Intervention allowed in Crockett barn appeal

There was a successful intervention in the Island County commissioners’ meeting Monday afternoon. South Whidbey attorney Douglas Kelly, on behalf of Central Whidbey couple James Moore and Sue Symons, filed a motion to intervene in Paula Spina’s closed record appeal hearing scheduled to go before the commissioners Oct. 4.

This summer, Island County Hearing Examiner Michael Bobbink granted, with conditions, Spina’s request to turn the historic Crockett Farm barn on Central Whidbey into “a rural event center” under county code. Spina is appealing the conditions, which include a limit on the number of events allowed a year and a 10 p.m. curfew on parties at the barn.

Moore and Symons are among the many neighbors who opposed the designation of the barn as a rural event center, citing the noise of events, the danger of increased traffic on county roads and other concerns. They filed the motion to intervene so that they, or their attorney, can speak at the appeal hearing, along with Spina and a representative of the county planning department.

After a brief discussion, the three commissioners unanimously granted the motion to intervene. Commissioner John Dean pointed out that it’s a closed record appeal, which means nobody can introduce any new information about the issue.

After the vote, Commissioner Helen Price Johnson disclosed that she has received campaign donations from individuals involved in the appeal. But she stressed that her decisions in the matter “will in no way be affected” by the donations.

Likewise, Commissioner Angie Homola said she’s received donations from at least one person associated with the appeal, but she said it won’t affect her judgement either.

“If I had even the slightest concern about the ethical issues I would step down,” she said.

According to the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission website, Price Johnson received $2,000 from Spina and $100 from James Moore and Sun Symons in the last election. Homola received $3,500 from Spina in the last election.

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