Letters to the Editor

Feedback: County protects rural rights

Being concerned about the long-term interests of the citizens of Island County, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the Island County Commissioners. Over the years, they have endured substantial non-productive input from a number of activists.

An example of this kind of “input,” is a recent petition by WEAN (Whidbey Environmental Action Network). This petition, which WEAN members themselves admit is a “blunt tool,” would eliminate many rights to farm in Island County. Presently, Island County has an exemption from the critical lands ordinance for on-going agricultural activities. WEAN’s petition asks that the Western Washington Growth (Management) Hearings Board invalidate this exemption in all zones. If this sounds crazy, it is!

It should be obvious that granting this petition and regulations consistent with such a petition would, on many properties, do little or nothing to solve real environmental problems. Equally apparent is the impact there would be on property owners’ rights and the ability to farm in a reasonable and productive manner.

Contrastingly, the Island County Commissioners have had regulations for farming called Best Management Practices or BMP’s. The purpose of these regulations is to appropriately safeguard the environment, while allowing reasonable use for farming on rural lands.

How many hours and tax dollars must be wasted protecting our rights from the zealous approach of certain activists?

Thank you Island County Commissioners for seeking to defend citizens’ rights, as guaranteed both under the United States Constitution and the Washington State Constitution. Thank you for seeking integrity and balance in regards to environmental protection and the rights of rural landowners.

Fred E. Frei Jr.


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