“Spy in the Sky” Revisited

by Vivian Henderson, Executive Director

Back in 2001 Kitsap County announced a plan for what they described as an “Adaptive Management Monitoring System”.  One of the components of the system is satellite surveillance aerial imagery.  After viewing detailed images produced by this system, KAPO dubbed it as the “Spy in the Sky” ~ pretty detailed pictures of objects on the ground.  Also known as LIDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) aerial survey results in very detailed one meter imagery. White stripes on parking lots and crosswalks are visible. The images are retaken and updated periodically.

The county assured citizens that this was not a “spy in the sky”  “007” kind of thing.  “Governments are using it for emergency response and planning, natural geography studies and flood plan mapping, wildfire prevention ….. The ultimate goal is to provide solutions that will allow our economy to move forward while at the same time improving quality of life…. ensuring clean water, a healthful environment, healthy economy….” our county commissioners assured us.

That was then.  This is now.  Recently Pierce County has identified more than 3,200 illegal garages and other structures under a program that uses aerial photographs to spot buildings constructed without a permit.  As explained in a recent newspaper article, Pierce County compares aerial photographs taken in 2005 and 2008 to identify structures built without a permit.  Pierce County has the same aerial surveillance imagery Kitsap County has.  It sounds like a “Spy in the Sky” to me. 

To my knowledge Kitsap County is not currently using aerial surveillance to entrap code and permitting violators.   You may support catching violators through whatever means it takes but I believe Kitsap County’s onerous permitting requirements and the costs involved with getting a permit makes violators out of honest people.  

The county needs to make it easier for a family to build a garage on their property, provide living quarters for an aged or disabled family member and quit imposing large “no touch” buffers denying a property owner any use of those buffer areas.  It’s just not right.

Let’s hope Kitsap County isn’t thinking about aiming “big brother” at you for whatever it is they’re looking for.

I just thought you’d want to know about this.

Vivian Henderson
Email: viviankapo@wavecable.com


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