FOSC Appeal of Skagit Enviornmental Bank a wetland bank
project proposed by Clear Valley Environmental Farm, LLC
in Whatcom Superior Court, Friday, March 12, 2010.
Friends of Skagit County
WHAT: Appeal of
the grading permit requested by Clear Valley
Environmental Farm for the Skagit Environmental Bank, a
396 acre wetland mitigation bank.
March, 12, 2010 at 1:30 pm. The hearing is open to the
public. The case will be considered as part of a docket
of other cases and is likely to be heard later in the
Superior Court 3, 311 Grand Avenue, Bellingham, WA.
appealed the grading permit requested by Clear Valley
because the project will move up to 1.3 million cubic
yards of soil and render 396 acres of prime agricultural
land useless for future farming. The land is currently
zoned Ag-NRL and has been in active farming since Skagit
The Skagit Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) refused
to hear Friend's appeal request and issued a letter
saying the Hearing Examiner's remand hearing decision
stands. Friends has asked the court to determine whether
the Commissioners must hear the appeal under the rule of
Friends appealed the County's approval of the shoreline
and grading permits and SEPA determination beginning in
2006 to the County Hearing Examiner and the BOCC. The
BOCC sent the appeal back to the Examiner for further
consideration of flooding and other issues in 2009. The
Examiner issued a remand decision to allow the project
and Friends appealed the remand decision.
Clear Valley requested Commissioner Wesen recuse himself
from hearing Friends' appeal to the BOCC because of the
appearance of a conflict of interest. CommissionerWesen
was President of the Skagit Farm Bureau (SFB) when the
SFB appealed the Clear Valley SEPA request for the bank
project. The SEPA appeal was dismissed by the Hearing
A conflict of interest and recusal from sitting in a
judicial capacity is determined by the elected official.
Statements made during campaigns are exempt from the
conflict of interest rule of the Fairness Doctrine.
FOSC argued that if Commissioner Wesen's conflict of
interest was valid, then the other two Commissioners
should also recuse themselves, since all three had
passed a moratorium on wetland mitigation banks.
Commissioners Dahlstedt and Dillion then recused
themselves and none of the commissioners heard the
As we understand it, Skagit County is self-insured
through a risk pool of counties. The attorney for the
risk pool determined the County's should not risk
liability for Clear Valley's threatened claim of "loss
of business and damages" by hearing the appeal.
Under the rule of necessity, officials with appearances
of conflicts of interest must un-recuse themselves and
hear cases where there is no other entity to do so. FOSC
asked the Skagit County Court to determine if the rule
of necessity applies and whether the BOCC must hear the
Please send your contribution to
Friends today! Any amount is appreciated.
This Superior Court appeal cost
$8,000 and we cannot continue without your support!
Friends began the appeal of the Clear Valley proposed
wetland mitigation bank over 3 years ago and is the sole
remaining appellant. 396 acres of prime agricultural
land will never be farmed
again if the project is
permitted. Thanks to all who have already sent their
Tell your friends to send whatever amount they can to
FOSC, P.O. Box 2436, Mount Vernon, WA 98273-2436 or use
a credit card to contribute at any social network site
like NETWORK FOR
GOOD. You can also go to
www.friendsofskagitcounty.org for more information and
to contribute using Network for Good, click on Get
Involved. Thanks for helping us save Skagit farmland!