrly A newly contoured curb at the corner of Blair Avenue and Spring Street helps San Juan Island’s Aaron D’Errico navigate the streets of Friday Harbor. Safe passage through town Clunky curbs prove no match for Friday Harbor artist By Steve Wehrly Journal reporter Sometimes you don’t have to fight city hall to get things done. All Aaron D’Errico had to do was ask. At D’Errico’s urging, Town of Friday Harbor Administrator Duncan Wilson agreed to build a couple of ramps on downtown sidewalks to help himself and others with mobility challenges—like mothers pushing strollers, seniors and bicyclists— get across Spring Street. D’Errico has been maneuvering his motorized wheelchair around Friday Harbor since he was a kid, and he hasn’t let cerebral palsy or even getting run over by a truck in front of the Palace theater in 2011 stop him from getting things done for himself and others. Several years ago, he was instrumental in getting stop signs put in at Second and Guard streets after almost getting hit while crossing the street in front of the community theatre. “People here and across the country have helped me,” D’Errico said, noting it took little effort to convince Wilson and Mayor Carrie Lacher to cut four curbs and install ramps at two Spring Street intersections in downtown Friday Harbor. “I’m very grateful for that help and it makes me want to help others however I can.” D’Errico knows how those ramps will help a lot of people in addition to himself. While visiting the ramp location recently for photos, Aaron was pleased when a senior with a walker and a family with a stroller used the ramps within five minutes. “All I had to do was call Mr. Wilson and explain the situation,” he said. “Before I knew it, it was done.” Wilson said he knew immediately the location D’Errico was talking about when he called a couple of weeks ago. “I love it when things happen the way they’re supposed to,” he said. “Those curbs at the Spring Street, Argyle Street “Y” and a block west at Caines Street, near the Presbyterian Church, are difficult for a lot of mobility-impaired people. See PASSAGE, Page 5 2011 Special Award; Second Place: General Excellence from the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association Four property tax breaks for agricultural, timber and “open open space” have recently become an issue for voters, the County Council, San Juan County Assessor Charles Zalmanek and the Washington State legislature. The tax breaks are important to the property owners, especially the growing number of small farmers in the county trying to make a living from agriculture or forestry. Both the assessor and the county council are clear that they See BREAKS, Page 5 Contribute d photo / Robert Contribute d photo / Steve Harrison Horn Contribute d photo / Benjamin Edwards A sup Journal of the San Juan Isla plement to the nds • Islands ’ Sounder • Islands’ We ekly Wedding section Our 8-page pull-out section, offers ideas for an ideal island wedding.