Hearing examiner errs on setback
On Aug. 25, Okanogan County Hearing Examiner Dan Beardslee gave a belated setback variance for the house next to me, built in 2011, after it had been turned down twice by the planning commission. The house was built 12 feet from my property line. I assumed it was legal as the county inspected it. Three years ago, the owners turned it into an overnight rental without a permit from the county. My family uses our cabin a lot in the summer and missed the privacy that we once had so last summer I decided to go to the planning commission to find out how high I could build a privacy fence. This is when I found that the plot plan that they were issued showed very clearly that they were to build their cabin 35 feet from my property line, which placed it in the middle of their 100-foot lot. That’s a difference of 23 feet! I felt this was far from an honest mistake and was very upset by it and thought the county should do something about it.
Beardsley said in his decision that “the record is completely devoid of any evidence that would suggest that approval of this variance would be detrimental to public welfare.” This never had anything to do with public welfare. It had to do with infringement of my property rights and my privacy. I’m the only member of the public that is affected by this decision! While I may have mentioned that the house blocked some of my view, it was my privacy.
What bothers me the most, however, is that Beardsley said in his report that “because the situation hasn’t changed in eight years since the house was built, Jensen’s claim “seems disingenuous at best” and “hardly rises to a detriment to the public welfare.”
Really? That is calling me not only less than honest, but dishonest at best. I have not said one dishonest thing in this whole affair. I consider this defamation of my good name, and even worse coming from a public office holder who claims he is acting in behalf of the public welfare. I think Mr. Beardsley owes me a public apology and then he should be fired.
Putting ‘me’ ahead of ‘we’
While driving into Winthrop on Friday, (Sept. 17) I first encountered a small group of young people on the lower bridge with placards waving about “No Vax.” I first thought it must be a school play on the bridge practicing. But then as I drove into town and across the upper bridge I found a larger group of adults with signs stating “Promote Early and Preventable Treatment; Forced Vax is Wrong; We Want Freedom to Choose; No to Medical Mandates”; and a banner entitled “End the Mandates” www.WakingUpWashington.com.
I have always supported freedom to choose — expressing your opinion without fear. I have been pro-choice all my adult years. However, when that choice impinges on the health and safety of society, then it is not an individual choice to make. For example, we as a society have determined that smoking in airplanes and driving drunk are not individual choices to make. Clearly this group of protesters think children are expendable. They display no regard for the welfare of the very health care workers who will be responsible for them once they get sick from COVID-19 or its Delta Variant. What makes this group of Methow Valley residents put “me” ahead of “we”?
We are one and all in this together. Please, let’s act for the best interest of everyone, including our children, health care workers, first responders, fire fighters, grocery store workers, our elders, neighbors and friends. Together we make a stronger union against this virus.