Decisions based on fear, emotion or irrational caution and few facts are seldom successful, yet that is where we are in the rules being written by County officials and planning staff to regulate property owners in San Juan County.
I found a recent letter (Chance to do an impressive job of CAO, December 27, 2011) that argued that San Juan County must "make global headlines" by enacting a CAO "extreme" in its protections - to be disturbimg in its ignorance of the facts and the law relevant to the question of whether our County ordinances require radical change in order to protect our critical areas.
I am not sure who authored your editorial regarding my concern about a new Critical Areas Ordinance/Shoreline Master Program relegating hundreds of existing island homes into a non-conforming use status. The piece isn’t attributed to anyone. Regardless, I did, in fact, sign the 1998 version of the SJC Comprehensive Plan that included adoption of the State non-conforming rule prohibiting rebuilding of a non-conforming home if it is destroyed beyond 75%.
In the current public debate about the County's efforts to update our existing Critical Areas Ordinance (CAO), some opponents of increased protections of critical areas have used scare tactics to advance their agenda by spreading the false claim that current owners, as well as prospective purchasers, of legally nonconforming properties, will have difficulty obtaining mortgage loans and homeowners insurance.
Don't be fooled! These claims are completely false.
We are opposed to the recent confrontational and divisive approach of the Common Sense Alliance (CSA) and its supporters in the ongoing debate over updates to the Critical Areas Ordinance (CAO) and the Shoreline Master Plan (SMP). Of course, they have the right to free speech. However, we don't grant them the right to be uncharitable to our neighbors, especially when they define themselves as a "charitable" organization.
Taking a stand on any issue seems to cause more divisiveness today than ever, whether it concerns politics, religion, economics or San Juan County's own maelstrom over the Critical Areas Ordinance (CAO).
We would like to thank County Council Members Fralick, Miller, Pratt, Rosenfeld, and Stephens for their decision on December 5 not to support an effort by Council Member Peterson to weaken the proposed update to our county's existing Critical Areas Ordinance (CAO). "Critical Areas" consist of wetlands, fish and wildlife habitat, aquifer recharge areas, geohazardous areas, and frequently flooded areas.