▼ Van Lund and Knapp report to EPRC
At the EPRC monthly meeting on June 5, 2008, Committee Chair Peter Fisher announced that, although he will continue to be involved in the committee’s work, he will resign from the Board. New officers elected were Mindy Kayl, and Gulliver Rankin as Vice-Chair. Kayl said upon accepting the position, “I’m happy and honored to be the EPRC chair, and, depending on what my future holds, to serve until January.” She said that beyond January, her EPRC service would depend on the outcome of the fall elections. Kayl is a candidate for the Orcas West County Council position.
The EPRC heard a report from John Van Lund, County Engineer with the County Public Works Department, on the six-year Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). Many of the projects in this plan are on Orcas Island, and the last of three public outreach meetings on the projects in the plan will be held on Friday, June 20 in Deer Harbor from 4 to 6:30 p.m. A question-and-answer session will take place from 5:30 to 6 p.m. The June 20 meeting is being held in conjunction with People for Puget Sound, which, under the management of Robin Clark, has been working on the Deer Harbor estuary restoration for some time.
San Juan County Public Work’s Rachel Dietzman, who is the Senior Project Manager for the Deer Harbor bridge project, will also be in attendance at the June 20 Open House.
The informational open houses have been valuable to the Public Works Department, said Van Lund, to communicate what’s been done, what is planned, and to receive public feedback.
The TIP will go to the Planning Commission and a public hearing will be held on July 18.
Gene Knapp, San Juan County Council member from Orcas East, commented, “It’s a huge disappointment, after being on the Council awhile, to learn that the County made promises to the state and then proceeded to ignore them for 15 years…We’re catching up with things that were promised years ago. The planning department was officially obliterated but permits didn’t stop when the department disappeared. There may have been good reasons for all of it, but it explains what the county is looking at today.”
Knapp informed the EPRC that the County Council will have a public hearing on the Hearing Examiner ordinance regarding rules on land-use issues, saying “Matters before the Hearing Examiner are extremely important, and the public is entitled to rules [regarding the process].”
Knapp also announced that on June 24, the County Council meeting will be held on Orcas Island, in the Eastsound Fire Hall. The agenda includes a public hearing of the Orcas Village Plan, and reports from Peter Fisher for the EPRC, Orcas Shuttle on increased fuel costs affecting transportation services, Andrew Youngren on “flex cars” and Eric Youngren on solar energy. Knapp said “Public transportation on the island is going to become increasingly important; there may need to be public support for it.”
The EPRC decided to hold its next Work Session on the EPRC Sub area plan on June 18 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Senior Center. EPRC member Patty Miller is “distillling” the Eastsound Subarea plan so that the EPRC can continue its work to update the plan, adopted by the County in 1981, and last updated in 2002. The work involves “dissecting” the plan and designating elements, such as stormwater or affordable housing to EPRC members to review, Miller said. The EPRC will then assess whether the element is included or missing, and develop an action plan for implementation.
The next EPRC regular meeting will be July 3 from 3 to 4:30 p.m. at the Senior Center.