Notes from Friends

Friends of Skagit County                                                                                                      December 2003

The year in review.

By June Kite


Friends of Skagit County celebrated our 10th Anniversary this year.  It is amazing to think back on how far we have come, and how much hard work lies ahead.  Our work this past year included:

Ø       Speaking out against UGA expansions in Mount Vernon and Burlington

Ø       Tracking and commenting on the sub-area plan  for Bayview and the initial efforts for Fidalgo Is.

Ø       Trying to get the County to move forward with an effective Non-motorized Transportation Plan

Ø       Speaking out against poor public process in: legalizing the Dodge Valley pickle plant; a water line extension; the environmental review for a new plant next to the March Point heronry; and the County’s use and application of  “Administrative Interpretations”

Ø       Endorsed proposed changes to city codes to allow Cottage Housing in Anacortes

Ø       Finalized WWGM Hearings Board cases on Conservation and Reserve Development; allowed uses in Rural Marine Industrial zone; density issues in the Big Lake Rural Village; and the necessity of adopting a Growth Monitoring Indicators Program before processing Comp Plan amendments.

Ø       Maintained our office, which serves as a meeting place and resource center, and as a repository for the organization’s extensive files.

Ø       Published our newsletter, maintained and grew our email list, launched a web site, and grew our membership.

Ø       Took our message to local festivals.

Ø       Co-sponsored a workshop on best practices for design and construction of bikeways.

Ø       Gave away 2000 tree seedlings for Earth Day.

Ø       Sponsored programs exploring “Community”

Ø       Continued negotiations with the County on unresolved Hearings Board appeals (e.g. Lot
Aggregation, Rural Sign Ordinance, etc.)

It has been a busy and productive year. 

            In November at our Annual Meeting we heard from our attorney David Bricklin.  He has been involved in Growth Management for many years and has very valuable experience in land use planning.  He spoke about “Transfer of Development Rights” (TDRs) as one


































Inside This Issue


Why do I waste…..  Pete Shainin


The year in review,  June Kite


Fundraising efforts, Joan Drinkwin


Book Review, L. & B. Craner


From our mailbag


2003 Annual Meeting, Gene Derig


Volunteer Opportunities

continued on p. 2


























Book Review


by Lyle & Barbara Craner


We were given the book “The Home Town Advantage” by Stacy Mitchell to review.  Stacy Mitchell is a researcher for the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and in this book writes a very compelling argument for maintaining independent, locally owned, small businesses.  This book should be of interest to our members since the author gives the reader a look at how some of the SmartGrowth principles work in everyday life.  Friends of Skagit County through our SmartGrowth program advocates for walkable communities.  People and shops in the community contribute to its uniqueness and make the community an interesting place to walk.  A community could have all the stores one would need to maintain daily living and be within walking distance of one’s living quarters.  Just take along a shopping cart to carry the goods home.

Stacy Mitchell gives examples of a community where the people come together to decide how that community should grow.   When the people in a community are vocal they can set meaningful standards for livable growth.

In this global economy it is difficult for independent business to compete.  Suppliers give advantages/incentives to the “big box stores” because they can buy in very large quantities. This puts the smaller stores in a very difficult position.  We recommend this book to all residents of Skagit County, and challenge all FOSC members to do  what they can to support local businesses.  ¨


From our mailbag….


…as community, your diligence & like-mindedness is so very appreciated by me.


…These days, memories of years ago are better than yesterdays.  Don’t you love our politicos – “rushing to the bottom” at full speed?  We are in for a rough ride.


… Thank you for all you do.







We need your support


by Joan Drinkwin


Another year is beginning and Friends of Skagit County is assessing its finances and planning for the new year.  As our members know, we will be monitoring closely the comprehensive plan updates of all jurisdictions in the county.  We will be continuing our Skagit SmartGrowth public education program.  And we will, as always, make ourselves available to citizens with questions and concerns about land use issues and processes.  We are always very busy.


And we need money.


We are in the process of finalizing our fundraising plan for 2004.  One fun activity we are carrying over from 2003 is a raffle of one of Lee Mann’s limited edition photographs.  Lee, a longtime Friends supporter, donated this photo to us after his exhibit at our office last spring.  The photograph is 37” X 27”, matted and framed.  It is an image of wild swans taking off into flight and it is inspiring, surprising, and celebratory all at once, without a hint of sentimentality.  Come view the photograph at our Mount Vernon office at 110 N. 1st Street.  Raffle tickets are $5.00 and the drawing will be held in spring or summer of 2004 (we’ll know after we finalize our fundraising plan).  You do not have to be present to win.  You don’t even have to come to our office to purchase a ticket.  Just fill out the attached raffle ticket and send it with your check to our office.

We are also launching a series of house parties to raise funds and build our membership.  Anyone can host a party.  Friends will supply information to you and a speaker if you wish.  We ask that you invite friends, family, and neighbors, show them a good time, and give them an opportunity to financially support Friends (read…jar at the door) and learn about us (read…brochures or display…).  If you are interested, or just curious, leave a message at our office, 419-0988, and our fundraising committee chair, Joan Drinkwin, will contact you. ¨







































Volunteer Opportunities


We need help with the following work in 2004.  Please let us know if you are willing and able to assist.


___  I will recruit at least one new member


___  I will sell Raffle Tickets


___  I will work a 3-hour shift at the Art Exhibit


___  I will host and organize the opening reception

        for the Art Exhibit/Sale


___  I will host a House Party


___  I will help with the FOSC Yard Sale


___  I will donate items for a Silent Auction


___  I will solicit donations for a Silent Auction


___  I will help with mailings


___  I will attend at least one public hearing on a

       FOSC issue


___  I will staff the FOSC booth at festivals


___  I will help with the member survey to identify

       priority issues in the Comp Plan revision


___  I will donate refreshments for a FOSC event




Phone Number:


Thank you for offering to help!


2003 Annual Meeting


By Gene Derig


The Friends of Skagit County 2003 Annual meeting was in a building set among the trees and other natural flora of Shannon Point.  It was a dank, chill day outside but the warm room, good food, lively conversation and interest shown by all who attended more than compensated for the weather.  It was a great place to have an annual meeting.

Joan Drinkwin challenged members to help the Board with our fund-raising efforts.  At present she is selling raffle tickets for a stunning framed photo of  “Trumpeter Swans” by Lee Mann.

There was plenty of time to rub elbows, eat, and visit prior to the program, which was an informal talk by David Bricklin, land use attorney.  Mr. Bricklin has been an advocate of good land use policy for many years and has provided FOSC, as well as other smart growth advocates, with valuable assistance over time.  After year-in-review and good-of-the-order comments by Judy Dudley and June Kite, Ken Osborn presented awards to four long-time FOSC members:  Howard Pellett for his past service in getting FOSC up and running a decade ago; Margaret Yeoman for her longtime service to FOSC and to the smart growth effort overall; June Kite whose gentle but relentless efforts as President have left their mark on FOSC; and to Gene Derig, Secretary, for learning while he wrote.  All four were given individualized certificates, cards of appreciation and a Christmas Cactus.  (Thanks to Barbara Craner for getting the cacti—that is a story you should ask her about.)

After presenting a brief overview of the GMA, David Bricklin discussed Lot Aggregation, a contentious issue in Skagit County.  Some see it as a “takings” issue, while those who work for smart growth planning believe that a weak Lot Aggregation ordinance will allow thousands of substandard lots to be developed in resource lands.  A poor ordinance will result in sprawl and the destruction of farms and timber lands.  Following his talk, there was a question and answer period.  There was definite concern, if not outright fear among many in attendance that local politics, in the interest of short term gain, will ruin this area forever; that poor land use choices will destroy not only the natural beauty—which represents an economic resource in and of itself—but damage the ability of Skagit County to continue to provide economic viability in forests and farm lands as well.

The meeting ended informally around 6 PM.  I heard many compliments about the setting, the program and the food as people chatted on their way out the door and into the parking lot. ¨