Forest practices code changes head to board

Island County Planning Commission voted Monday to amend code related to forest practices in response to a settlement agreement filed with the Whidbey Island Environmental Action Network.

County planning staff will take the amendments to the Board of County Commissioners for final approval.

The public hearing on the proposed amendments that were brought forward by planning staff and the prosecuting attorney’s office started on Jan. 22 but had to be carried over to the next meeting on Feb. 12 to be completed. Many of the changes made at both meetings to the original amendments were related to wording, but the commission also wanted to require the county to record a notice if a property has a moratorium on development.

When a property is logged under a non-conversion permit, there is a six-year moratorium on development. The county and state used to require a record of properties under this permit but stopped doing so when the state no longer mandated it in 2007.

Staff said because logging permits are issued through the Department of Natural Resources, the county has not had a process in place to make such a record.

“The county would be inserting itself into a process, potentially exposing it to liability without (state) statute requiring it,” said Planning Director Hiller West at the meeting.

Steve Erickson, of WEAN, disagreed with staff’s assessment.

“The county is patently involved,” he said of the process.

Erickson said it might involve more work, but that it would be worth it for consumer protection of those who might purchase these properties without knowing it was logged under a non-conversion permit.

“It’s just a penny-wise pound-foolish thing not do this,” he said.

Commissioner Margaret Atwood suggested that the county’s assessor’s office receive a report from DNR of properties under moratoriums, so the information could be added to the properties’ tax record.

“I’m not suggesting a new procedure by the planning department or the public works department,” she said at the meeting. “I am simply asking to research if sharing information from the DNR would help the assessor note that in the tax record, which would go a long way to both seller and buyer confrontation around not knowing.”

Erickson said in an interview he thought Atwood had a good idea if it is implemented.

“The devil’s in the details here whether the county assessor is willing to do that or not,” he said.

The commission voted to add language the code’s “findings of fact” that directs West to meet with the assessor’s office and determine the feasibility of implementing Atwood’s idea.

Staff plans to take the proposed amendments to the Board of County Commissioners’ work session meeting on Feb. 21.

More in News

Prosecutor declines to charge Langley police chief with crime

The Island County prosecutor won’t charge Langley Police Chief David Marks with… Continue reading

Registration open for returning students at SVC

Registration for returning students is underway for summer and fall quarters at… Continue reading

Oak Harbor FamilyCare Physical Therapy becomes NorthSound Physical Therapy.

On June 1, Oak Harbor FamilyCare Physical Therapy officially becomes “NorthSound Physical… Continue reading

Naval Air Station Whidbey Island open house

Naval Air Station Whidbey Island will host its annual open house for… Continue reading

Whidbey Nonprofit Gifts Funds to Local Volunteer Organizations and Lighthouses

The Lighthouse Environmental Programs, or LEP, nonprofit group of Whidbey continues to… Continue reading

Art school hosting presentation by National Geographic photographer

Renowned photographer Sam Abell will give a lecture and photo presentation at… Continue reading

Oak Harbor Council creates taxing district to fund roadwork

Oak Harbor City Council adopted an ordinance that should help the city… Continue reading

Bench will be dedicated to longtime Oak Harbor leader

Kiwanis Club of Oak Harbor and the Oak Harbor School District will… Continue reading

Photo by Maria Matson/Whidbey News-Times
                                Janelle Solomon, 12, from the Lummi Nation’s Ultimate Warrior Canoe Club carries a canoe along with Regina Miller, who is about to participate in the Woman’s Singles races. See the story on page A9 of today’s Whidbey News-Times.
Water Fest draws up to 4,000 people

Bead by bead, three-and-a-half year old Ezra Malloy strung together a colorful… Continue reading

Most Read