This was originally posted to: Guemes Island Planning Advisory Committee

GIPAC: Draft Minutes of 2020 Annual Meeting

November 8, 2020 Annual Meeting of the


Guemes Island Planning Advisory Committee



Hal Rooks opened the meeting via Zoom.  Present were board members Hal Rooks, Allen Bush, Michael Brown, Kathy Malley, Steve Orsini, Nancy Fox and Patty Rose.  Twenty three people logged on to join the meeting. 

The draft agenda was approved, as were the draft minutes of the November 3 meeting.

Treasurer’s report – Checking account balance is $4,833.31.  Expenses for the year included $562.30 for attorney’s fees for inquiries into county legal opinions concerning GIPAC’s well drilling initiatives (P-2).  GIPOA (Guemes Island Property Owners Association) disbanded and graciously allocated their remaining funds to GIPAC, which were $2,793.34.  The Roz Glasser Bequest Fund balance is $9,715.64.  Major expenses were $553.54 for planting enhancements to the Peach Preserve.

Alan Bush managed the election; Hal Rooks, Kathy Malley and Patty Rose were unanimously elected to new, 3-year terms.

Hal Rooks presented the Annual Report, which is posted on LineTime.  Of note: Our two main efforts have been making rainwater catchment an attractive alternative to drilling wells (P-1), and providing the county's Planning Department with the necessary tools to ensure protection of the island's drinking water, without interfering in the Department of Ecology's more general well-drilling authority (P-2).  For 2021, we plan to continue focusing on water issues, but from a new angle.  Under current law and practice, Skagit County does not consider the impact on groundwater resources when issuing variances. In addition, short term rentals are essentially unregulated and some residents have expressed concern about the potential impact on our aquifer of visitors who don't understand that water is not as plentiful on Guemes as it might be in other, especially urban, areas. Both topics are complicated and we will welcome community input as we study them.


Guemes Island Fire Department Fire Chief Olivia Snell gave GIPAC a presentation concerning fire prevention and mitigation for the island.  She highlighted the department’s concerns about Guemes Mountain and Holiday Hideaway, areas that are at higher risk due to ingress and egress issues and the overall population concentration. Islanders should be aware of not stacking firewood next to houses, clearing brush away from buildings, and observing correct protocols when operating outdoor fires. In the coming year, Olivia hopes to engage the Guemes community in the Firewise program, which provides fire safety guidelines to homeowners; Michael Brown volunteered to assist the department in this effort.  The department has an agreement with the Anacortes Fire department to automatically provide aid for both medical issues and fire.  If there is a wildfire on the island, DNR is also automatically notified to provide assistance.  The last hazard risk assessment was done in 2012 and Fire Chief Snell hopes to update that in 2021.

Hal Rooks reminded everyone that GIPAC meetings are open to all islanders and that until further notice, will be conducted via Zoom.

The meeting adjourned at 5:30pm.