Think It Cannot Happen to You? To Whatcom County? To Middle America USA?

Via Richard Fox, from JoAnn Walker, a personal story of a property owner who’s lost most of the value of her land to the Swinomish decision.  Very impassioned and very true.  Am wondering how many elected representatives will show up at our July 7th Town Hall in Concrete.

Gary

—–Original Message—–
From: Richard Fox
Sent: Friday, July 01, 2016 9:08 AM
To:

Subject: FW: Good day – this topic NEEDS to be brought up!!! You

All,

I received this from JoAnn Walker yesterday and ask her if I could forward it on to you. She said yes, and gave us permission to forward it on to our contacts, also. JoAnn and Steve have supported our lawsuit from the beginning and has sent this letter to our Representatives, Governor, and Dori Munson hoping to get a reply from them. It was too long for the paper.

Richard

—–Original Message—–

From: Joann Walker

Sent: Thursday, June 30, 2016 9:39 AM

To: Richard Fox

Subject: Good day – this topic NEEDS to be brought up!!!

Good day – this topic NEEDS to be brought up!!!

You can connect me at XXX-XXX-XXXX If you any questions

My move to Skagit Valley…

Two bald eagles roost in a bare tree in Washington's Skagit Valley as the nearly full moon rises behind them. Hundreds of bald eagles winter in the Skagit Valley where they can feast on spawned out salmon in the Skagit River.
Two bald eagles roost in a bare tree in Washington’s Skagit Valley as the nearly full moon rises behind them. Hundreds of bald eagles winter in the Skagit Valley where they can feast on spawned out salmon in the Skagit River.

I’ve been visiting the Skagit Valley since 2002. First coming up here, I was welcomed with lots of beautiful surroundings and wonderful people. This land-trees-water-MT’s, all such a lush canvas with many shades of green and blue. Every time it came to going for a ride, it seems that the Skagit River was always calling. So, after several stays, in several areas, over several years, it was the Birdsview area that was drawing the attention. The snow, Baker Lake, Skagit River, the Eagles, the Elk, the people that live & work here.

Skagit RiverSo, we chose to buy 2 lots in the Forest Park Estates. This new subdivision consisted of 1 acre lots. All paved roads with street lights. All underground utilities, some had wells & others didn’t. No houses have been built yet – what an opportunity! My husband, being a building contractor, chose the lots we wanted and within months had the wells permitted by Skagit county, installed and began planning to build and move. Bought these lots in April 2012 and began pulling permits immediately and started prepping land and began building in Jan 2013. The house passed final inspection the Night Before Christmas, 2013. We were ready to build on out from the beginning of our other lot!

But! That’s when the word got out in the Valley, of this water rights issue being enforced. I say being enforced, because after reading about this, and attending a few CAPR meetings, this has been going on here for 20 years now!  CAPR is Citizens Alliance for Property Rights. They have been assisting and fighting this fight with us.  So – this was never mentioned to us when we were looking into moving to this area. Never mentioned within the real estate transaction i.e.: disclosure laws? –  Nothing was ever mentioned by Skagit County! I’m told this was not an issue when we purchased these properties and I say no, this has been in the courts for 20 years now! This literally blindsided us in the greatest way! Who steps up and takes responsibility for the fact that this was intentional, deliberate, that this water rights issue was NEVER mentioned. There are 500 houses in Skagit Valley in the same predicament I’m in and with countless building lots. WHO is going to be held accountable for this debacle? Washington State is a failure in so many levels!

We not only moved here for personal reasons, but moved here to continue what we do, Build homes. That’s why we bought 2 lots. Now here we are. Moved to a new area where we cannot conduct our business that we have been doing for over 25 years.

Figured out that within 18 months of moving here to Skagit County, we have lost $400,000, by being prevented to work, due to this Water Rights Issue.

So here it is:  If you get your water thru a PUD, you have no problem. If your well was drilled before 2001, you have no problem. But, If your well was drilled after 2001, you have a BIG problem. YOU HAVE NO WATER RIGHTS ON YOUR OWN PROPERTY!! You cannot build – you cannot sell your house, because you have no water rights. Well I take that back. You can sell, but lose 75% of your investment! This ruling is effecting the economy here.

  • Skagit River FarmingReal Estate agents can’t sell properties now.
  • Builders can’t build.
  • Well Drillers can’t drill.
  • Lumber yards can’t sell lumber for building.
  • All subcontractors are hurting.
  • Local businesses have taken a hit.
  • Big $$$ being lost here.

So immediately after moving here, the fight for water rights have been just that – A FIGHT! Where else can you by property, property that was, intended for development.

Within 1 year, you are told there’s no more building permits being issued and your property has no water rights? Even though we just installed a well that was approved by the county? Where can you get the rug ripped right from under your feet? It’s right here in Washington State folks – that’s where.

My husband fought this fight the first year we lived here. It consumed him. Our rights were taken away! He was a builder that was told he could not build. He went to testify in Olympia. After returning, he realized that us representatives could NOT CARE LESS!! 3 months later he passed away from cancer.

So, here I am, living in an area that was subdivided for development, but this is the only house that stands here and I can cannot sell it if I wanted to. People want to build here, but cannot.  So, now that time has gone by, property values plummeted. My lot with a well that should be worth over $75,000, it is assessed by Skagit County for $13,000. I’m paying taxes on that $13,000, but if it can’t be built on, it’s worthless. So why are we even being asked to pay taxes? Why are we paying taxes? Maybe that’s what they want to have happen, everyone walks away? No one attends to their lots any longer? Why bother?

So, welcome to Skagit Valley. A place that has standing water in the fields. A place where eagles and swans come to migrate because of the water and fish here. Absolutely Beautiful!! But, not a place where you can build on your own property if your well was drilled after 2001! These rights have been taken away from us by our own government!! Yes, folks – Washington State is in “America”. But when your rights have been ripped away from you, when you have 50%+ of your net worth stolen from you by your own government, it doesn’t feel like America.

Washington State, does not appear to care about and has done absolutely NOTHING in the course of almost 3 years now, here in Skagit Valley, addressing this issue. Our local representatives have supported our fight, but in Olympia, our other representatives have turned this into another political game board and we have no say in how we play.  All of our lives have been turned upside down here. Our Olympia representatives have turned their back on us! No, we are not stupid people, country folk, who don’t care or know what we are doing, and I don’t much care for being treated like this by the state of Washington. This is insulting on so many levels and the State of Washington needs be held accountable for the debacle THEY have created.

So check out CAPR and the reasons why we are here. Check out why we are being prevented from removing water from the ground. It’s really based on bad science presented by the the Department of Ecology (DOE) and our local Indian tribes. They both have this power – to stop homeowners from pulling water out of their own ground, because our representatives are ALLOWING them to do just that.

Water-main-break-282x300Well this is a case in Skagit County – your county WILL be next.  If it’s not the water rights issue – it will be about your septic tank. Or, how about paying extra for your PUD water because of the infrastructure of America’s water lines are crumbling!

I encourage people to attend July 7 meeting in Concrete at the Middle School Commons at 6:00 pm. Let’s see if our representatives show up, so we can ask them” what the hell is going on here?” and hear what their explanation is. It is election time people. Let’s get some people voted in that cares about ” We The People”!

Thank You for taking the time to read this! Hope to see you at this meeting!!

JoAnn Walker

Sent from my iPhone

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