Letters to the Editor

Barn detractors are frequent users

Although I admire the passion in her letter to the editor (Whidbey News-Times, March 17), Ann Gerike has been misled.

First, the real hypocrisy. The primary opponents of community events at the Crockett Farm, James Moore and Sue Symons (Coupeville Arts Center executive director), argue that events destroy rural tranquility. Yet Moore wanted to buy the Crockett barn for his own events. He couldn’t, because he only wanted the barn not the entire historic property. Since 2006, Moore, Symons and the Arts Center have held nine events at the farm and attended many more. They wanted to use the barn again this August. While decrying events at the farm, they have been its most frequent users.

As for my “public attack” on Ian Jefferds, it never happened. I was one member of the Ebey’s Historic Review Committee whose job it was to make sure the Jefferds’ plans complied with Reserve ordinances. The HRC also tried to convince the Jefferds not to demolish the historic Samuel Crockett house. After a building permit was “mistakenly” issued for a non-complying structure, the HRC unanimously sought its rescission. James Moore as the chairman of the HRC appointed me lead, but it was an HRC action and the dispute was with county government not the Jefferds.

The HRC was trying to assure that the Jefferds’ house plans complied with the same county ordinances everyone else has to follow. Nobody tried to prevent the Jefferds from building on their property. When the HRC couldn’t get the permit rescinded, and the demolition of the Samuel Crockett house seemed a certainty, I put my money where my mouth was and with the Pickard family purchased it from the Jefferds.

What we’re doing today is the same. Events have been held at the farm since 1985. It was only in December 2007 that county government required a permit. Although we never wanted this permit, we applied for it so that we could continue hosting events and using the barn to help pay for its own preservation. We are trying to preserve our rural and cultural heritage, not destroy it.

In reality it is the dividing of farmland for housing developments that is destroying the rural character, not the use and preservation of historic structures. Those are the facts Ann. You don’t have to rely only upon what you read in the newspapers; you can check out the HRC records and find the truth for yourself.

Paula Spina

Crockett Farm

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