Letters to the Editor

Feedback: Maybe WEAN’s a scapegoat

Everyone who was at the Tuesday night Island County Planning Board Hearing, regarding how rural lands will be regulated, agrees that the current proposed rules would mean drastic changes in farming practices here. The rules would affect hobby farmers as well as for profit farmers. I went to the meeting feeling like I understood the county’s position. They had made me aware through posted notices, the Whidbey News-Times and personal letter that they were supportive of agriculture in Island County, and that it was the conservation group WEAN that was behind all these new rules.

Now I am not so sure. We must be very careful who we point fingers at and who we criticize. If we are to preserve our current way of life in this beautiful county, we must listen carefully to all sides of the issue. If it is true that the commissioners want to maintain small farms, why was this statement removed from their plan: “Minor or small scale agriculture activities are consistent with rural areas, support rural character, and should be protected and encouraged?” Has WEAN really tried to get a proposal passed by the commissioners that would reduce the minimum size of rural agricultural land to five acres, so that smaller scale farmers can benefit? If so, why haven’t the commissioners agreed to it? Are the commissioners worried about losing property taxes on land that is zoned differently? Is WEAN being made a scapegoat by the commissioners who dragged their feet in planning and now have run out of time?

I don’t know the answers to these questions, but we should all be trying to get to the truth and remembering that there are hidden agendas to consider also.

Pat Lamont

Oak Harbor

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