Land Bank meeting re Draft Interim Management Plan for Lopez Channel Preserve

From Tim Clark, Lopez Preserve Steward:

The Land Bank will be meeting on Friday, March 16th from 8:30 to 11:00 am, at the Mullis Center, 589 Nash Street in Friday Harbor. The DRAFT interim management plan for Lopez Channel will be considered then at a public hearing during the proposed Amended Acquisition and Expenditure Plan. The link to the page with the interim management plan is . You can find it listed on that page, or it is included on the Amended A&E Plan. In the future, you can check on management plans by going to ‘About’ on the upper tab, then clicking on ‘Commissioners’, which will get you to ‘Agendas’. Interim management plans are not always listed, but this one is. Another way to find the interim plan is under ‘About’, then ‘Financial Information’. Management plans are always approved within a budget, which is why they are found under the finances.

Draft Interim Management Plan for Lopez Channel Preserve

The Land Bank has released the draft Interim Management Plan for the Lopez Channel Preserve as part of the Proposed Amended 2018 Expenditure and Acquisition Plan. The plan was initially set to be considered at the February 16th meeting, but due to the omission of the plan from the meeting agenda the public hearing has been moved to the next Commission meeting:

Date: Friday, March 16th, 8:30 a.m.
Location: Mullis Center, 589 Nash Street, Friday Harbor

Download the Proposed Amended 2018 Expenditure and Acquisition Plan here.


Land Bank approves Clure purchase

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:
District 1
Phone: 360-370-7473

Rick Hughes:
District 2
Phone: 360-298-5103

Jamie Stephens:
District 3
Phone: 360-378-2898

Mailing Address:
350 Court Street, No. 1
Friday Harbor, WA 98250

Land Bank votes to extend feasibility period…again

The action item on the Friday’s Land Bank Agenda was whether to the extend the Feasibility Period to give the Clures more time to obtain an easement for public access off Shark Reef Road, or drop the proposed purchase.

We presented the results of our visit with the FAA and our review of the Port FAA Grants, made several oral presentations, and delivered several letters from our group opposing the Purchase.

Regrettably, the Land Bank took our new information under advisement, said the easement issue was between the Port and the Clures, and voted to extend the feasibility period to its April 21 Meeting on Lopez.

We will do everything we can to resolve this issue favorably, but please plan now to make the April 21st Lopez Land Bank meeting.

Port votes not to approve easement to Clure property

About twenty of our supporters attended last night’s Port of Lopez meeting. The Port commission thoughtfully moved the venue to Woodmen Hall to accommodate the large crowd, and allowed over an hour of testimony on the Clure access issue.

The attorney for the Clures, Michael Murray, spoke and threatened a lawsuit on very vague grounds and then claimed the Clures “own” an easement to Shark Reef Road from Meadow Lane—which caused quite a bit of confusion as this alleged easement has never appeared in any prior surveys. The Port voted to deny an easement to the Clure property at this time, and will consult with their attorneys and surveyors again to make sure they have the correct surveys and legal analysis before making a final decision.

The Port will also conduct further research on FAA restrictions in the airport safety zones, which cover both Meadow and Eagles Roost Lanes.