A few photos of fun in the island’s first snow PAGE 8
History in the making; San Juan stories online
Congressman Larsen raises questions about Customs at First & Spring
The 75¢ Wednesday, December 25, 2013 Vol. 106 Issue 52
of the San Juan Islands
Top 10 stories of 2013 From failed fiber optics to unprecedented fires, to a mysterious blue-eyed fish emerging from the deep (actually, a shark), there was no shortage of compelling events in 2013. The Journal presents its annual “Top Ten Stories” of the year, a two-part series, beginning with No. 10.
— Colleen Armstrong
Clearcut prompts ‘stop work’ order Mar Vista lands under enforcement cloud By Steve Wehrly Journal reporter
Three-person council takes charge
San Juan County’s legislative branch and executive branch began a new chapter on April 23. Voters backed the reelection bids of three county council incumbents in the first countywide election in seven years. Bob Jarman beat Lovel Pratt to represent District 1, Rick Hughes won for District 2 against Lisa Byers and Jamie Stephens beat Brian McClerren for District 3. The new three-person council was enacted after county charter changes were approved by voters in November. It reduced the size of the council from six elected officials to three, redrew the council legislative districts from six to three, and instituted countywide elections for each of those three newly created council positions. Changes to the charter also turned the three council positions into full-time jobs, eliminated the position of county administrator, and delivered into the hands of the council the responsibility for both legislative duties and day-to-day management of the county. Council members are paid an annual salary of $75,000, plus benefits.
Journal file photos/ Sharalyn Lehman (shark)
Top; an underwater fiber optic cable; below, Downriggers smolders in the aftermath of an Aug. 17 fire; right, scientists examine the corpse of a sixgill shark at Argyle Lagoon June 26.
Film Festival draws enthusiastic crowd Three days. Four venues. Twenty-five films. An ambitious undertaking, to say the least, and scheduled for mid-October as well, sometimes an iffy month, weather-wise, in the San Juans. But in the end, the first-ever Friday Harbor Film Festival:
Stories from the Pacific Rim, proved a smashing success, defying skeptics and demonstrating that both visitors and islanders would turn out in big numbers to take part in a shoulder-season event that captivated their interest and imagination. As many as 1,100 tickets were either sold or donated to volunteers or sponsors. Thirty percent went to people from off-island. Each of the 25 documentaries was aired multiple times over the three days. Many producers and directors were on-hand to talk about their films and answer See TOP TEN, Page 2
An emergency order to “immediately stop all clearing and grading activity” was posted Dec. 17 by the San Juan County Code Enforcement Officer at the False Bay property purchased earlier this year by Dave and Nancy Honeywell. The 40-acre property was formerly the Mar Vista Resort, one of the larger contiguous waterfront properties on Haro Strait on the west side of San Juan Island. The Honeywells, winners of a nine-figure Powerball jackpot in February of this year, purchased the property in early spring. According to an April 15 residential pre-application, the Honeywells intend to build a new home and rehabilitate and remodel some of the former resort cabins and a caretaker house. Some former cabins would be removed and parcel boundaries would apparently have to be changed to conform to current land use code requirements, according to the application. The site visit was conducted in June by Annie Matsumoto-Grah of Community Development and Planning Department, who prepared a three-page report, dated July 1. That report discussed two environmentally sensitive areas on the three parcels comprising the former resort, laying out for the Honeywells various environmental and development restrictions that must be met, including required plans and permits. Because “[t]he shoreline and waters offshore of the parcel contains protected marine habitat areas,” the report asserts that “a full storm water management plan must be submitted” and “[r]
2011 Special Award; Second Place: General Excellence from the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association
emoval of trees within the shoreline jurisdiction area can be done only with a CD&P-approved tree removal plan.” Neither the stormwater management plan nor the tree-removal plan were apparently provided to the county and the state, nor could any other permit applications or documents be located in a search of county databases by the Journal. The emergency order specifies four possible code violations: clearing and grading within the shoreline area without benefit of permits; converting land to a non-forestry use with benefit of an “approved Class IV General Forest Practice Permit that has received SEPA review”; failing to manage shoreline activity to miniSee CLEARCUT, Page 3
2014 Baby Derby More than $500 in prizes await the first baby of the new year