The Friends of the San Juans is an environmental group with a mission. Stated on their website:
The FRIENDS of the San Juan Islands
Mission: To protect the land, water, sea, and livability of the San Juan Islands through science, education, stewardship and advocacy.
A brief history
Friends of the San Juans (FRIENDS) was founded in 1979 to support San Juan County's efforts to manage growth and protect natural environments. Since then, FRIENDS' activities have expanded to include: marine research and habitat restoration; shoreline stewardship and conservation; land use and environmental compliance; and, endangered species protection.
(see the entire history at http://www.sanjuans.org/about_Friends.htm)
Here is what they should add now: And we gleefully harass our neighbors by complaining about meaningless minutia during the permitting process--and we take particular pride in harming the elderly.
What are the "Friends" doing that is turning them into the enemy of the San Juan citizenry? The are becoming the vicious permit overlords of the San Juans.
Case in point
Helen King, has operated a bed and breakfast for fourteen years on San Juan Island. She has been allowed to operate it with a Conditional Use Permit during this time. One of the conditions of the CUP was that the bed and breakfast use would expire if she sold the property--the use was only good under her ownership.
As it turns out, Helen found a buyer for her property. The buyer made the sale contingent upon continuing the use as a bed and breakfast. So, Helen went back to the County, and applied to extend the conditional use provisions to the new buyer, which isn't an unreasonable request.
Any citizen--including the "Friends" of the San Juans--can take this opportunity to express their concerns. It's an open public process. The question is: Why did the "Friends" submit comments about this particular permit request? How does this advance their mission?
I called Kyle Loring, Staff Attorney for the Friends of the San Juans to find out. He said, "I'm not confident you will accurately represent what I'll say, and the letter speaks for itself. Feel free not to call here again."
Loring is leveraging his legal expertise and the powerful "Friends" organization against an elderly woman with the sole purpose of blocking her permit application, which will in turn sour her pending sale. Here is the summary of his letter:
"Lastly, even if the proposal were properly considered a non-conforming use, it should be denied because it is prohibited in a rural residential neighborhood."
The letter makes it clear they are intent on spoiling Helen's permit application, and her pending sale.
One can only surmise why the "Friends" would harass a neighbor and dive to new lows. I think it may be that Helen wasn't a donor of the "Friends", and that was a question I was hoping to ask Loring.
This isn't the first time the "Friends" have harrassed their neighbors. Here are a few other examples:
If you are interested in keeping an eye on what is happening in San Juan County, the Trojan Heron website is a fantastic resource [www.TrojanHeron.blogspot.com].
The green mask is slowly sliding off the face of the "Friends"--their true identity is being revealed.
This and other actions of the "Friends" are generously funded by:
The Bullitt Foundation
Charlotte Martin Foundation
Northwest Fund for the Environment
The Russell Family Foundation
United States Fish and Wildlife Service
Washington State Salmon Recovery Funding Board
National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
Environmental Support Center
Washington Department of Ecology
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife ALEA