It is time to reign in the county’s Historic Review Committee. I have had to deal with them on several permits. The process is time consuming to say the least. They have been appointed by, the county to do volunteer work which got them off of the planning department’s back. There was an ordinance created to give the HRC something to do rather than bug the county. They basically have nothing better to do than stick their noses into someone else’s business, delaying projects by having only two times a month that they will meet.
They do not even have the ability to interpret the ordinance, an example being they recommended conditional approval of the roofing on a project of mine: “Roofing material must be dark, we give conditional approval of the roof if the material matches the existing house or is darker.”
They cannot make a ruling such as this because it is illegal and not in the ordinance pertaining to where my project is located.
Mr. James S. Moore, committee chairman, signed the document not knowing the ordinance as he should.
The HRC is considering legal action against the county. If it’s court time they seek they should be careful what they wish for. One of these days they are going to delay a project of a magnitude that will be time sensitive, and time is money. Being volunteers, they can be held accountable for time loss; each and every one will be legally responsible and have to defend themselves at their own expense. The county is not responsible for their actions and they are not employees of Island County. The problem is they use county facilities to do their thing so they also involve county employees in distribution of their required data for a permit application at the taxpayers’ expense.
It is time to take a good, hard look at what they are doing and the cost to the taxpayers. Are they competent to interpret the ordinance? We should take a good look at the ordinance itself. Will it stand up in a court of law? To my knowledge it has never been challenged.
I believe that the Ebey’s Reserve boundaries should be changed to apply to what was originally planned. The map of the reserve looks like a quilt. It seems that certain farms are exempt from being in the reserve.
I urge the county commissioners to take a good look at the expense and worth of the Historic Review Committee. I am sure that the county has the ability to enforce the ordinance with the staff they have when a building permit is applied for.
Larry E. Ogle