Dear Editor,  

First, thank you, Sam Bess for your letter about nuisance properties; you beat me to the punch. So, let me extend your arguments.

I live on Camano near a problem property. Your comment on these issues taking years to resolve truly resonates with us who have had to live next to and in the neighborhood of problem properties.

I think it is important for all of us to remember that the same laws apply to us all. The government cannot just come in and take your property, and that protects the law-abiding citizens as well as the rule-breakers. And therein lies the rub.

Current Island County Commissioner Janet St. Clair and county Code Enforcement Officer John Brazier have probably done as much as they can do within the limits of their job descriptions. Commissioners have limited leverage over the county department heads to push them to pursue misbehaving property owners. And the departments themselves are limited as to what they can do to force change.

The county can post notices of misbehavior and eventually fine the property owner if they don't comply. But, beyond that, it appears that they are limited in what they can legally do.

In the recent case involving a property owner ignoring $250,000 in fines and penalties, it took our prosecuting attorney's office and Superior Court to finally force action.

Now that we are in election season, it would be useful to hear how the three candidates for commissioner would propose to strengthen the processes dealing with egregious property violations so that they do not continue to fester for years.

Lawrence Baum

Camano Island

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