To the Editor:
In response to concerns about the future of Consignment Treasures, I want to start by saying that I appreciate Consignment Treasures and the service it provides to the community.
I want to clarify that the Council’s vote on the ordinance amending the 18.30 section of SJC’s code did not change the status of Consignment Treasures. Consignment Treasures has always operated under a Conditional Use Permit (CUP). Our changes to the code do not affect that. Also, the current draft of the Critical Areas Ordinance (CAO) update would not change Consignment Treasures’ ability to continue to operate under their CUP.
A proposal was made to have all recycling collection and processing facilities be allowed outright on lands designated Rural Farm Forest (which is the Consignment Treasures property’s land use designation). This would have allowed every property designated Rural Farm Forest to establish recycling collection and processing facilities that could include intensive traffic volume and industrial or commercial-like activity. State law requires that development regulations be consistent with the goals and policies of the County Comprehensive Plan. My understanding of the Comp Plan is that recycling facilities are not compatible on lands designated Rural Farm Forest. The majority of land in SJC is designated Rural Farm Forest. Most of the people I talk with who live next-door to land designated Rural Farm Forest do not want their neighbor to be able to open a recycling facility.
I also did not support a change that would allow existing recycling facilities to continue to operate as an outright allowable use because this would apply to more facilities than just Consignment Treasures, and some of these other facilities are more problematic for their neighbors.
I agree with the majority of the County Council that the activity of selecting and siting a recycling facility is best addressed through the Essential Public Facility application process and not through amendments to the land use code.
There are other options as well. The County is currently accepting proposals for solid waste services at the Sutton Road properties. I hope that Consignment Treasures will consider a way to relocate all or some of its operations to Sutton Road. My understanding is that if Consignment Treasures wants to continue to operate under their existing CUP and not go through an Essential Public Facilities application process, one option would be establish a separate drop-off location on property with the appropriate land use designation. The Sutton Road property could provide an ideal, and more centrally located, place for Consignment Treasures to establish a drop-off site. This may not require significant infrastructure investment and may even be as simple as parking a Consignment Treasures’ truck. Assuming that self-haul at Sutton Road remains an option, having a Consignment Treasures drop-off location would be most convenient for self-haul garbage and recycling customers to divert reusable and electronic recyclables to Consignment Treasures.
The future of San Juan Island’s solid waste services rests with the proposals for services at the Sutton Road properties. My hope is that there will be several proposals for self-haul garbage, recycling, reuse, and other solid waste services at the Sutton Road properties including Consignment Treasures’.