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Serving Orcas, Lopez and San Juan County

REAL ESTATE TAB WEDNESDAY, September 18, 2013  VOL. 46, NO. 38  75¢ Monthly special section inside this edition

County grapples with critical areas by SCOTT RASMUSSEN Journal editor

San Juan County will be headed back to the drawing board with its critical areas ordinance. In a decision handed down Sept. 6, the Washington State Growth Management Hearings Board determined that while much of the ordinance satisfies goals of the state Growth Management Act, there remain 10 elements of the revised controversial county CAO that do not comply with state law. From buffers widths to best available science, and from wetland water quality protection to exemptions allowed for utilities in public and private right-of-ways, 10 portions of the CAO will need to be revisited and reconstructed as a result of the Hearings Board ruling. In spite of the shortcomings, Prosecuting Attorney Randy Gaylord said the ruling is a welcomed result. “Overall, this is a positive ruling for the county,” Gaylord said in a press release. “The Growth Board upheld the county’s extraordinary public participation process, the method of identifying and designating critical areas, and the sitespecific approach to calculating buffer sizes.”

The 1990 Growth Management Act and 1998 amendments to the GMA mandated that local governments prepare and periodically review comprehensive plans and development regulations, especially in five designated critical areas. Those areas are specified as aquifer recharge areas, geologically hazardous areas, frequently flooded areas, fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas, and wetlands. The 1998 amendments specified that a “Best Available Science” standard must be incorporated into CAO plans and regulations. Approved by the county council in December, the change in land-use rules initiated through the state-required CAO update have yet to be implemented on the ground. The council in April postponed putting the rules into effect until March 2014 in part because of the complexity of the new set of regulations and pending litigation. Five different groups filed lawsuits contesting various elements of the CAO after the new set of rules were approved by the council. Gaylord noted that those lawsuits, filed by Common Sense Alliance, P.J. Taggares Company,

Michael Bried photo

Boat sinks after ferry collision by CALI BAGBY Staff reporter

A 28-foot sailboat sank after it was struck by the Hyak ferry on Sept. 13. The lone occupant, a man in his mid-60s, was taken to Peace Island Hospital on San Juan Island but did not sustain major injuries. Several eyewitnesses reported that the ferry collided with a sailboat called the Norma Rae. At around 2 p.m, Suzanne Lyons saw the mast of the Norma Rae crack and heard the screeching of the sailboat hitting the side of the ferry. “An older man was sitting on the boat as it was sinking,” said Lyons, who was in her car at the time of the incident. The ferry left Anacortes at 12:35 p.m. and

landed on Lopez at 1:30 p.m. Another witness on the ferry, Michael Bried, said the accident occurred after the boat left Lopez and was heading toward Orcas. “The sailboat was a mile north of Lopez in the middle of the shipping lane,” said Bried. A Fish and Wildlife boat towed the sailboat away, but it later sank in 250 feet of water. “I don’t know why the ferry pilot didn’t see the sailboat,” Bried said. “It was a clear day.” The accident forced the cancellation of the 2:20 p.m. sailing from Orcas to Anacortes. Washington State Ferries representatives could not be reached by this press time. The incident is under investigation by the U.S. Coast Guard.


Islanders never forget 9/11 by CALI BAGBY and COLLEEN ARMSTRONG Staff report

Colleen Smith Armstrong/staff photo

Rich Harvey, Jack Delisle and Pat Ayers ring the bell in honor of those lost on Sept. 11, 2001.

Islanders shed their tears in a silent communion today as they remembered the tragic events of Sept. 11. “I don’t like this day. It hurts and it’s sad,“ said Fire Chief Kevin O’Brien. “Sad for the country and for the world. Sept. 11 changed everything and affects every single person.” It was an emotional day at the Eastsound Fire Hall as policemen, firefighters, community members and students gathered to honor those lost on Sept. 11, 2001. The audience heard from O’Brien, former New Yorker Maura O’Neill, San Juan County Councilman Rick Hughes, new OIFR Chaplain Scott Harris and Undersheriff Bruce Distler, who spoke of recognizing the service that policemen and firefighters provide.

“Please, when you see us, smile, shake our hand and say hi,” Distler said. O’Brien shared how deeply 9/11 affected him personally. “I exercise a little more care and caution,” said O’Brien. “I appreciate my children and this wonderful country we live in.” The event included a performance by Nancy Knapp’s fifth grade students and music by the Orcas Community Band. “We must remember what happened and move forward positively,” said O’Brien. OIFR is working on building a Sept. 11 monument out of a 700-pound steel beam recovered from the World Trade Center. To read personal stories by islanders about how they were affected by Sept. 11, visit www. and click on the news tab.

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Islands' Sounder, September 18, 2013  
Islands' Sounder, September 18, 2013  

September 18, 2013 edition of the Islands' Sounder