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Town Council to hire hearing examiner to consider Holliwalk appeal

LWVSJ Observer Corps* summary of the Friday Harbor Town Council, March 21, 2024 meeting. The mayor announced that the Council previously had decided to reopen the Holliwalk appeal and variance request but was postponing doing so at the request of the Home Trust. He announced there would be a second executive session in addition to the one on the agenda. 

During public access, an SJI resident said they appreciated that the Town Council was doing some parliamentary training, noting that non-town residents have a lot of interest in town matters and expressed the hope the town would be able to move forward to support the construction of more affordable housing. 

The mayor noted that due to scheduled parliamentary training the allotted time that day for administrative appeal on San Juan County Fairgrounds water use was brief and the matter would be opened but continued to another date and was unlikely to allow time that day for public comment. They opened the hearing and invited County Deputy PA John Cain to present the county’s case. He said he estimated his presentation would take 90 minutes. After a lengthy discussion among the council and between the council and Cain, the council decided to continue the hearing at a special meeting, the date and time to be determined jointly by the town and Count and public notice given when set. 

The Council then had a training session via Zoom on how to use parliamentary procedure to run efficient, courteous, and productive meetings in local government bodies. Among other things, the training addressed how to properly manage motions and amendments, ensure everyone has a chance to speak their views, how to handle public comment and how to keep order. 

After the two scheduled executive sessions, the council approved two motions. The first was to direct staff to engage a hearing examiner of the council’s choosing to consider the Holliwalk appeal and the matter of frontage improvements. The second was a motion to empower the hearing examiner to also hear the Home Trust’s design variance request. 

The town administrator reported that she was working with the Small Communities Initiative to seek funding for water and wastewater treatment projects. The engineering firm Brown and Caldwell is also researching potential financing. The town is negotiating the lease renewal with the county for the transfer station. In trying to figure out what to do with the town’s vintage fire trucks, the administrator talked to the historical museum which would be very interested in displaying the trucks and other firefighting history/memorabilia which would probably involve a new building.

On April 12 there will be a tree planting in Sunken Park to mark Arbor Day.

The Seattle Times had an article about state health statistics reporting that San Juan County has the highest life expectancy in the state. 

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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