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    Preserving Skagit County's rural character by protecting the environment, supporting        sustainable resource based economies and promoting livable urban communities.

 
A review of Friends' appeal of the proposed 396 acre Clear Valley Wetland Bank permit appeals.   On January 22, 2010, FOSC asked the Skagit Superior Court to rule on the Commissioners refusal to hear the appeal.  The County Prosecuting Attorney requested a change of venue due to Skagit judges prejudice.  FOSC requested copies of the judges recusals, but have not received these to date.  The LUPA appeal and the case requesting the judge to rule on whether the Commissioners have to hear the case is set for Friday, March 12, 2010 in Whatcom Superior Court, Bellingham.  The hearing is open to the public.

All 3 County Commissioners recused themselves from hearing the grading and shorelines appeals filed by FOSC.  The letter about the recusals sent to FOSC states that the Examiner's ruling is final as of January 19, 2010. The ruling says Ag-Natural Resource Lands (Ag-NRL) are not all prime agricultural lands and therefore can be converted to other uses.

FOSC LUPA (Land Use Protection Act) Appeal of Skagit Environmental Bank's grading permit was heard on Friday, March 12, 2010.  FOSC filed in Skagit Superior Court, but the Court Administrator and the Civil Prosecuting Attorney said all of the judges had recused themselves.  We have no recusal from the judges themselves, but we asked the Whatcom Superior Court to take the appeal.  Judge Snyder (Whatcom Superior Court) did not rule on whether the Commissioners had bias, should have recused, or should have un-recused themselves and heard the appeal. 

Friends' concern was that if the hearing examiner's ruling is allowed to stand it wipes out protection under the Skagit Code or Shorelines Master Plan for Skagit agricultural lands.  The County considers the Hearing Examiner's ruling is now final.

The "rule of necessity" is a point of law which states that if there is no one to hear the appeal, then the officers may un-recuse themselves and hear the appeal.  FOSC asked the Whatcom Superior Court to rule on this issue.  The judge did not do so.  

CANCELLED: Summary Judgment Hearing - March 26, 2010, Whatcom Superior Court, Bellingham, due to Judge Snyder's ruling.  The judge refused to rule on whether the Commissioners must complete their deliberations on the Hearing Examiner's ruling allowing the permits to go forward on on the Clear Valley bank.

The Commissioners HAVE NOT SIGNED the banking instrument that would allow the Clear Valley wetland mitigation bank to go foward.

WRITE a Letter, Fax of Email TODAY to the County Commissioners stating your opposition to the Clear Valley project and tell them not to sign the banking instrument. Commissioners Ken Dahlstedt, Sharon Dillon and Ron Wesen 1800 Continental Pl. #100  Mount Vernon, WA 98273  Ph: 360-336-9300        Fax: 339-9307    Email:  commissioners@co.skagit.wa.us

WRITE a letter to the Skagit Valley Herald or your other local newspaper stating your opposition to the Clear Valley bank and the loss of more farmland.  Dick Clever, Editor, Skagit Valley Herald  Box 578, Mount Vernon, WA 98274.  Fax: 360-424-5300      Email:  dclever@skagitpublishing.com

Here are the reasons why this land should remain farmland.  The GMA and the County Comprehensive Plan require the identification and protection of Agricultural – Natural Resource Lands.  The Hearing Examiner ruled that not all Ag-NRL lands are prime agricultural lands and therefore could be converted to other uses. FOSC disagrees. 

The land is zoned Agriculture-Natural Resource Lands.  It is prime agricultural land, the soils are in the top 1% in production per acre in the world.  The majority of the 396 acres of the land has never been wetland.  Only 58 acres are delineated as wetland.

Moving 100,000 truckloads (1.2 million cubic yards) of prime agricultural soils to another site is MINING!  Mining is NOT permitted in the Shoreline Master Plan.

Tell the Commissioners that you do not want to lose another acre of Skagit’s farmland and ask them to hear the appeal and deny the permits and do not sign the banking instrument.  Please ask your friends to speak up NOW!

PLEASE TELL THE COMMISSIONERS YOU OPPOSE THIS PROJECT and THEIR REFUSAL TO HEAR THE APPEAL EVEN IF YOU CONTACTED THEM BEFORE!  

 

Why FOSC Appealed the SHORELINE CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT for Clear Valley wetland mitigation BANK.

The Skagit Shoreline Management Master Plan is a part of the Skagit Comprehensive Plan and forbids certain activities within rural shoreline areas (the Clear Valley project is inside a rural shoreline area).  For example, mining, excavating, dredging, filling and other activities which disrupt the shorelines are prohibited.  FOSC wrote the Department of Ecology (DOE) asking them to consider additional information to the Hearing Examiner's decision, the Clear Valley applications and the scant information forwarded by Skagit County Planning & Development Services for DOE's review.  We were told DOE would accept and read the information.  DOE, Bellingham approved the conditional use permit before reading ANY of the information Friends delivered to them.  The reason given was that Friends would be appealing the permit, so it didn't matter if DOE approved it.

 

The Shoreline Substantial Development Permit is NOT REVIEWED by DOE, but simply passed on to Olympia. 

 

DOE is responsible for upholding the intent and letter of the Shoreline Management Act which every county has adopted.  Skagit County's Shoreline Management Plan and Comprehensive Plan clearly prohibits the activities planned in the Nookachamps Basin by the Clear Valley project.  DOE is not acting in the public interest when it does not even consider the actual activities of the proposed project. To read Friends letter to Dick Grout, Bellingham Field Manager, DOE click here.

 

FOSC considers this a denial of access to due process.  FOSC sent the letter to DOE to the Legislature, Governor Gregoire, and Federal Congressional representatives for their review. To read Friends' letter click here. 

 

LaConner Weekly News Guest Editorial Click here.

 

For more information on wetland banks click here.

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Preserving Skagit County's rural character by protecting the environment, supporting sustainable, resource-based economics and promoting livable urban communities.

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