by Vivian Henderson, Executive Director, Kitsap Alliance of Property Owners
To: Senator Phil Rockefeller
Subject: Senate Bill 5451 Declaring Existing Shoreline Homes “Conforming”
Dear Senator Rockefeller,
Thank you so much for sponsoring this Bill. I want you to know that I support it. I am speaking on behalf of Kitsap Alliance of Property Owners in supporting this Bill.
The Shoreline Management Act gives protection of residential dwellings as a “preferred use”, but many local governments – Kitsap included – are using their Critical Areas Ordinance to regulate shoreline uses and development. This puts replacement (in case of fire or other casualty) and/or expansion of existing dwellings at risk.
Classifying existing homes as “non-conforming” leaves the property, the property owner, his/her investment and home in serious jeopardy. Many mortgage companies hesitate to loan money on “nonconforming” structures.
No one seems to know exactly what “non-conforming” means. How does a property owner explain what “nonconforming” means to a prospective buyer who is considering purchasing their home?
“Nonconforming” has the connotation of being “illegal” or “undesirable”. It doesn’t “belong”. When the structure was built it met all building code requirements and passed city/county inspections.
Present and past owners have faithfully enjoyed and cared for the property and paid property taxes on it for years – decades, perhaps. For most of us, our homes are our greatest investment. Allowing government to put into jeopardy the future of these homes by using a label is disastrous to these homeowners and their families.
We can only contemplate the unintended consequences.
I’d also like to call your attention to the thousands of homes outside of Urban Growth Areas not on the shorelines that are also considered by government to be nonconforming. I live on a two acres parcel in an area that is zoned one dwelling unit per 10 acres. My home and property are “nonconforming”. Perhaps you would lend your support in giving these homes a rightful place in our community.
Thank you for sponsoring this bill. If I or any KAPO member can help in any way to get this bill passed, please let me know.
Vivian Henderson,Executive Director
Kitsap Alliance of Property Owners