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Editorial: Land use issue gets hot again
Land use controversies in Island County were plentiful for years until the Comprehensive Plan required by the state Growth Management Act was finally adopted in 1998.
Since then, its been pretty quiet except for occasional court disputes. But heated public discussion is sure to erupt again Tuesday, May 24, when the Coupeville Elementary School multi-purpose room is expected to be packed with people concerned about new rules that will apply to farmers and even gardeners whose property is zoned rural and includes small wetland areas.
County government has heated the situation by blaming the impending rule changes on the Whidbey Environmental Action Network, whose arguments regarding wetlands prevailed in court. It would be more appropriate to blame the judges or even Island County itself for presenting a weak case, rather than the more politically convenient WEAN. Fortunately, islanders are rational folks so dont expect tar and feathers to be brought to the meeting, despite the countys best rabble rousing efforts.
Tempers will be quickly defused if the county states the obvious: We all want small farmers and gardeners to continue their activities in an affordable and environmentally healthy way, and well work together to make sure that happens.
Nevertheless, it promises to be a memorable meeting. It starts at 7 p.m.