Dan Richman

Island County approves $1 million to conserve Fakkema Farm

Much of the Fakkema Farm, 377 acres of forest and high-grade farmland on north Whidbey Island, could be preserved through up to $1 million in Conservation Futures Fund easements under an enthusiastic, unanimous vote Monday by the Board of Island County Commissioners.

Council of governments looks to state for fireworks ban, transportation aid

Fireworks, regional transportation and vacation rentals led the list of topics addressed Thursday at the Island County Council of Governments’ monthly meeting.

Environmental issues put on hold until new comprehensive plan

Island County wants to address some contentious environmental-protection issues when it releases its new comprehensive plan by June 1, 2016, and not before, according to a Monday filing with the state’s Growth Management Hearings Board.

Beach Watchers set for split from Washington State University

On Jan. 1, the Island County Beach Watchers will part ways with long-time administrator Washington State University and become an independent, non-profit organization with a new name: Sound Water Stewards of Island County.

Growth Management Hearings Board tells Island County to hurry up, comply

A state judicial body last week gave Island County until Nov. 10 to say how and when it will comply with a decision the body issued this summer. But two Island County Commissioners insisted the county will not be pushed.

Island County adopts Shoreline Management Act

After five years of work, Island County has a new plan governing development and permitted activities along its 207 linear miles of seashore and lakefront.

More than $800,000 planned for Island County conservation projects

The public will get a chance next month to weigh in on Island County’s decision whether to spend as much as $818,000 this year conserving land and improving a natural area.

Rural event noise re-emerges as major issue for Island County

Noisy events held on rural land emerged Wednesday night as a major concern for about 30 residents attending one of three meetings island-wide on how best to use rural land.

Decision to force Island County planner out may have run afoul of state sunshine laws

The Board of Island County Commissioners may have violated the state’s Open Public Meetings Act in ousting planning director Dave Wechner and splitting the Planning Department’s leadership, experts said this week.

Planning chief resigns under pressure from Island County commissioners

Island County Planning and Community Development will likely be split in two, with a separate leader for each half, following the surprise resignation Monday of department director Dave Wechner.

County planning chief resigns suddenly, stuns colleagues

County planning director Dave Wechner, who held that job for nearly two and half years, suddenly resigned his position at around noon Monday. In response to a reporter's phone call minutes earlier asking whether rumors of his imminent departure were true, he emailed, "Yes, the county and I are parting ways. I hope to be walking out the door for the last time in the next few minutes."

Study leads to salary hikes for Island County workers

Forty county positions will get substantial salary boosts next year, with one increasing by 19 pay grades.

Island County settles records request failure for $15,000 | CORRECTED

Island County has agreed to pay $15,000 to The Freedom Foundation, an Olympia-based advocacy group, after failing to act on a public-records request. County commissioner Rick Hannold on Monday said he is disappointed the county agreed to the settlement, while a Foundation attorney characterized it as a victory for citizens' rights.

Island County shoreline master program close to commissioners’ approval

A new county shoreline master plan came one step closer to reality Monday when the county’s planning commission unanimously recommended that the Island County Board of Commissioners accept a corrected version of the plan. The board has the final authority on whether the plan goes into effect.

Whidbey Environmental Action Network wins again in wildlife rules challenge against Island County

Island County must protect some ecologically sensitive areas and animals under the state’s Growth Management Act following a decision by the county’s Superior Court on Wednesday. Judge Alan Hancock ruled that the county failed to appeal in a proper and timely manner a June 24 decision by the Growth Management Hearings Board (GMHB). Therefore that board decision remains in force.

Island-wide Thrift Shop Tour set for Friday, Saturday

Prices will drop as much as 25 percent storewide at some of the 10 non-profit Whidbey Island stores participating in this year’s Thrift Shop Tour, said Shawn Nowlin, community outreach coordinator for Good Cheer Food Bank and Thrift Stores. Other stores will deeply discount selected items during the event, to be held Sept. 18-19.

Fakkema Farm, Lone Lake properties eyed for preservation

Conserving Oak Harbor’s Fakkema Farm, 56 acres near Dugualla Lake, and 30 acres of farmland along Lone Lake’s south shoreline, are among the projects on which the public can weigh in at an upcoming meeting.

Island County Planning Commission sets dates for two meetings

The Island County Planning Commission is planning two public meetings to address topics of general interest.

Island County commissioners agree to hire more outside counsel

Island County commissioners on Tuesday hired the Seattle law firm of Short, Cressman & Burgess to provide legal counsel, advice and litigation services. The firm will help the commissioners navigate the unusual litigation surrounding their decision to hire an outside land-use attorney. Prosecutor Greg Banks last month brought a lawsuit against the attorney, Susan Drummond, in Island County Superior Court, claiming that the county’s hiring of her was unconstitutional and a waste of tax dollars.

Skagit/Island Counties home tour set to begin Friday

Media rooms are so 2014. The newest things in home design are outdoor kitchens and “Costco rooms,” a fact that those participating in the upcoming Skagit/Island Counties Builders Association home tour will be able to see for themselves, said the event’s coordinator, Brenda Harter.