SJI Grange #966 Resolution Concerning Proposed Greenhouse Regulations in San Juan County

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Washington State, San Juan Island Grange #966, Friday Harbor

RESOLUTION CONCERNING PROPOSED GREENHOUSE REGULATIONS IN SAN JUAN COUNTY

Context Garden and ShedWHEREAS, the mission of San Juan Island Grange #966 begins, “to support a resilient community of growers, makers, and keepers, to foster social and political engagement;” and

WHEREAS, greenhouses are essential infrastructure for both home and commercial growers on San Juan Island in order to extend the growing season; and

WHEREAS, greenhouses contribute to food security for our ferry-dependent island community; and

WHEREAS, greenhouses are essential infrastructure for commercial growers to increase not only the growing season but also their farm income; and

WHEREAS, the issues addressed in the July 21, 2015 proposed San Juan County code amendments and new sections address impacts experienced by some neighbors of greenhouses, including noise, odor, artificial light emission, landscape screening, and the size and/or scale of buildings, which are all issues that impact neighbors with regard to all structures and should be addressed as such, not only in terms of greenhouses; and

WHEREAS, the July 21, 2015 proposed San Juan County code amendments and new sections would place an undue burden on both home and commercial growers who depend upon the use of greenhouses; and

WHEREAS, the July 21, 2015 proposed San Juan County code amendments and new sections would conflict with San Juan County Code (SJCC) 18.30.052 Right to farm and forestry provisions, and in particular (emphasis added), “The following shall not be considered a nuisance: agricultural and forestry activities, lumber mills operating between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., facilities, or appurtenances thereof, conducted or maintained for commercial agricultural or forestry purposes on land designated as rural general use, rural farm-forest, rural industrial, rural commercial, agricultural resource, or forest resource. … The required disclosure statement is as follows: San Juan County has determined that the use of real property for agricultural and forestry operations is a high priority and favored use in the county. The county will not consider to be a nuisance those inconveniences or discomforts arising from such operations, if such operations are consistent with commonly accepted best management practices in compliance with local, state, and federal laws. If your real property includes or is within 500 feet of real property designated as Rural General Use, Rural Farm Forest, Rural Industrial, Rural Commercial, Agriculture, or Forestry, you may be subject to inconveniences or discomforts arising from such farming and forestry operations, including but not limited to noise, tree removal, odors, flies, fumes, dust, smoke, the operation of farm and forestry machinery during any 24-hour period, the storage and disposal of manure, and the application of permitted fertilizers and permitted pesticides. One or more of these inconveniences may occur as a result of agricultural and forestry operations which are in conformance with existing laws and regulations;” and

WHEREAS, the July 21, 2015 proposed San Juan County code amendments would conflict with the San Juan County Economic Development Element which was adopted unanimously by the current San Juan County Council and which states (emphasis added):

  • 10.1.A Overarching Goals. Goal: Support efforts to improve infrastructure that strengthens the economy and creates jobs.
  • 10.2.B Economic Goals, Policies & Actions. Goal 2: Improve Infrastructure: Action G: Support development of infrastructure, such as commercial hubs and cold storage facilities, necessary for the production and distribution of agricultural products and related value-added products on the major islands. … Goal 4: Strengthen Traditional Industries. Policy A: Promote actions that protect and enhance construction, marine resource industries, agriculture, aquaculture and other traditional industries, including establishment of infrastructure such as commercial kitchens, and support of workforce development and training in these trades.
  • 10.4.B Major Industries: Agriculture Sector … Increased construction of greenhouses and hoop houses have allowed year-round production of crops that would typically die in the cold winter weather, and also help production of heat-loving crops such as tomatoes, melons, and some herbs. Working to help new farmers to establish successful farms, developing adequate access to ag-processing infrastructure, expanding local and regional marketing opportunities, and adopting scale appropriate state and local regulations will foster farm businesses and support a thriving local farm economy;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the San Juan Island Grange #966 advocate against the adoption of any regulations specific to greenhouses; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that addressing impacts to neighbors related to noise should include all structures and are appropriately addressed in SJCC 9.06 Noise Ordinance, assuming that there is no conflict with SJCC 18.30.052 Right to farm and forestry provisions; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that addressing impacts to neighbors related to odor should include all structures and are appropriately addressed in SJCC 18.40 Performance and Use-Specific Standards, assuming that there is no conflict with SJCC 18.30.052 Right to farm and forestry provisions; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that addressing impacts to neighbors related to artificial light emissions should include all structures and are appropriately addressed in SJCC 18.60.170 Lighting; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that addressing impacts to neighbors by requiring landscaping should include all structures and are appropriately addressed in 18.60.160 Landscaping with an exemption for greenhouses given that greenhouses are sited and are required to maximize sunlight, which landscaping would obstruct; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that addressing impacts to neighbors related to the size and/or scale of buildings should include all structures and be addressed in the appropriate section(s) of the San Juan County Code; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that a narrative of this resolution be prepared by the Executive Committee in the form of a letter to the editor and submitted to all San Juan County media; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that this resolution be submitted to the San Juan County Council with a request for actions that align with this resolution.

Adopted this 2nd of September 2015 at the regular meeting of San Juan Island Grange #966

Supporting documents:

July 21, 2015 Report to the San Juan County Council on Regulating Greenhouses: http://sanjuanco.com/Docs/CAgendadocs/08-03-2015/Regulating_Greenhouses_08032015.pdf

SJCC 18.30.052 Right to farm and forestry provisions: http://www.codepublishing.com/wa/sanjuancounty/html/sanjuancounty18/sanjuancounty1830.html#18.30.052

San Juan County Economic Development Element of the Comprehensive Plan: http://sanjuanco.com/Planning/docs/CompPlan/Final_Version_EDE_Effective_12-31-14.pdf

Ordinance No. 15-2014 A 2014 Docket Ordinance Adopting Section B, Element 10, Economic Development Element to the San Juan County Comprehensive Plan: http://sanjuanco.com/council/docs/ordinances/2014/Ordinance%2015-2014%20Adopting%20Sect.%20B,%20Element%2010,%20Economic%20Development%20Element%20to%20SJC%20Comp%20Plan.pdf