Skagit County is proposing a Comprehensive Update (major rewrite) to the County’s Shoreline Master Program (SMP), which has not been comprehensively updated since its adoption in 1976. These are just a few of the concerns recognized by several nonprofit groups and tribes who are reviewing the draft and provided comments during the May 11, 2021 Public Hearing before the Skagit County Planning Commission.
Skagit County, Swinomish, and La Conner began to address the impacts of climate change in the mid-2000s. Each took a different approach. What became of those efforts?
The Planning Commission plays a fundamental role in land use planning in Skagit County. But many county residents are unfamiliar with that role and with the series of misguided recommendations the Planning Commission has made – and the Board of County Commissioners has summarily accepted – over the past decade.
Skagit County failed to meet every single state-mandated deadline for updating the Shoreline Management Plan plan over 44 years. Now County staff are trying again.
In 2020, Secretary of the Interior, energy industry lobbyist David Bernhardt, reversed his predecssor Zinke and ended a years long process to restore grizzly bears to the North Cascades. The Skagit County Commissioners once again joined commissioners in several other counties to oppose implementing the Endangered Species Act. For now, planning to restore the grizzly bear to the North Cascade Ecosystem has been halted.
This was our first documented experience of possible climate change impacts to our communities. Increased storm intensity, minor sea level rise in combination with a high tide created this unexpected event.
In crafting solutions to meet the need for affordable housing in our county, we should do this while maintaining the character of Skagit County. By taking charge of the problem, we have the ability to preserve what we love about Skagit County while responding to the very real needs of the people who live here.
For Guemes Island residents, the only source of fresh water for most household use are three naturally occurring underground aquifers. Up until 1994, these aquifers supplied all the fresh water needed to support the families of Guemes. Everything changed when wells began to fail because of salt water intrusion. For the last 26 years, Skagit County has failed to implement steps needed to protect Guemes Island’s water supply.
As we open our ballots and ponder who should get our valuable vote we should spend a bit of time exploring a free resource at our fingertips, the Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) website https://www.pdc.wa.gov/. The PDC is a state agency that houses the information candidates and political committees are required to report about donations to their campaigns and how they have spent the funds.
Clearly, everyone has to be able to “afford” a house or apartment in order to buy or rent housing. However, obtaining housing is not a problem for everyone. When your wealth or income is high enough, the amount you spend on housing is a matter of choice. It is unlikely that there is a house in Skagit County that Bill Gates can’t afford, for example.