November 29, 1999

Mr. Gary Christensen, Assistant Planning Director
Skagit County Planning Department
200 W. Washington
Mount Vernon, WA 98273

RE: CP Proposal to Increase Density on South Fidalgo Island

Dear Gary:

The 1997 Skagit County Comprehensive Plan carefully addressed South Fidalgo Island: the steep slopes, geologically hazardous areas, aquifer recharge areas; wetlands and critical habitat areas were inventoried and mapped; the existing low density development pattern (approximating one person per five acres) was recognized; the limited availability of public services and facilities was acknowledged, as was the impracticality of the City of Anacortes providing such services and facilities; and the average density of one housing unit per 2 1/2 acres was set in accord with county and city residents' preferences and values.

Now 1999 Draft Amendments to the 1997 Skagit County Comprehensive Plan propose a "Study Area Process" for South Fidalgo Island aimed at "evaluating the potential for additional areas for more intensive rural development" and the need "for future urban growth." The reasons cited for this are "the existing development pattern" and the urgent need to look beyond the year 2015. Nonsense!

The first the City knew of this County change in direction was when we picked up our copy of the 1999 Draft Amendments. The proposal to increase density on South Fidalgo Island is directly contrary to the current city and county plans, to the agreed upon Countywide Planning Policies, and to the Growth Management Act.

Further, given the documented water quality problems on South Fidalgo Island caused by the current levels of development we suggest the County focus its efforts on these very real problems before generating even worse problems that will one day be dropped in the City's lap.



Ian S. Munce, AICP
Director of Planning & Community Development


cc: Mayor and City Council
Planning Commission