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San Juan County Council to meet on Lopez June 11

LWVSJ Observer Corps* summary of the San Juan County Council June 4, 2024 meeting.

A member of the public expressed concern about a construction activity taking place in a rural residential area on Orcas Island.

The Council held a public hearing and adopted changes to the county code on purchasing procedures. The changes streamline the code to refer to state law so it will update automatically when state law changes and to make small purchases and contracts less cumbersome.

The county emergency manager and representatives from the U.S. Coast Guard, the Washington Department of Ecology and the local Islands’ Oil Spill Association (ISOA) updated the council on oil spill response and prevention. The organizations work together regularly on drills and training exercises. The Coast Guard in February started a pilot program that tracks whale locations and communicates the information to shipping traffic. The Coast Guard and Canadian law enforcement post staff to each other’s boats allowing them to do cross border pursuit and enforcement. IOSA now has state and county funding that allows them to have two full-time staff and to train and equip 40 first-tier volunteer responders. The Coast Guard and the Department of Ecology emphasized how cost effective this has been in allowing faster spill response and more efficient resource allocation. They would like IOSA to become a model for other jurisdictions. The IOSA staff emphasized the importance of their committed volunteers who train each month.

The affordable housing coordinator presented the council with the draft 99-year lease for the Argyle property to the Home Trust to build and manage affordable housing. The lease requires that a minimum of 35 units be built and that 30% be two-bedrooms or larger to provide family housing. The council will act on the lease at the July 9 meeting.

Council Member Minney will be at a community meeting on the shared use trail project on June 5. Council Member Fuller met with Representative Larson during his visit to Lopez and he plans to be on Orcas for July 4. She attended a public meeting about a proposed county land acquisition on Shaw Island for public works.

She raised concerns shared by the Ferry Advisory Committee and the citizen taskforce on the schedule update about communication issues with Washington State Ferries.

The Council scheduled a mid-year review of the work program for July 8.

The June 11 County Council meeting will be held on Lopez Island.

The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan organization encourages informed participation in government. The Observer Corps attends and takes notes at government meetings to expand public understanding of public policy and decisions. The notes do not necessarily reflect the views of the League or its members.

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