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

Each time we have a question- we are referred back to the people who are newest on the job. No disrespect to these folks.

No one in a leadership position has taken a personal interest in this case. We are unable to get straight answers- so we try to verify what we are told via public records requests. This is not fair to the good people who work in public records. A straight answer though normal channels would be best for all.

 

Public Records Request 12/22/17

Take a look at the rusty blue truck just behind the white pickup truck in the photo above. Click image twice to show more detail.
This photo was provided by the county after a public records request Re: junk vehicles was submitted to Island County earlier in 2017.
The same truck was towed onto the property next door to us and added to the collection of junk vehicles there earlier this year.

We asked the county for info on who took the photo at the top of this page and when and where it was taken. Was this photo taken as a result of any inspection report or enforcement action?

County Response:

“There is nothing on this photo that identifies its location.”

‘There is no responsive record for this request. It is hereby closed.”

Translation: We do not know where the photo came from. We provided this photo to you as part of a public records request. You recognize that this photo was not taken next door to your home. You recognised at least two vehicles in this photo that were later moved to the lot next door to your home. This photo is in our files and was provided earlier in 2017 as a result of a public records request about junk cars. We sent the photo to you, the citizen but- we can not say when or where the photo was taken. We can not say how the photo got into our files.

We have no idea if this photo was taken as result of any inspection report or enforcement action.

 

Several emails were provided as a result of recent Public Records Requests.

November 13, 2017:

An email from a Code Enforcement Planner:

“Yes there was a cease and desist posted a few years ago. Since then, the ownership of the land changed hands. Currently (first and last name) who owns a car dealership on (location) owns the lot. According to the code, there is nothing that goes against the number of vehicles he has on property. The code states that if you are tied to a sales business and the vehicles are fully screened from the street that it is legal.”

“According to the code, there is nothing that goes against the number of vehicles he has on property. The code states that if you are tied to a sales business and the vehicles are fully screened from the street that it is legal.”

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.

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.

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.

“17.03.180M.2. b. outdoor storage of junk vehicles may exceed the thresholds established in section M.1. provided that it is secondary to a legally established permitted use…” all vehicles are completely screened from view through the use of berms, landscaping, fencing and/or existing vegetation.”

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.

 

 

Email from from a Code Enforcement Planner to Planning Director on November 13, 2017:

“Also, I pass by this property every day to get to / from work. As it is on my route to work, I am able to monitor the property in the morning and afternoon. Since this summer, I have 1) not actively seen any other vehicle brought onto the property and 2) the screening is effective in administering section 17.03.180M.2.b “all vehicles are completely screened from view…” If you have any more questions please feel free to contact. Thank you.”

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.

Driving by on the county road does not tell the story.

Any potential buyer of our property would surely question this Junk/Salvage Yard operation next door– which can not be permitted in a rural residential zone.

Public records requests show no site visits or enforcement action by the County Planning Dept. in 2017.

 

Email on September 5, 2017

From Code Enforcement Planner to Panning Director:

“The new owner a Mr. (first/last) has been voluntarily complying with his Code violations and is in the process of bringing his property into compliance.”

What are the violations? Is there a report?

Public records requests show no site visits or enforcement action by the County Planning Dept. in 2017.

“The complainant Mr. XXX has been kept in the loop on this one as well. Unfortunately the bad history that he had with the previous owner has created a mess for us because he wants everything gone from the site but that is not what is required for the property to be brought into compliance. Environmental has also been involved with this case to address any alleged violations on that end. Talk with you soon (first name)”

Public records requests show no indication that the County Health Dept. has verified that vehicles have had all batteries and fluids properly removed and disposed of to protect the groundwater supply pursuant to applicable Island County Health Department regulations.

“the bad history that he had with the previous owner has created a mess for us because he wants everything gone from the site but that is not what is required for the property to be brought into compliance.”

I have never met with or spoken on the phone with any Code Enforcement Planner in 2017. I never had any bad history with the previous owner. Where is this coming from?

“…he wants everything gone from the site but that is not what is required for the property to be brought into compliance.”

Never, have I told any person at any time that I want “everything gone from the site…” Where is this coming from?

 

August 16, 2017- email from Code Enforcement Planner to County Commissioner:

“Also, there are no regulations of how many vehicles can be on Ebey’s Landing.”

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.

Is there anything written in County Code or in any other reference that confirms there are no regulations on how many vehicles can be on Ebey’s Landing?

 

Background info here: Island County – Junk Cars

Related:

No Legally Established Permitted Use

Hard to Get a Straight Answer

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

Click image twice to show more detail.