Friday, May 9, 2008

The Southern Residents Return!

This morning as I arrived home from a grueling workout- something caught my eye offshore in the water.  I hastily made my way into the driveway and ran upstairs to the telescope and found...a whale!!!  As I am trying to figure out what type of whale, one of my dear friends (a whale watch operator) happened to call. I excitedly told him I had found a whale- and sure enough- within a few minutes I could tell it was an the question this a lone transient or the first of a pod of residents!!!  

Sure enough, J pod has returned!!! As a watched, I began to revel in the open saddle patches which could only mean resident whales- and then sure enough, I get a quick view of Keet in my finder and soon thereafter, family members too!

But more importantly, this just in!!!

Citizens File Petition to Place County in GMA Invalidity
posted 05/09/2008
PRESS RELEASE: On May 7, 2008 citizens filed a petition with the Western Washington Growth Management Hearings Board seeking to have a finding of invalidity against San Juan County for noncompliance with the Growth Management Act concerning sewer service in Eastsound on Orcas Island. The named petitioner is Stephen F. Ludwig, an Orcas resident, and the petition filing is signed by Dorothy Austin.

A finding of invalidity would mean the county would be prohibited from issuing building permits, at a minimum within the Eastsound Urban Growth Area. The petition alleges that the county has allowed urban development in Eastsound without completing a plan to ensure protection of public health and specifically failing to successfully negotiate an agreement with Eastsound Sewer and Water District to guarantee sewer service in the Eastsound UGA.

"The County recognizes the importance of adequate sewer service in the Eastsound UGA and has worked earnestly to achieve this and comply with the Western Washington Growth Management Hearings Board orders," said Ron Henrickson, Director of Community Development & Planning for San Juan County. "This has been a difficult process, because – as the petitioners noted – sewer service is provided by an independent public utility."

In negotiations with the County last year, ESWD committed to provide a sewer plan by March 30, 2008. As of the date of the petition the County had not received the plan, but the Utility has assured San Juan County that the document will be delivered within the next few days. Howie Rosenfeld, Chair of the San Juan County Council said, "An order of invalidity would have far-reaching economic and personal impacts on Eastsound and the County as a whole. The County is committed to doing everything within our purview to address the concerns of the Hearings Board and the sentiments expressed by the petitioners."

Henrickson said that the County will file a response to the petition within several days of receiving the promised document from the ESWD. "If the plan is satisfactory, we would anticipate that the Hearings Board will allow us enough additional time to incorporate the sewer plan into County's Comprehensive Plan, which should bring us into compliance relative to this item," he said. Rosenfeld added, "GMA compliance should be of concern to all citizens and the Council considers it one of the county's top priorities."

A copy of the petition is available at

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