Examiner didn’t overrule public process


Skagit Valley Herald  02/11/01

Points made in Mr. Youngsman’s letter (development costs, county staff wisdom, property rights) are good. But the attack on the hearing examiner is an attack on the public hearing process of county government (of the people, by the people and for the people).

One great privilege we are provided is the “right” to own and develop property. However, that is not a right to infringe upon neighbors’ property rights nor do harm. County staff is charged with the responsibility of being concerned for both the developer and his neighbor. Rules come about, not by whim, but by need, the need to avoid costly mistakes. Development costs — not just the developers, also the taxpayer for public services, and the environment.

Mr. Wolcoski’s proposal is on a rocky hillside that drains directly into a body of water adjoining waters that are badly polluted. Now the difficult task of permitting and public process begins. Decisions made are based on facts gathered. If the developer fails to provide the facts and the county staff is limited in fact finding, the general public has an opportunity to provide information. This is called the public hearing process.

Hearing examiner, Mr. Dufford, overruled a staff decision. He did not overrule public process. This attack is an attempt to discredit the people who are concerned that future growth adds to our economy, not be a tax drain on public services; to enhance our environment, not degrade it.

June Kite