We have enjoyed positive interaction with the people who answer Public Records Requests at Island County Planning and the Island County Health Dept.

These people can only provide information that has been previously placed in Island County files.

Island County Planning

We were told that Island County Cease and Desist Order: Case No. 025/14 dated 2/19/15 that was issued to the previous property owner was to be closed out and replaced with a new document: COV 228/17.

We wanted to find out if COV 228/17 indicated that any enforcement action had been taken by Island County Re: junk cars on this property. We requested a copy of this document via Public Records Request. On January 11th, 2018, we received results from Island County.

The handwritten note at the top of this page is the closest thing we got back in the way of any sort of inspection/on site visit report. There was time to photocopy this item for Island County files, but not time to prepare any sort of report? We understand taking notes in the field, but this is the finished product? The final draft? This is how work history is documented? This is how cases are tracked? Who signed off on this?

Several complaints from community members are in the files. Some of these complaints are quite detailed and effort was made to prepare and submit them. The county has not made an effort to check back or monitor this situation. Please compare the photo (date unknown) Island County has on file with the photo record we have been able to put together.

Island County Health Dept.

Applicable Island County Code 17.03.180 – Land use standards. “Junk vehicles shall have all batteries and fluids properly removed and disposed of to protect the groundwater supply pursuant to applicable Island County Health Department regulations.”

We were able to determine that no procedures exist for inspecting junk cars to verify that all batteries and fluids have been properly removed and disposed of to protect the groundwater supply pursuant to applicable Island County Health Department regulations.

We were able to determine that the Island County Health Department has never found any junk vehicle, anywhere in the county, anytime in the past 5 years that was in violation of code.

Please see 8/9/17, 11/21/17 and 12/06/17 below.

 

Timeline:

2/19/15

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.

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.

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.

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.

 

Spring/Summer 2017

Multiple junk cars were towed to this property, which is located within the boundaries of the Penn Cove Watershed and Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve.

 

8/4/2017

We received an email from an Island County Code Enforcement / Current Use Planner on August 4th, 2017.

“So far the violator has produced a fence on the North, South, and Eastern sides of his property.”

How and why did a Code Enforcement/Current Use Planner make this statement on August 4th, 2017?

Details here: Public Records Request – Fence on North Side?

 

8/9/17

Public records request received by Island County Planning on 8/9/17:

I am interested in inspecting any records indicating verification/inspection of vehicles to ensure all batteries and fluids have been properly removed and disposed of to protect the groundwater supply pursuant to applicable Island County Health Department regulations.

Details here:

Public Records Request – All Batteries and Fluids Properly Removed?

 

8/17/17

We asked several times for the total number of cars present at the property next door.

I received an email from a Code Enforcement Planner on August 17th, 2017.

“Thank you for your call regarding (property address). I have a re-inspection at the end of next week and I can let you know the count then.  Thank you very much.”

A re-inspection indicates that one or more inspections have already taken place at (property address).

We never heard back on the number of junk cars on the property. Details here: Public Records Request – How Many Junk Cars?

 

8/29/17

Rusty blue truck towed in. This truck and another vehicle now on the property next door show up in a mystery photo taken at an unknown location. The mystery photo was provided to us by Island County after a public records request Re: junk vehicles was submitted to Island County earlier in 2017.

 

11/21/17

The Island County Health Dept. was out on 11/21/17 to do a report.

Applicable Island County Code 17.03.180 – Land use standards. “Junk vehicles shall have all batteries and fluids properly removed and disposed of to protect the groundwater supply pursuant to applicable Island County Health Department regulations.”

Island County Health Dept. had a chance to properly inspect the vehicles to verify that all batteries and fluids had been properly removed and disposed of.

Island County Health Dept. had a chance to tell the Island County Planning Dept. that this was all a waste of time because no more than one junk vehicle can be stored on a lot less than one acre in size.

Neither of these happened.

Island County Health Dept. reported to themselves that vehicles were not leaking fluids. No further action (NFA).

On 12/06/17 we submitted a public records request and found:

No procedures exist for inspecting junk cars.

No junk vehicle has been found anywhere in Island County, anytime in the past 5 years that was in violation of code.

 

12/06/17

Applicable Island County Code 17.03.180 – Land use standards. “Junk vehicles shall have all batteries and fluids properly removed and disposed of to protect the groundwater supply pursuant to applicable Island County Health Department regulations.”

12/06/17 Public Records Request to Island County Health Department:

Question one-

“I request a copy of any written policies or procedures, checklists, blank forms, or electronic templates used for on-site inspection of junk cars to determine and create a record showing that all batteries and fluids have been properly removed and disposed of to protect the groundwater supply pursuant to applicable Island County Health Department regulations.”

Do any procedures exist for inspecting junk cars to verify that all batteries and fluids have been properly removed and disposed of to protect the groundwater supply pursuant to applicable Island County Health Department regulations?

Question two-

“I request a copy of any record created during the past 5 years showing that any junk vehicle has been identified anywhere in Island County that did not have all batteries and fluids properly removed and disposed of to protect the groundwater supply pursuant to applicable Island County Health Department regulations.”

Has the Island County Health Department ever found any junk vehicle, anywhere in the county, anytime in the past 5 years that was in violation of code?

Jan 11th, 2018 response from Island County:

“After extensive review of our records, we were unable to find any responsive records to either of the aforementioned requests.”  

“This closes out your public records request.”

More here: Public Records Request – Ever Find Any Junk Car in Violation of Code?

 

12/18/17

The last property owner was required to remove junk cars because of a Cease and Desist Order. The cars could only be moved to a pre-approved location.

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

III B.

All vehicles must be relocated to a “…pre-approved location within 30 days…”

We wanted to know what location had been approved by the county as a destination for junk cars.

Public Records Request:

I request all records indicating the location or locations that were pre-approved by the Planning Dept. as a destination for the junk vehicles that were removed from (address) Oak Harbor WA 98277.

Response from Island County:

“There are no responsive records to this request. Also, please remember that case number was issued to property owner (first and last name) and has since been closed as he no longer owns the property in question.
This closes this request.”

So- we can not know how this Junk Car storage case was handled Re: the last property owner?

Property history is not available because “…that case number was issued to property owner (first and last name) and has since been closed as he no longer owns the property in question…”

Island County keeps records- but records are no longer available if the property changes hands?

Property history goes away if the property changes hands?

“…he no longer owns the property in question…”

Has the county code changed? It should remain constant no matter who takes over the property.

Details here: Public Records Request – Property History Goes Away

 

12/19/17

I received an email from a Code Enforcement Planner on August 17th, 2017.

“Thank you for your call regarding (property address). I have a re-inspection at the end of next week and I can let you know the count then.  Thank you very much.”

A re-inspection indicates that one or more inspections have already taken place at (property address).

We never heard back on the number of junk cars on the property.

Public Records Request to Island County Planning on Dec. 19th, 2017:

Please provide all records and inspection reports indicating any visits to (property address) by Code Enforcement Planner (first & last name) that took place before or after this August 17th, 2017 email was sent.

Response from Island County:

No records or inspection reports indicating any visits to (property address) by Code Enforcement Planner (first & last name) took place before or after this August 17th, 2017 email was sent.

I have been told that “…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.”

Details here: Public Records Request – How Many Junk Cars?

 

12/19/17

I received an email from an Island County Code Enforcement/Current Use Planner on August 4th, 2017.

“So far the violator has produced a fence on the North, South, and Eastern sides of his property.”

Dec 19th, 2017 Public Records Request:

Please provide all records and inspection reports indicating any visits to (property address) by Code Enforcement/Current Use Planner (first & last name) that took place before or after this August 4th, 2017 email was sent.

Note: photo at top of page was taken from our back yard on Aug 29th, 2017. View is facing South. Bright colored flowers in lower right of image are on our property. Click image twice to show more detail. Clearly there is no fence between our property and the junk cars in question on Aug 29th, 2017.

How and why did a Code Enforcement/Current Use Planner make this statement on August 4th, 2017:

“So far the violator has produced a fence on the North, South, and Eastern sides of his property.”

Response from Island County:

No records or inspection reports indicating any visits to (property address) by Code Enforcement/Current Use Planner (first & last name) took place before or after this August 4th, 2017 email was sent.

I have been told that “…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.”

Details here: Public Records Request – Fence on North Side?

 

12/21/17

We had asked several times why 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.

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.

Details here: Hard to Get a Straight Answer

 

12/22/17

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.

Details here: Hard to Get a Straight Answer

 

12/22/17

Public Records Request 12/22/17

Take a look at the rusty blue truck just behind the white pickup truck in this photo. 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 on Aug 29th, 2017.

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.

Details here: Public Records Request – Mystery Location

 

1/3/18

We requested a copy of COV 228/17.

We were told on 12/22/17 that this new document would supersede the closed out Island County Cease and Desist Order Case No. 025/14 dated 2/19/15 for storage of junk cars.

Details here: Public Records Request Results 1/11/18

 

Background info here: Island County – Junk Cars

Related:

Whidbey Junk Cars & No Time to Interview People in the Community

Packed In 4 Deep?

Public Records Request – 5 Year History – No Junk Vehicle Found in Violation of Code – Anywhere in Island County

Riepma Ave. Junk Cars

Public Records Request – Ever Find Any Junk Car in Violation of Code?

Email to US Congressman Rick Larsen

Public Records Requests – 2017 Summary

Public Records Request – Property History Goes Away

Public Records Request Mystery Location

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

Many photos here: Penn Cove Watershed

Sorry- No Time

 

Find us on Facebook: Junk Cars – Penn Cove Watershed

Twitter: Junk Cars – Island County

and Rolling Hills Junk Cars