News Flash

County Council

Posted on: February 28, 2023

Council Meeting Review: February 28, 2023

Council meeting review

This meeting included conservation easements, Critical Areas Ordinance information, Home Fund Administrative and Finance Plan changes, and more.

This document is a general review of the County Council meeting, Tuesday, February 28, 2023. Information related to agenda changes, Consent Agenda, and Public Comment are on the County website. For additional information about what was discussed, please refer to the recording. 


Financial Items, the Auditor’s office requests approval for warrants issued the week of January 27, 2023 and the week of February 6, 2023.

Miscellaneous, Sole Source contract – Fire Access Control, Resolution Waiving Competitive Bidding for Orcas Island Turtleback Mountain Preserve Trail Construction

Council voted to approve the consent agenda items.


Letter of Support, Port of Friday Harbor, Federal Earmark 

The Port of Friday Harbor is seeking congressionally directed spending to create a small shipyard industrial capability on San Juan Island. San Juan County does not currently have the infrastructure or facilities capable of conducting maintenance and repairs on the small commercial vessels and barges that serve our area. The project consists of an industrial pier and gantry crane, stormwater infrastructure, and a work yard expansion. The facility upgrade is part of an ongoing environmental clean and brownfield redevelopment project undertaken by the Port to address legacy pollution from over 100 years of private boatyard operations. In addition to local job creation and private commercial vessel support, this project specifically benefits our historically disadvantaged Tribal fishing fleets.

 San Juan County fully supports this project and the Port’s effort to create year around industrial jobs to balance the highly volatile and seasonal tourism economy.

 The Council voted to authorize Mike Thomas to sign a letter of support for an earmark for the Port of Friday Harbor. 

Port of Port Angeles application for Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) 

Council decided to wait and discuss this topic at a future meeting when the Prosecuting Attorney can be present and provide further information. 

RECOGNITION: Shannon Wilbur, Senior Project Engineer, upon retirement after sixteen years of service to San Juan County 

Action: A Resolution to Convey a Conservation Easement Deed to the San Juan Preservation Trust on the Lopez Hill Preserve Addition Property on Lopez Island. 

The San Juan County Conservation Land Bank wishes to sell, and the Preservation Trust wishes to buy, for the sum of $356,250.00, a Conservation Easement to permanently protect the Lopez Hill Preserve Addition. 

To this end, the Preservation Trust and the Land Bank entered into an agreement entitled the ‘Lopez Hill Preserve Addition Cooperative Agreement,’ the terms of which provided that the Preservation Trust would commit $356,250.00 toward the purchase and permanent protection of a Conservation Easement on the property, and that the purchase price would be transmitted to the Land Bank. 

The San Juan County Council now desires to convey a Conservation Easement to the Preservation Trust for the purchase price of $356,250.00.  

The Council voted to approve a resolution to convey a Conservation Easement deed to the San Juan Preservation Trust on the Lopez Hill Preserve addition property on Lopez Island.

Discussion: Public Participation Plan, Critical Areas Ordinance – David Williams, Director of the Department of Community Development Sophia Cassam, Planner 

Staff informed Council that San Juan County is preparing to update its Critical Area Ordinances and its Shoreline Master Program regulations. Staff presented the public participation program for the proposed amendments to the County’s critical area protections.

The public participation program follows the County’s standard model for public outreach and DCD staff plans to work with the Communications Coordinator to amplify messaging, highlight opportunities to engage, and send updates. 

Council voted to approve the Critical Areas Ordinance public participation plan as presented by staff. 

Discussion/Action: Fire Marshal Software purchase –David Williams, Director of the Department of Community Development and Chad Kimple, Fire Marshall 

Staff informed Council of a software option for the San Juan County Fire Marshall’s Office to enhance Fire inspection compliance throughout the County.

Staff has been reviewing options to help standardize and streamline the fire inspection and reporting process utilized by the Fire Marshall’s Office for fire compliance. TEGRIS software, which is 100% web based, seems to offer the features necessary to accomplish this task. This is not a permitting system, and the Department is still working with challenges on fire permitting and review, this solves one part of the compliance aspect of the fire Marshall’s Office.

Staff recommended approval to move forward with TEGRIS implementation, at no cost to San Juan County, and direct the Community Development Director to execute any contracts necessary to implement the software.

Council voted to approve the purchase of TEGRIS software and direct the Community Development Director to execute any contracts necessary for implementation at no cost to the County.

Discussion: Development Code Update Necessary to Implement Comp Plan – David Williams, Director of the Department of Community Development Sophia Cassam, Planner 

Staff briefed the County Council on the Planning Commission’s recommended draft ordinance regarding proposed development code amendments resulting from the 2036 Comprehensive Plan Update.

The Planning Commission held a public hearing on 2/17/2023 and after discussion, deliberation and opening the hearing up to public comment made a unanimous recommendation 6-0 on the proposed changes with some minor edits highlighted in the presented report. Proposed changes include topics such as Mineral Resource Land Overlay (MRLO) commercial significance, Island Center residential development standards, Cluster Developments, affordable housing definitions, affordable housing for moderate income households, and allowing existing schools in rural land use designations.

Council voted to set a public hearing on the development code updates necessary to implement the Comp Plan for March 21 at 9:15am.   

Discussion: USGS Groundwater Recharge Study Update – Kyle Dodd, Deputy Director/EH Manger • Health & Community Services and Wendy Welch from USGS 

The USGS is currently completing work under contract with the County to evaluate available groundwater, surface water, and meteorological data. The study will also update groundwater recharge estimates for the County as well as update the water balance. 

Wendy Welch, Chief of the Groundwater Systems Section of the USGS Washington Water Science Center provided an update on the project.

Discussion: Home Fund Administrative and Finance Plan Changes for REET – Ryan Page, Affordable Housing Coordinator • Health & Community Services 

Ryan Page provided a first touch of a draft update to Health & Community Service's Administrative and Financial Plan for the Home Fund program. This document was created in 2018 prior to the election proposing the Home Fund REET. Staff and the Housing Advisory Committee have been working since last fall to update this document to consider any policy changes that might be needed and to clean up the document to reflect the best practices currently deployed by H&CS. 

There are no significant policy changes being proposed at the time of this update.

Discussion: 1st Touch, Set a Public Hearing. Proposed Adoption of an Ordinance Regarding a San Juan County Safety Committee – Angie Baird, Director of Human Resources and Risk Management 

The San Juan County Safety committee was established many years ago, and previously provided for through Resolution No. 155-1994 as amended by Resolution No. 107-1996. However, these resolutions were repealed by Resolution No. 03-2019.

There have been updates to Washington State laws and regulations that require changes to the San Juan County Safety Committee, including modifications to employee elections, committee governance, and committee assignments. 

The Director of Human Resources and Risk Management recommended oversight of the employee Safety Committee be placed under Human Resources to ensure the program is running effectively and in compliance with state law.  

Discussion: 4th Q 2022 Update – Molly Foote, Budget Analyst 

Staff provided a review of San Juan County’s fourth quarter finances. The fourth quarter of the 2022 financial year ended on January 20th, 2023. The report reviewed the revenue received and expenditures spent in 2022 for all County funds and the County Current Expense fund. Revenue earned in 2022 from Real Estate Excise Taxes, Sales Tax, Interest, Lodging Tax, Property Tax, as well as Planning & Permitting was also reviewed.

Discussion: Internal Controls Briefing - Molly Foote, Budget Analyst 

Staff provided an annual review of the Internal Controls process. ‘Internal Control’ is a process designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the achievement of objectives for effectiveness, compliance, and reliability of financial reporting. 

Internal Controls are our greatest defense against fraud, waste, and abuse.  As the governing body, San Juan County Council is responsible for ensuring Internal Controls achieve the County's objectives. By evaluating and mitigating our risks, we are able to safeguard public assets, protect our employees, and operate more efficiently.

Action: Resolution to Cancel Uncollectable Personal Property Taxes, Rhonda Pederson, Treasurer 

RCW 84.56.240 requires the Treasurer present to the County Council, each February, a list of uncollectible personal property taxes, along with an affidavit regarding the Treasurer’s efforts and inability to collect such taxes. 

The Treasurer presented the Council with a list and affidavit as required by law and the County Council was required to formally cancel those uncollectible personal property taxes.  

Council voted to approve a resolution authorizing the County Treasurer to cancel uncollectable personal property taxes.

Discussion/Action: 2023-2024 Capital Project Request for the Marie Boe Renovation 

The Marie Boe Building at the San Juan County Fairgrounds has received funding from the state for the addition of ADA restrooms and other funding for the support of the Emergency Operations Center and general improvements to the building. In the architecture and engineering process, a private construction estimate was completed to ensure fiscal viability. When bids were opened, they were between 50-100% higher than the private estimate. The capital committee has made a recommendation for the approval of REET2 and Emergency Communication funds to complete this project that is in progress.

Council voted to allocate $900,000 from REET2 funds and $140,000 Emergency Communications funds to support the completion of the Marie Boe Building renovation.


Council Update: 


  • Attended her first IOSA board meeting where she was officially appointed to the Board along with Dr. Francis Robertson from the County’s Department of Environmental Stewardship and one other.
  • Attended the 2nd HR training. 
  • Met with Doug McCutcheon for an afternoon walking the Beaverton Valley Marsh Preserve to see its emerging trail definition, hear the current obstacles to completion, and share in his chocolate.
  • Participates weekly in the newly formed committee responsible for developing a concept regarding the Town to Zylstra Lake shared use trail.
  • Participates in legislative updates every other Friday afternoon from WSAC staff. This is different than the LSC commitment and all WSAC members are welcome to join.
  • Attended a Parks Board meeting, Fair Board Meeting, Land Bank Meeting, and a Solid Waste Advisory Committee meeting. She missed the first Noxious Weed Control Board Meeting due to it conflicting with the Fair Board meeting, which was an important one to be at that day.
  • Attended the first 2023 sex offender policy board meeting (as a reminder, she sits on this board as a Member of the WSAC Board of Directors.)
  • Upcoming:   
    1. Lopez bound for the Elected’s Meet and Greet
    2. Headed to Olympia again tomorrow for LSC
    3. Registered for a deeper dive Public Records Training and she will also be taking a contracts training with the PA’s Office

Jane Fuller: 

  • Facilitated a reorganization of the Ferry Advisory Committee with a first meeting of new FAC that was held on February 15. Ken Burtness of Lopez Island is currently the Interim Chair. The vacant San Juan Island seat will be advertised to the public.
  • Attended first North Sound Behavioral Health Administrative Services Organization meetings as the new council liaison.
  • Provided testimony to the House Appropriations Committee on HB 1436 to advocate for lifting the cap on funding for special education for our county’s schools.
  • Participated in a meeting with Marianna Hanefeld – the WSDOT NW Regional Community Liaison for WSDOT to discuss public / private clean transportation options for the county in the future.
  • Attended the North Sound Transportation Alliance General Meeting
  • Conducted site visits to Parks & Recs locations on Lopez with Brandon Cadwell, the Director of Parks and Recreation.
  • Conducted site visits to Public Works sites on Lopez with Shannon Wilbur, the Public Works Engineer on Lopez.
  • Attended the Board of Health meeting.
  • Participated as the guest speaker at the Lopez Chamber of Commerce Annual Membership meeting.
  • Attended a briefing with the Director of Emergency Management - Brendan Cowan

Cindy Wolf:

  • Traveled to Washington DC, learned about new funding opportunities, and connected with congressional staff 
  • Met with a senior staff member Maria Cantwell's office and discussed grant request writing resources
  • Plans to attend the Aleutian Isle response meeting 
  • Discussed a letter sent to the tribal chairs 
  • Submitted an application to the Ecosystems Coordination Board 
  • Attended a meeting with OPALCO where they discussed long-term project planning
  • Plans to attend the Agricultural Summit 
  • Plans to attend the Marine Manager's Conference in April  
  • Noted that on June 21-22, the WA State Transportation Commission is coming to San Juan Island for their meeting. She noted that it is a unique opportunity to have transportation-related conversations. 

 Legislative Update: 

Christine Minney gave a WSAC Legislative Steering Committee Meeting update-

  • The meeting included an in-depth analysis of newly dropped HB 1832 regarding implementation of a Road Usage Charge (RUC). 
  • LSC received a presentation from the Reema Griffith, the Executive Director of the Washington State Transportation Commission. This is apparently the 10th year that this has been a conversation. There was a decent amount of disdain in the LSC room for many elements of this bill (which had only been dropped the day before) and far more questions than answers. 
  • For San Juan County, Minney’s concern centered on the fact that our expenditure of the funds seemed to be very specific to roads and bridges plus maintenance of both while we are responsible to maintain a significant amount of marine facilities as our road system and that didn’t seem to be included.
  • Cindy Wolf brought up HB1205- an issue that the County Clerks are pushing forward and Council will determine their support for. 

Manager Update: Mike Thomas, County Manager 

  • Discussed the upcoming recommendation for the Argyle Lots project as prepared by the Housing Advisory Committee
  • Met with the Northwest Clean Air Agency 
  • Attended HR training for County staff 
  • Lopez Property acquisition process has closed
  • Met with constituents regarding DCD
  • Announced Engage San Juan County website 
  • Met with OPALCO 

Council Clerk Update: Sally Rogers, Clerk 

a. Review Agendas & Council Calendar Items 

b. Advisory Committee Appointments/ Reappointments: 

  • Appoint Peggy Bill to the Land Bank Conservation Commission, District 3 Position 3 

Council decided to wait and discuss this topic at a future meeting when the Prosecuting Attorney can be present and provide further information. 

Executive Session: Performance of a Public Employee, to Evaluate the Performance of a Public Employee pursuant to RCW 42.30.110 (1)(g). 

CLOSED SESSION: To discuss matters pertaining to collective bargaining pursuant to RCW 42.30.140(4)(b) 


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