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San Juan County responds to public’s feedback on Destination Management Plan

SAN JUAN COUNTY. WA November 16, 2023 - San Juan County would like to acknowledge the public response to the Preliminary Draft San Juan Islands Destination Management Plan (SDMP) and thank those community members who have taken the time to submit feedback, ask questions, and engage in the conversation about the islands’ future.

The Preliminary Draft SDMP  

The preliminary draft of the Destination Management Plan is a component of a larger, broader effort by the County to proactively consider the islands’ future. This effort includes climate science and adaptation strategies, capital investment prioritization, and community planning that will guide the County now and into the next 150 years.  

The preliminary draft received over 900 comments from islanders on every island as well as mainlanders. County staff are analyzing each component of the robust feedback received to understand public sentiment and priorities.

Major recurring comments include concerns with ferry service, affordable housing, and resident livability; desire for harnessing revenue from visitors and mitigating impacts; and interest in further research around capacity metrics and feasibility of some proposed ideas.

The preliminary draft Plan provides a framework for discussion, identifies issues, and makes a number of “what if” recommendations on strategies and funding possibilities. These recommendations are subject to further Council assessment, legal review, feasibility studies, and additional public process. 

Items in the Action Table, including revenue generating proposals, can only be enacted via public process and Council action. At this time, there is no plan for Council adoption and nothing included in the preliminary draft plan is included in the 2024/2025 budget.

Next Steps

Staff will continue to take time to assess the diverse opinions expressed during the preliminary draft public review period. There is a clear, shared desire to continue this important conversation as a community, and the County will be working to determine how best to offer equitable participation in this ongoing work. 

The preliminary draft is still available for review and the public may continue to use the Ask a Question tool on the Engage platform. 

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