When it’s hard to get answers through normal, everyday channels- what is left is to go though public records requests or elected officials.

The previous property owner was issued Island County Cease and Desist Order: Case No. 025/14 dated 2/19/15 for storage of junk cars. This Cease and Desist Order indicates several reasons why junk car storage can not be permitted in this residential neighborhood.

A new owner took over the property in early 2017.

From Cease and Desist Order Case No. COV 025/14:

Page 2 of 4 C. No Junk/Salvage yard can be permitted in a Rural Residential Zone.

Page 2 of 4 D. No more than one junk vehicle can be stored on a lot less than one acre in size.

 

But wait- asking questions results learning new ways of thinking.

What we were told by a County Commissioner on Dec 21st, 2017:

“Yes, there was a cease and desist posted a few years ago.  Since then, the ownership of the land changed hands.”

The current property owner “…owns a car dealership…”

“The code states that if the cars are tied to a sales business and the vehicles are fully screened from the street, it is legal.”

There is no legally established permitted use at this property. A fence may be used to cover up vehicles secondary to a legally established permitted use.

The business described above is located elsewhere in Island County.

The business described above is more than 7 miles away. How long would it take to walk from here to there?

Is the business described above located in a Rural Residential Zone?

Is it OK to use a business license at a remote property to export junk cars for storage into a Rural Residential Zone?

Is it OK to use a business license at a remote property to export junk cars into the boundaries of the Penn Cove Watershed and Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve?

Island County Cease and Desist Order Case No. 025/14 dated 2/19/15 for storage of junk cars:

Page 3 of 4 I. Minimum parcel size for home industry is 2.5 acres. In order to operate home industry on parcel- owner must be full-time resident.

There is no permitted residence on this parcel.

The lot in question is less than one acre in size.

County Code 17.03.180 – Land use standards:

“Outdoor storage of junk vehicles may be permitted in association with, and secondary to, a legally established permitted use.”

Island County Cease and Desist Order: Case No. 025/14 dated 2/19/15 tells us that there is no legally established permitted use at this property. 

“…if the cars are tied to a sales business…”

Cars that are sold go home with new owners. They aren’t dumped off in some neighborhood miles down the road near Penn Cove.

 

Why is the Rolling Hills community included in Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve?

What services do Rolling Hills residents receive in exchange for permit fees Re: Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve?

 

County Code 17.03.180 – Land use standards:

Outdoor storage of junk is permitted at a scale and intensity that is commonly associated with, and secondary to, a legally established permitted use; or
b.
At a scale and intensity that exceeds what is commonly associated with and secondary to a permitted use, which may be permitted if all items are completely screened from view through the use of berms, landscaping, fencing and/or existing native vegetation.

Even if the vehicles were permitted, they are not completely screened from view.

“Screening is generally viewed from the public right of way, for enforcement purposes. The fence in this case goes from the front of his property all the way back to the trees. Before (name of property owner) obtained ownership of the land, it was owned by a man that did not have a dealership, and that is when the cease and desist was placed.”

There is no legally established permitted use at this property. A fence may be used to cover up vehicles secondary to a legally established permitted use.

All the way back to the trees? Photo at top of page shows that the fence does not extend all the way back to the trees.

Who made this “all the way back to the trees” report?

The property was last owned by a man that did not have a dealership?

The previous owner also ran the same car dealership.

 

What we were told by a member of the County Planning Staff on Dec 22nd, 2017:

“…an inspection means our code enforcement planner goes out to the site to see what is happening, it does not mean an inspection report has been written up.”

Pretty hard to expect accountability under this system. Who benefits from these protocols?

“Code enforcement case COV 025/14 is under the name of the previous owner of the property, (first & last name) and will most likely be closed out soon as (he/she) does not own the property in question. The case for owner (first and last name) is under COV 228/17, opened by (name of Planning Dept. staff member) to track (his/her) progress on this case under the current owner of the property.”

Looks like Island County Cease and Desist Order: Case No. 025/14 dated 2/19/15 for storage of junk cars will not stand up to questions- so it’s time to phase that out and start with something new.

Conclusion:

Junk cars used to be answered with a Cease and Desist Order. Today, junk cars are OK because of a different owner, a business license for a remote property, or a fence. The county staff performs inspections- but that does not mean an inspection report has been written up. It’s hard to answer questions about the old Cease and Desist Order, so it will be phased out and replaced with something new. Will the county code be phased out if people ask too many questions?

There is no legally established permitted use at this property. A fence may be used to cover up vehicles secondary to a legally established permitted use.

We have had positive interaction with Island County employees in several different situations. County Sheriff’s deputies, Animal Control Officer, Public Works, County Planning Records, County Health Dept. Records, Coupeville Recycling Center, Coupeville dump, renewal of licence plate tabs, the property tax office and the County Auditor for a marriage license.

We are not anti-county or anti-county employees. Several years ago Island County employed a man who worked this case. He always handled things in a businesslike manner. He would come on site and notify us of the status of the case. He kept us informed and knowing what to expect. In 2017 it has been difficult to reach people. The concept of asking to speak to a supervisor has been met with being referred back to the people we have already attempted to interact with. In our normal dealings with the county- we have felt no need to contact a Dept. Director, file a public records request or contact elected officials. With the exception of this case- that’s business as usual all of the time. No complaints.

Background info here: Island County – Junk Cars

Related:

Public Records Request – How Many Junk Cars?

Public Records Request – Fence on North Side?

Public Records Request – All Batteries and Fluids Properly Removed?

Email to State Senator Bailey

Island County Junk Vehicle Mystery How did this photo get into Island County files?

Penn Cove – Storm Water Runoff Project

Junk Cars in Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve

Penn Cove Watershed

Sorry- No Time

 

Find us on Facebook: Junk Cars – Penn Cove Watershed

Twitter: Junk Cars – Island County

 

 

 

Photo-

Cold Case Files of the Penn Cove Watershed and Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve

Tow truck driving past fence that does not extend all the way back to the trees.

Click image twice to show more detail.