County Council agenda for Sept. 13

Posted September 12, 2022 at 8:42 am by

The San Juan Coun­ty Coun­cil will hold a reg­u­lar meet­ing on Tues­day, Sept. 13 at 9 a.m. The meet­ing includes a pub­lic hear­ing accept­ing tes­ti­mo­ny about emer­gency and sup­ple­men­tal appro­pri­a­tions to the 2022 Coun­ty bud­get. Items up for dis­cus­sion or action include:

The meet­ing also includes a closed ses­sion to dis­cuss mat­ters per­tain­ing to col­lec­tive bargaining.

You can view the live stream of the meet­ing online or attend in per­son at the Coun­cil Leg­isla­tive Hear­ing Room. To make a pub­lic com­ment, sign up pri­or to 9 a.m. on Sept. 13.

Notes from the Island — Sept. 12

Posted September 12, 2022 at 6:30 am by

Have some­thing to share with the Island? Whether the news is big or small, let us know!

County Council to consider proposal for high-density, permanently affordable housing project in Friday Harbor

Posted September 11, 2022 at 8:06 am by

A portion of the undeveloped 1.75 acre lot at the corner of Argyle Ave. and Malcom St.

The San Juan Coun­ty Coun­cil is set to review a pro­pos­al that calls for the devel­op­ment of up to 42 units of low- and mod­er­ate-income rental hous­ing in down­town Fri­day Harbor.

A draft of a Request for Qual­i­fi­ca­tions relat­ed to a 1.75-acre par­cel of Coun­ty-owned land at the cor­ner of Argyle Ave. and Mal­com St. has been pre­pared by the Coun­ty Depart­ment of Health & Com­mu­ni­ty Ser­vices for the Council’s review at Tuesday’s Coun­cil meeting.

“San Juan Coun­ty seeks an expe­ri­enced devel­op­er to part­ner with and enter into a long term, low- to no-cost lease agree­ment for a 1.75-acre par­cel,” accord­ing to the RFQ. “The site presents a unique oppor­tu­ni­ty for a large-scale afford­able hous­ing devel­op­ment serv­ing a vari­ety of income lev­els, pri­mar­i­ly house­holds that earn at or below 80 per­cent of area medi­an income.”

The Fri­day Har­bor Town Coun­cil has agreed to allow den­si­ty of up to 24 units per acre on the prop­er­ty, which means that up to 42 hous­ing units are pos­si­ble if the site is devel­oped to max­i­mum capac­i­ty. The draft RFQ calls for up to 50 per­cent of the new units to be afford­able for mod­er­ate-income house­holds earn­ing between 80 and 115 per­cent of AMI. The oth­er 50 per­cent of the units must be dis­trib­uted between low income (80 per­cent AMI or less), very low income (50 per­cent AMI or less), and extreme­ly low income (30 per­cent AMI or less) levels.

80 per­cent AMI for a fam­i­ly of four in San Juan Coun­ty is rough­ly $70,000 per year.

“The Coun­ty is pre­pared to make sig­nif­i­cant finan­cial con­tri­bu­tions to the project to off­set infra­struc­ture costs,” the draft RFQ says. It also com­mits the Coun­ty to pro­vid­ing frontage improve­ments on the site, includ­ing side­walks, street trees, land­scap­ing, curbs, gut­ters, and street lamps.

In addi­tion, the draft RFQ details design require­ments and pre­ferred approach­es to ener­gy effi­cien­cy. The Coun­ty seeks a devel­op­ment that “main­tains the char­ac­ter and design of the his­toric Argyle neigh­bor­hood in Fri­day Har­bor while max­i­miz­ing allow­able den­si­ty for long-term afford­able hous­ing rental units … As fea­si­ble, [the devel­op­er should] pro­vide solar arrays and ener­gy-effi­cient build­ings, appli­ances, and low-flow or water-effi­cient plumb­ing fix­tures. This will not only help con­serve our water resources; it will low­er util­i­ty costs, which will help main­tain long-term affordability.”

Should the Coun­ty move for­ward with the project, the draft RFQ out­lines a three-step devel­op­er selec­tion process. Coun­ty staff would first eval­u­ate sub­mis­sions and their adher­ence to the stat­ed project goals, pri­or­i­ties, and strate­gies. The Hous­ing Advi­so­ry Com­mit­tee would review the staff reports and present their rec­om­men­da­tions to the Coun­cil. The Coun­cil then has the option to accept or reject the HAC’s rec­om­men­da­tions, or make mod­i­fi­ca­tions to the scope and terms of the project.

Smoke on the water

Posted September 10, 2022 at 8:34 pm by

Zelda is the Animal Protection Society’s pet of the week

Posted September 10, 2022 at 5:55 pm by

The Ani­mal Pro­tec­tion Soci­ety of Fri­day Har­bor shares a look at the adopt­able ani­mal of the week — Zel­da, a five-year-old domes­tic short­hair tabby.

Hi, I’m Zel­da! Although you may have already heard the sto­ry of how I end­ed up in the shel­ter, I’m here to tell you the real, insid­er sto­ry straight from the cat’s mouth — mine.

The sto­ry, as the shel­ter knows it, is that I end­ed up in one of their traps meant for the fer­al cats and imme­di­ate­ly upon real­iz­ing I was too lovey-dovey to be fer­al, they tried to find if I had own­ers. But here’s what only I know, and what only I can tell you: I went into that trap inten­tion­al­ly. I know I’m not fer­al, but that doesn’t mean I’m not street-smart. These smarts led me to real­ize that these traps, once filled, made their way to APS-FH and that’s exact­ly where I want­ed to be. Why you ask? Because although you may notice the beau­ty scars I’ve obtained from a life on the out­side, what I have always real­ly dreamed of, is being some­one’s. I long for the com­fort, safe­ty, and nev­er-end­ing love that comes from being a part of a family.

I made and exe­cut­ed the plan to get here, now I just need you to come adopt me!

Learn more about Zel­da here.

County seeks stolen sign help

Posted September 10, 2022 at 3:44 pm by

The Coun­ty’s Pub­lic Works team requests the pub­lic’s help deal­ing with an increase in stolen street signs.

San Juan Coun­ty is expe­ri­enc­ing a slew of street sign thefts, leav­ing inter­sec­tions and many pop­u­lar roads unmarked. Coun­ty offi­cials are call­ing for the public’s help in find­ing and return­ing miss­ing street signs.

In the last two months, 13 signs were stolen, bring­ing 2022’s total to 35 stolen signs. Used for more than nav­i­ga­tion by locals and vis­i­tors, street signs are imper­a­tive for the Sher­if­f’s Office, EMS, fire­fight­ers, and oth­er emer­gency and util­i­ty ser­vices who rely on accu­rate signage.

Each road sign costs around $250 to replace if the post and brack­et can be sal­vaged. These replace­ments are paid for by tax­pay­er dollars.

Pub­lic Works crews are work­ing quick­ly to replace the miss­ing signs, but in doing so are being pulled away from oth­er impor­tant duties like mow­ing, road repair, and main­te­nance projects. That’s why the depart­ment is ask­ing for the public’s help in track­ing down and return­ing stolen signs or urg­ing friends and fam­i­ly to leave signs in place.

The depart­ment would like to thank the anony­mous cit­i­zen who brought back sev­en of the stolen signs to the Guard St. office. Oth­ers wish­ing to pro­vide the same ser­vice are encour­aged to return signs – no ques­tions asked – to 1000 Guard St. in Fri­day Harbor.

Freezer Burned: Tales of Interior Alaska

Posted September 10, 2022 at 10:33 am by

Freez­er Burned is an ongo­ing series for the San Juan Update, writ­ten by Steve Ulvi. Read the pre­vi­ous sto­ry in this series.

Trou­ble at the Ramparts

The full moon loomed high in the sky; the fad­ing cre­pus­cu­lar light of mid-after­noon gave in eas­i­ly to the rush­ing tide of night. The radi­ant moon­glow cre­at­ed spec­tac­u­lar soft light­ing; grey-blue shad­ows from tall wil­lows and trees along the riv­er bank lat­ticed on reflec­tive snow. Son­ny was glad to save on pre­cious head­lamp bat­ter­ies. He filled up on snow­shoe hare stew using the last of some pre-cooked rice from Ada; stand­ing on a cush­ion of spruce boughs, rotat­ing front to back near a sub­stan­tial “white man’s blaze” to stave off the pen­e­trat­ing cold. He mar­veled think­ing about his Atha­paskan ances­tors liv­ing suc­cess­ful­ly for thou­sands of years through the long win­ter nights with­out arti­fi­cial light.

The Ram­parts Cliffs shone bone-col­ored in the reflect­ed lunar light; the maw of the canyon, the gates to the upper Kuuk Riv­er. Son­ny sought the respite of heat­ed space again. Ram­parts Cab­in, only two or three miles away as the raven flies, was still twice that dis­tance trudg­ing on the sin­u­ous riv­er. Repet­i­tive hoots from Great Horned Owls, asked and answered, punc­tu­at­ed the night.

After he drift­ed to sleep in his tarped sleep­ing bags, he was dream­ing of snow­ma­chines speed­ing around his vil­lage of Tonas­ket with­out rhyme or rea­son. The dis­rup­tion was the plague of boot­leg­ging in a dry com­mu­ni­ty after the arrival of sum­mer fire-fight­ing pay­checks in the mail. Elsa Hen­der­son was roman­ti­cal­ly present and a con­fus­ing ele­ment in the nether­world of emo­tions. Son­ny wak­ened; star­tled to hear actu­al snow­ma­chines loud­ly announc­ing human trav­el in the motion­less dense air. At first, he thought that they were com­ing right into camp and sat up con­fused, grop­ing for his head­lamp. He soon real­ized that they were near­ly a quar­ter mile away, across the riv­er from his siwash camp; bounc­ing head lights sweep­ing the frozen shore. A dog-hair stand of young spruce around him hid his dying fire, smoke spi­ral­ing heavenward.

No longer alone in the vast land­scape, Son­ny was imme­di­ate­ly jolt­ed from tired slum­ber to stress­ful spec­u­la­tion. He knew that it had to be that damned Pok­er Creek crew. They were run­ning hard. It was cold, maybe ‑40F. Vil­lagers had no rea­son to be trav­el­ling way up here. Most of them would be hun­kered by the stove and blan­ket­ing doors or has­sling with haul­ing in more wood. Those vil­lagers often paid out­ra­geous prices for green wood as skimpy piles dis­ap­peared rapid­ly in try­ing to main­tain heat in their old drafty cab­ins. Some homes had two or even three wood­stoves requir­ing reg­u­lar stok­ing like the boil­ers on the small stern­wheel­ers that once served Tonas­ket. Besides, he thought, bad things often hap­pened with snow­ma­chines oper­at­ing in rub­ber and plas­tic break­ing tem­per­a­tures. Must be a damn good rea­son for run­ning in this cold; at night. Con­tin­ue Reading

Notes from the Island — Sept. 10

Posted September 10, 2022 at 8:00 am by

Have some­thing to share with the Island? Whether the news is big or small, let us know!