Public Review Period Extended and FAQs Shared

SAN JUAN COUNTY, WA. September 8, 2023 – The preliminary draft of the San Juan Islands Destination Management Plan (SDMP) is currently available for public review and comment. The draft Plan is built off the feedback and recommendations received since the County and its partners began engaging the community in this effort in 2016 through multiple surveys, research, and public engagement events, including a series of community meetings last year. The goal for this project is to develop an actionable plan that meets the unique needs of our community, environment, economy, and visitors as we collectively face and must address increasing destination demand.

Frequently Asked Questions

Several community members have asked for clarification around the revenue generating proposal for a vehicle/boat/bicycle pass (similar to a Discover Pass). At this stage, we are exploring this as one of multiple options to find alternative funding for mobility needs to address increasing pressure on our public infrastructure and implement necessary management strategies. This concept is suggested for further development and no decisions have been made; public feedback, case studies, legal review, economic consultation, and implementation feasibility are among the many factors informing its development. The current estimated cost for exploratory development of the program is $5,000; the fee to users has yet to be determined but is estimated as $10-15. This would apply to all road/marina users i.e., visitors and residents.

This model would provide a mechanism to fund the management and infrastructure improvements needed to address impacts while tracking user numbers to help set optimal capacities. Surveys conducted in 2017-2020 suggest broad-based support from residents, businesses, and visitors for improvements such as separating bikes from vehicle traffic, increasing and improving marine facilities, and better parking/traffic management in towns. However, there is limited funding to implement the improvements that have been identified and prioritized by the community. In addition, the County currently does not track the number of vehicles, boats, or bicycles that use our public facilities. There is a need for real-time measurement of use levels at key locations to set capacity levels and inform decision-making.

An FAQs page has been developed and is being updated as questions about the Plan are submitted. Community members are encouraged to review the FAQs for additional clarifying information as well as submit additional questions.

Public Review Period Extended

The closing date for public review is being extended to allow greater opportunity for full review of the draft Plan, and to maximize participation in public comment. The public comment period will remain open through October 31, 2023.

During this preliminary draft stage, community feedback will help determine which actions the community will support to advance. Public participation in this process is an important part of Plan development and we appreciate citizens’ time and effort in thoughtfully reviewing and commenting on the Plan.

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