Letters to the Editor

Development: County policy needs changing

Your May 26 editorial provides solid arguments for revisiting the Conservation Futures Fund “equalization policy.” The intent of the policy is to ensure each Commissioner District gets equal amount of funding for conservation projects, despite differences in land areas and other factors.

Until North Whidbey spends its fair share, other districts have to wait their turn. Interestingly enough, the commissioners did not receive an application for a single project on North Whidbey this year. Their decision to deny the only applicant because of the project location, sends out a clear message that conservation projects in other districts cannot be considered. This also tells me the policy is not in the best interest of Island County citizens.

If we continue to fund by district, we could potentially lose valuable lands while we wait for a district to spend its allotment. I encourage the commissioners to change the policy to spend funds based on desired open space and conservation criteria that provides the highest public benefit. By using effective criteria to determine how to best spend Conservation Futures Funds (instead of political boundaries), “equalization” will happen naturally. In the meantime, re-open the application process to all districts so that valuable conservation projects like Krueger Farm can be considered.

Donna Keeler


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