Notes from Friends

Friends of Skagit County                                                                                                                  Fall 2005

Growth Management Act Saves Skagit Farmland

Hearings Board rules against paving farmland

Ellen Gray, Policy Director






































Inside This Issue


Hearings Board Rules Against Paving Farmland;  Water Line Extension:  Fish or Development?


Takings Initiative in 2006;


To Care or Not To Care, That Is the Question


Impact Fees; Futurewise Protects 12,000 Rural Whatcom Acres


To Care or Not to Care?


2005 Membership Renewal Form

Notes from Friends  is published quarterly by Friends of Skagit County, P.O. Box 2632 (mailing address), 110 N. First St. #C, Mount Vernon, WA 98273, 360-419-0988,;

June Kite, President         Ellen Bynum, Director          Ellen Gray, Policy Director



































































To Care Or Not To Care, That is the Question


There is a web site called  Wikipedia—The Free Encyclopedia  (  One of the topics I came across involved the seven deadly sins, also known as the capital vices or cardinal sins.  One of them is Acedia, from the Greek “akedia” meaning “not to care”, denoting spiritual sloth.  Synonyms listed for Acedia are laziness, torpor, ennui and apathy.  The old saying says, “The sins of the Father fall on the Children”.  I guess these days “Mother” could be included in that last sentence as well.  Our sins of  “not caring” will fall on the next generation.


Not caring about what, though?  That covers a lot of ground;  and some of that ground is the ground under our feet.  And the water flowing in and over that ground.  And the air above it.  It sounds like as good a way as any to lead into the topic of land use planning.


Many people say they are interested in making sure the land, water and air are fit for the next generation.  They say they are worried about the health of the environment, the economy and, in general,  the world their children will inherit.  So my question to all of you who say you are concerned is this:  Where are you?  Have you joined Friends of Skagit County yet or asked about becoming a member of the Board?  If you are reading this it probably means you are concerned about some aspect of Skagit County land use.  Are you participating and contributing to Friends of Skagit County?  Will you tell others about Friends?  Becoming a paying member of Friends is a great way to participate and stay up on what is happening.  Will you join the Board of  Friends and help us grow even more?  Joining the Board is a good way to learn about land use and to have your ideas considered—no one on the Board is an expert.  We are all learning all the time.  For instance, I am the secretary

and I learn at every meeting by writing the minutes.  Don’t let your lack of land use knowledge stop you from becoming more active.  If prior expertise in land use was a criterion, the FOSC Board probably wouldn’t exist.  But the we have highly qualified advisors and great information resources to assist  us.  The Board members have varying views on a variety of subjects.   We review the issues at hand and, after investigation and discussion, we make decisions in keeping with the goals of responsible land use planning.  We have an enviable track record.


I imagine everyone has had an Acedia Attack at one point or another.  Acedia Attacks will pass when you become active in  FOSC.  Consider this:  in the near future, land use policy will be directly affected by fossil fuel shortages. We will need to form close communities, out of preference or necessity. Our buying habits and what we value—ie, homegrown food—will change drastically  and thus where we shop and how, will be important.  Responsible land use policy will be incumbent because the old economics of sprawl are collapsing even as this is being written.   Some people think that if they just adopt the “Jiminy Cricket Syndrome” (James Kunstler’s term) and “wish upon a star”, the tough choices will go away.  Friends of Skagit County and other volunteer organizations as well, will be in the middle of the “next turning”, which we are going into right now.  There is still some time left to take charge of how you want Skagit County to be in the next era.   Whether or not you have brought children into this world, you owe the next generations  your participation in how the future will unfold. The more members FOSC has, the more Board members we have to give input, the better the planning and decisions will be. 


Gene Derig is a founding member of Friends of Skagit County.







































Friends 2005 Grants Update - The Russell Family Foundation recently awarded Friends a $5,000 one year grant to monitor cities and county critical areas ordinances and the Bay View Ridge Stormwater Plan.   Friends 2005 foundation funders also include The Northwest Fund for the Environment and The Bullitt Foundation.  Thank you to the boards and staff of these foundations for their past and continuing support of Friends.


1,000 Friends of Washington has changed its name to:

 futurewise – Building communities, protecting the land.

 Ellen Gray, Whatcom/Skagit Program Director

email:             web:

P.O. Box 2632      Mt Vernon, WA. 98273       p 425-308-2839

























































































All meetings listed below are open to the public.  If you wish to comment on any item on the agenda, or any land use issue of concern to you, plan to attend.  Public comment periods are usually listed on the agenda for each meeting.  Please submit a written copy of your statements to the meeting chair/recorder and send a copy to FOSC so we know your concerns.  Thanks very much!


Skagit Co. Board of County Commissioners

Don Munks, District 1; Ken Dahlstedt, District 2; Ted Anderson, District 3.  Commissioners Hearing Room, 1800 Continental Place,  Mount Vernon.  Usually Mondays and/or Tuesdays, 8 a.m.  Agendas at  Click on Departments & Offices, then Co. Commissioners, then Agenda, or call 336-9300.


Skagit County Planning Commission

Commissioners:  Dave Hughes, Chair;  Jan Ellingson, Vice Chair; Carol Ehlers; William Stiles III; Herb Goldston, M.D.;  Bill Schmidt; Bobbi Krebs-McMullen; Harry Ota; Jerry D. Jewett. All meetings are at 7 p.m.  Commissioners Hearing Room, 1800 Continental Place,  Mount Vernon, WA 98273.  Schedule subject to change. Please check at Click on Depts. & Offices then Planning & Dev. Services, then Planning Commission  Schedule, or call 336-9310.


Anacortes Planning Commission 

Commissioners:  Erica Pickett, Lin Folsom, Larry Nelson, Laurie Gere,  Marty Laumbattus, Betty Kuehn and Clay Leming.  Ian Munce, Planner.  Meetings at Municipal Building Council Chambers, 6th Street and “Q” Ave., Ancortes, 7:30 p.m.  2nd and 4th Wednesdays.  Agenda and minutes at .Click on Planning, then Planning Commission Agendas for past and coming meetings or call 293-1900.


Burlington Planning CommissionMarianne Manville-Aillers, Rebecca Bradley, Eddie Tjeerdsma, Jana Vater, Brian Hanson, Ken Frye, Bill Allen. 

Planning Director, Margaret Fleek.  Please call 755-9717 for schedule or more information.  3rd Wednesday each month, 7 p.m., Council Chambers, City Hall, 900 E. Fairhaven, Burlington.


Mount Vernon Planning Commission

Commissioners:  Mike Minor, Denny LeGro, Abraham

“The public realm is the physical manifestation of the common good.  When you degrade the public realm…you degrade the common good, and … impair the ability of a group of people incorporated as a republic to think about the public interest.”  --  from James Howard Kunstler’s How To Mess Up a Town,  Winter, 1995 issue, Planning Commissioners Journal.