For six years a group of citizens called Central Samish Valley Neighbors (CSVN) has been working to protect their rural community from the impacts of a large new gravel mine. The permit review process, led by Skagit County Planning and Development Services, has been long, drawn out, and fraught with problems from the outset.
There is a long history of adversarial relations between county government and the cities in Skagit County. Many residents, including this author, have long been puzzled when county government appears to act as if it is in competition with its own cities. Shouldn’t we recognize the cities as assets of the county? While acknowledging that history, County Commissioner Lisa Janicki took a different approach by collaborating and cooperating with the cities to find and implement solutions on the issue of housing.
by Kirk Johnson The Framework Agreement was adopted in 2002 by Skagit County and the cities of Anacortes, Burlington, Mount Vernon, and Sedro-Woolley, and the…
The appointed Skagit County Planning Commission (PC) wields considerable power in land use planning decisions that affect everyone in the county. Who are the Planning Commissioners? How are they appointed? Do they represent the people of Skagit?
On May 11, 2021, despite over 700 public comments urging them not to do it, the Skagit County Commissioners unanimously voted to docket a comprehensive plan amendment proposal to allow FCCs or “Fully Contained Communities”. By “docketing” the proposal, the County Commissioners prepared a path for developers to turn sections of rural Skagit County into massive housing enclaves.
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.
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.
In 2019, Home Rule Skagit, a local organization working for transparency, accountability, and broader representation in Skagit County government made Public Records Requests to look at particular County records related to the campaign they had conducted in 2018. In response to their first request, the 732 documents received from Skagit County Public Information Officer Cori Russell were almost completely blacked out, sometimes including the dates. In response to a second request, 7.128 gigabytes of information were turned over having little to do with the materials requested. What is going on?
When elected leaders choose to avoid transparency and deny citizen involvement, we need to ask why. An important recent example illustrates this too familiar pattern in Skagit County government. This year, the crucial job of County Administrator was filled without the opportunity for residents to hear from the candidates, learn about them, or share with our County Commissioners ideas about a position that affects us all. We’re once again left with the impression that the Commissioners prefer the people of Skagit County just quietly pay their county taxes and then show no interest in government. Why is the County Administrator position important to all Skagit residents? Read on.