Washington Islander Faces Criminal Charges for Fighting County Construction Rules

Build without a permit, face fines and jail time


An Orcas Island man is contesting two criminal convictions for violating local development rules for his use of a building constructed on his property without permits and without a county-approved sewage disposal system.

In late November, Friday Harbor attorney Lawrence Delay filed an appeal in San Juan County Superior Court on behalf of his client, Errol Charles Speed. He was convicted by a jury in September of unlawful use or maintenance of an unpermitted structure, a misdemeanor, and of failure to have an approved sewage disposal system, also a misdemeanor, at the conclusion of a trial in District Court.

Speed was sentenced on Nov. 6 to 90 days in jail with 90 days suspended for two years on each count, and fined $1,000 with $750 suspended for two years on each count as well. He was ordered by Judge Stewart Andrew to obtain county approval on the sewage system within 120 days and to submit the necessary paperwork for the building to comply with local regulations within 60 days.

(Hat tip to Nick Sibilla)