At the April 21 Land Bank meeting on Lopez Island, the Land Bank Board voted to approve the purchase of the Clure properties. All members voted to approve except for Jim Skoog, who recused himself.
We have not given up! The Land Bank has approved this project despite failing to resolve the following issues:
- Access: The Land Bank is claiming that they can access the property over Meadow Lane, but government agencies cannot legally convert a private road to public use without going through a formal eminent domain process; the Land Bank board has stated they do not intend to follow this process.
- Lopez Airport: The FAA has informed the Port of Lopez that their federal funding is in jeopardy if an access is granted through the airport Runway Protection Zone. The Land Bank board has dismissed all concerns about this threat to the Port of Lopez.
- Trespassing: In response to concerns by residents, the Land Bank has offered only vague assurances that signs will be erected to prevent visitors from trespassing on the private portion of the beach. However, evidence from other public areas shows that signage by itself does not prevent trespassing.
- Fire and emergency services: The proposed preserve is inaccessible from land for firefighting or other emergencies. The Land Bank has not proposed any ideas for how fire or other emergencies will be handled on this remote beach.
- In short, the Land Bank has been unable to address ANY of the concerns that citizens have about possible impacts of this proposal on the neighborhood or the environment, choosing instead to endlessly repeat that “it will all be worked out in the management plan.” We feel the Land Bank board is abrogating its responsibility to the citizens and taxpayers of San Juan County to approve such a complex, divisive project based on misinformation, baseless supposition, and vague promises.
The purchase must still be approved by the County Council before it goes ahead. We do not have a date yet for when the Council will vote on this issue, so there is still time to write to the Council and voice your opposition:
San Juan County Council
Bill Watson: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rick Hughes: Rickh@sanjuanco.com
Jamie Stephens: email@example.com
350 Court Street, No. 1
Friday Harbor, WA 98250