The Island Guardain
Locally Owned & Operated
360-378-4900 - PO Box 38, Friday Harbor, WA 98250
The Island Guardian is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists

SAN JUAN COUNTY, WA April 15, 2024 – UPDATE: San Juan County’s Department of Community Development (DCD) is postponing the public hearing examiner meeting for OPALCO’s Bailer Hill micro-grid and battery installation project while waiting for all additional information requested of the applicant on March 28, 2024. The future hearing examiner meeting date is to be determined (TBD). 

Written public comment will continue to be accepted by the department, however the Hearing Examiner will not be able to open the record for verbal public testimony on April 24, 2024. Once DCD receives enough information to complete SEPA determination and continue with the review process, a new hearing date will be published where verbal testimony will be accepted.

Why is the hearing postponed?

DCD initially published a notice of application (with the expected Hearing Examiner Meeting date) on March 12 and 13. On March 28, DCD staff requested additional information from OPALCO based on comments received as of March 12, third party review received as of March 18, and recent SEPA review findings. 

Between Wednesday, April 3 and Friday, April 12, OPALCO and DCD discussed reasonable timelines and procedural requirements related to the initially scheduled hearing date. OPALCO and DCD agreed to postpone the hearing without a specific rescheduling date while OPALCO gathers documentation in response to all items raised in the March 28 correspondence. 

How does postponing impact public engagement?

Written public comment opened on March 13 and continues to be accepted for this project (see comments submitted as of April 3, 2024). Please continue to send public comments to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Anyone expecting to make verbal public testimony for this project on April 24, 2024 will need to wait until the hearing is rescheduled. Project documents will continue to be posted for public review using the links and references in this news flash (below).

How will I know when the hearing is rescheduled for?

Once outstanding requests for additional information have been sufficiently addressed, a new notice will be published in print as required by County Code. This news flash post will also be updated help the public keep apprised of this ongoing review process.

An updated Summary of Important Information and Resources is available at the bottom of this news flash. Also, the original release has been corrected regarding what ‘SEPA’ stands for. ‘SEPA’ is an acronym for State Environmental Policy Act.

Summary of Important Information and Resources (updated 4/15/24)

  • Project Overview
    1. Short Title: Bailer Hill Solar Microgrid & Battery Storage (CUP)
    2. Permit file number: LANDUSE-23-0122
    3. Applicant: Orcas Power and Light Cooperative (OPALCO)
    4. Location: TPN 352713002000; San Juan Island, parcel northwest of the corner of Douglas Rd and Bailer Hill Rd
  • Important Project Documents
    1. General Documentation: Permit Review Portal for LANDUSE-23-0122; see below for specific links to:
  • Important Dates of Note
    1. Written public comments due by: April 3, 2024
      • Comments submitted after April 3rd will be accepted and presented at the hearing examiner meeting up until the date of the hearing examiner meeting
    2. SEPA comments due by: TBD
    3. Proposed Hearing Examiner date: TBD
      • If there is any change in the date it shall be posted in the appropriate newspapers
      • Hearing Examiner agendas (which include links to live web-streaming) may be viewed via the online Agenda Center when published
  • Public Comment Contact Information
    1. Email:
      • Marc Santos: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
    2. Letter: 
      • San Juan County RE: LANDUSE-23-0122 OPALCO Microgrid
         Community Development
         P.O. Box 947
         Friday Harbor, WA 98250

About San Juan County’s Department of Community Development 

San Juan County’s Department of Community Development is responsible for building permits and inspections, code enforcement, land use designations, long range planning, and more. The department’s main office is located at 135 Rhone Street, Friday Harbor, WA 98250. For more information about San Juan County’s Department of Community Development, visit