Opinion

Editorials

"Give communities planning powersFreeland and Clinton residents would like some say in what happens in their communities. Island County government should make every effort to see that it happens.Both communities have been involved in a county-inspired planning process. Clinton's planning committee disbanded after deciding to remain a Rural Area of More Intense Development under the county's zoning plan. They opted not to become a more densely developed Non Municipal Urban Growth Area (NMUGA).Freeland's committee continues to plan, although no determination has been made whether to stay a RAID or become an NMUGA. The county favors the latter, as it would fit neatly with its comprehensive plan. But the decision is still Freeland's to make.Clinton has made its decision. Freeland too may decide to stay a RAID. As we have stated many times, South Whidbey residents don't oppose growth, but they don't want to encourage it, either. So if Freeland decides to remain a RAID it should come as no surprise.Whatever the decision, Island County should give each community some limited project and zoning review authority. That can be done next time the comprehensive plan is updated. Tell the communities what is being planned for their area, and ask for input on design, if nothing else. Then there will be no gas station and storage unit surprises as Freeland recently experienced, and citizens will feel they have some say in how their community develops.Not much action this election yearSouth Whidbey voters were guaranteed a boring election year due to the dearth of filings for public office last week.There won't even be a primary election. That would have required three candidates for one position. The fact was, we were lucky one person applied for many of the positions.Barring write-in candidates, there won't be a contested election for either Langley City Council or South Whidbey School Board. In each case, only one person is running for each open position. In a democracy that's too bad. There are city and education issues that need to be discussed that won't be. The Port of South Whidbey faces the same situation with only one candidate for its position.Choices in November will be scant, but they will exist. Two candidates, Dennis Benning and Dennis Webster, are seeking the same Fire District 3 board seat. For South Whidbey Parks and Recreation, Carl Westling and David Morphew are after the same position. Thanks to them, there will be a reason to go to the polls in November.Although the lack of candidates is lamentable, we should appreciate all those who did apply for the positions. No matter how small the district, it takes a great deal of time, energy and dedication to do the job well. "

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