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Community Council Meeting of December 10, 2008

Fidalgo School Multipurpose Room, 6:30 PM

South Fidalgo Community Council
December 10, 2008

6:30-7:30 PM

Welcome and Agenda Review
Update on Open Space Plan – Skagit county
Introduction by Dave Pearson
Presentation by Jeroldine Hallberg, Skagit county Planning
Questions/Comments from SFCC
Public questions/Comments


7:35-8:30 PM

1. Organizational Matters
Minutes – November 12, 2008
Financial Update
Mission Statement Progress

2. Updates on Plan of Work

3. Planning
A Year in the Life of SFCC
News story
Report to owner/residents, County Commissioners
January work sessions
Dates, times, and location

4. Next Monthly Meeting
January date, time, and place.






December 10, 2008 Meeting Minutes

The meeting was called to order by Tom Carson at 6:30 p.m. at the Fidalgo Elementary School Multipurpose Room. Elected Councilmembers  - Tom Carson, Robert Atterberry, Dave Pearson, Harold Harrington, Leigh Sawyer and Cyndi Walters were present. Jan Hersey had an excused absence.

Open Spaces Presentation

Dave Pearson made a brief introduction of the guest speaker, Jeroldine Hallberg with the Skagit County Planning Department. Jeroldine presented the Open Spaces Plan for Skagit County.

Jeroldine brought copies of the December 2008 "Skagit County UGA Open Spaces Concept Plan" presented to the SCOG as well as an appendix referring specifically to the City of Anacortes. She also passed out copies of the review schedule with an anticipated completion of April 2009. This includes the public comment period, public hearing, Planning Commission decision and presentation to the Board of County Commissioners.

Jeroldine stated that the plan was instituted in compliance with a settlement from a lawsuit as a requirement for the GMA. The purpose is to create open spaces adjacent and near Urban Growth Area (UGA) so that public lands will be accessible in densely developed areas. She stated that it focuses on 10 UGA's in the County: Anacortes, Burlington, Mount Vernon, Sedro Woolley, Lyman, Hamilton, Concrete, Bayview Ridge, La Conner and the Swinomish Reservation.

A series of questions, suggestions and answers ensued from various SFCC members:

Harold: Will there be increased patrols by Park Rangers and law enforcement? I have concerns about public usage of private property especially after hours.

Jeroldine: This is not likely since all areas of the budget are stressed at this time.

Dave: Why isn't there a list of properties desired for public acquisition?

Jeroldine: It is preferred to establish the concept plan and need for public areas before setting these priorities - especially since every UGA is unique. It is recognized that urban access to trailheads will be needed and the most expensive to acquire. Nonprofit organizations tend to purchase land outside of urban areas and these will need to be linked. Once the plan is approved, we will move forward with implementing.

Dave: Specifically, what is the plan at Summit Park to create access to the Tommy Thompson Trail?

Jeroldine: I appreciate your concerns. A specific plan has not been established but that property will be expensive and difficult to obtain.

Harold: My impression is that this plan is simply a way for the County to architect trails and has absolutely nothing to do with Open Spaces. This plan does not seem to create Open Space for an urban area; it just seems to be concerned with creating trails to link UGA's.

Jeroldine: Surveys indicated that most people are concerned about having trails.

Harold: Who was given the survey and what questions were on the survey?

Jeroldine: Distribution of the surveys was random and geographical by phone number and population.

Dave: Perhaps this plan should be more appropriately named Green Spaces and Trails.

Tom: Are there distinctions between trails and pathways? Do you think interest could be misconstrued because there is no differentiation between a bike trail and a hiking trail? How many people are truly interested in hiking from one UGA to another?

Jeroldine: There is a separate trail commission for the County.

Tom: I would suggest there be a distinction amongst: 1) Open Spaces 2) Trails 3) Transportation

Dave: I believe some Open Spaces issues should not be combined. For example, what allowances are established for camping, dog waste and habitat preservation?

Harold: Human waste is not addressed in this plan. If public access is considered, this could be a major ecological burden.

Jeroldine: As a summation of your concerns, I have the following:

  • 1. Pull the Open Spaces area back closer to the UGA
  • 2. Create more active Open Space near the UGA
  • 3. Create a distinction amongst trail types
  • 4. Address trail impacts and pollution
  • 5. Reduce the number of rural pieces in the plan
  • 6. This plan should be complimentary to rural public areas and not replace these
  • 7. Transportation - safe bikeways need to be created not connective hiking trails with possibly a separator on the road for bicycles
  • 8. Semantics need to be addressed for Green Areas/Trails/Hiking Areas/Parks

Robert: How close is this plan to moving forward with implementation?

Jeroldine: First, this will require an approval process from the schedule I gave to you. Second, this will require implementation. Implementation cannot occur without funding. This would be put on the ballot as a request for a bond. Optimally, a six-year bond would be issued so that the plan can be proven to be functional prior to requesting additional funding. With the current economic situation, it is not likely it will be on this year's ballot.

Organizational Matters

The minutes of November 12, 2008 were approved unanimously, with one minor correction of Dave Crawford being the attendee at the SCOG regional transportation meeting.

Dave Pearson gave a treasurer's report. There is currently $55.79 in the bank. Graphic Concepts was paid $100 for the work done on the logo, Dave stated there are no outstanding or upcoming bills.

The mission statement was briefly discussed and it was decided a final draft would be discussed at the next SFCC meeting.

Plan of Work Updates

Dave brought a book he has been reading. "The Geology of Fidalgo Island" by Terry Slotemaker. This is available at Watermark Books or at the Anacortes Museum.

Harold is working on a Microsoft SQL installation. He would like to build a database in which he can collate the well log information.

Dave and Harold attended a SCOG meeting on Open Spaces. They stated it was very brief.


A fundraising seminar will be part of the meeting protocol in January. Leigh stated she would contact Bev Martin to see if she is available in January.

The information about our first year as South Fidalgo Community Council was distributed to the subscribers. This information was also given to the Anacortes American. Several council members stated they have been contacted for a story in the newspaper.

Meetings for the month of January were discussed. Tom Carson offered to host the first meeting on Wednesday, January 7th at his home. A discussion ensued about administrative meetings versus regular public meetings. It was decided that the two sessions in January for fundraising and regrouping our strategy for the Subarea Plan were administrative and could be held at a council member's home without the public present. The normally scheduled meeting for January will be January 14, 2009 at the Deception Pass Park Foundation Building at 41020 SR 20, Oak Harbor, WA 98277. In order to use this facility, a Park Ranger must be present during the meeting. It was unanimously decided that the meeting time would be retained as 6:30 - 8:30 PM the 2nd Wednesday of each month.

Robert stated that the land across from the Ford Dealership on Highway 20 was purchased by the Samish Tribe. He said rumors were circulating that it might become another casino. Technically, this is not part of the region encompassed by SFCC, but given our goal to preserve and enhance the community, we may want to stay apprised of this development and take action if necessary.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:35 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Leigh Sawyer, Secretary, SFCC

Minutes unanimously approved