Though unable to attend the meeting at the barn about preserving the Sam Crockett house, we did talk with some of those present to hear how it went. It seems obvious that the community wants to support the preservation of Ebey’s Reserve and does not want to see the Crockett House destroyed.
Although the home the Jefferds, the current owner, wish to build may be a lovely plan, it does not replace or substitute for the history of the community of Coupeville. Although we can understand the desire to “not live in an old house anymore,” as the Whidbey News-Times quoted Jefferds as saying, that can’t be a guiding principle regarding the preservation of historic buildings. No matter how nice the new house would be for his family, is it worth destroying an important part of the history of Ebey’s Reserve?
Using a legal precedent, in fact, stating that example in the first article in the newspaper, shows a surprising amount of forethought on the part of the county. The county is clearly, so far, on the side of the Jefferds and their illegal permit to build a house that the community is asking them not to build. The county should reconsider this position and stand for the Reserve and the community.
We fail to see how the precedent the county uses as the reason that they cannot revoke the permit is relevant to the lovely historic Crockett house on Wanamaker Road. We believe that the bill Congress passed in 1978 creating Ebey’s Landing as a National Historic Reserve, as well as the House bill 6367 passed in 2004 protecting Ebey’s Landing from reckless growth, supports our position. Bill 6367 is intended to “preserve and protect a rural community which provides an unbroken historical record from nineteenth century exploration and settlement in (the) Puget Sound to the present time.”
This history is lost if anyone who doesn’t like their historical house anymore can just tear it down, regardless of the sentiment of the community. Coupeville enjoys a special place in the history of Washington. The state and federal government have made this clear in regards to the preservation of Ebey’s Landing and the historic farming and rural landscape of Coupeville. We should not need to remind the county, county commissioners and planners of this. If County Planning and Development Director, Jeff Tate, actually did in fact say he would not revoke the permit even if it were to allow a 14-floor condo tower, he should be removed from his position, as he clearly has no respect for the landscape of the community he is in.
Island County should revoke the permit, begin a fundraising campaign to support the effort, if they fear legal action and stop worming in the interests of a single family. They would find themselves supported by hundreds of local people. Many of the people of Coupeville have asked for this to happen, only to encounter deaf ears and inaction. Who is the county working for? And why?