Letter: Island County Planning staff not doing a good job

Editor,

The Island County Planning staff is currently butchering the Island County zoning codes because of a perception that the codes are hard to understand and read. They are not hard to understand and read if you know how to read code.

During a recent eight-month long battle to get a building permit, I was able to read the code, my attorney was able to read the code, and we eventually proved that the planning officials did not know how to read the code.

Visit this link to another recent case heard by the hearing examiner, where the planning director, building official as well as an assistant DA are chastised for not knowing the code and understanding their responsibilities: www.islandcountywa.gov/Planning/Hearing%20Examiner%20Documents/HE%20Revocation%20of%20Permits%201-3-19%20Hearing.MP3

The real problem with the inconsistent use of code is related to the incompetence of the Island County staff and their inability to understand the fundamentals of reading code.

The commissioners think that having these people who do not know how to read code are the correct folks to rewrite code.

It seems to me if they address the lack of trained staff in the planning department first, that they would almost eliminate all of their confrontations with the public, who seem to know the code better than they do.

They are inadvertently changing a code that was written by expert code writers and disregarding all legislative intent of the original codes.

They are doing this under the guise of a “code clean up” with very little discussion and research of the original legislative intent. This seems to be an under-handed way for the planning department to make the code confusing, and they under estimate the intelligence of the common citizen.

Russell Kuehn

Camano Island

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