Why Shoreline Issues Matter to Everyone

From: Dee DuMont, Bainbridge Island

As a land-locked property owner who owns only a canoe, I have no direct interest in the Bainbridge Island shoreline property issues. However, I encourage all  ‘in-land’ residents of our island to follow this shoreline issue and realize that what is being visited upon the waterfront property owners could eventually be visited upon the rest of us as well, in the form of “environmental”regulations on vegetation, etc.

I am alarmed and disheartened by the way the employees at city hall seem to be directing the update for the shoreline management regulations, rather than accepting
direction from shoreline property owners and the city council, the latter which, I believe, is supposed to be directing the city hall employees on behalf of the citizens of Bainbridge Island.

I believe it is unrealistic to our city to attempt to go well beyond state and federal laws regarding the regulation of saltwater waterfront, and I believe that to deny the Island’s development over the past 50 years as a suburban place, rather than a pristine island touched only by passing native American encampments, is absurd. Waterfront property owners have earned the right to enjoy their property, even as it extends by law into areas sometime covered by tides. They pay the very highest property taxes on our Island (one of the few sources of city income,) and they should be considered valued citizens, not some imaginary enemy that has somehow deemed to have led to any degradation of Puget Sound. In fact, regardless of address, most of us who live on the island consider ourselves to be environmental stewards.

I strongly urge the general population to join me in requesting that the planning department and the city council recalibrate their shoreline planning to reflect the current reality of local waterfront land ownership and use on our Island, and to discontinue any and all efforts to return to the eighteenth century. All concerned may also wish to consider the possible costs of future litigation that will need to be paid by our economically-fragile city if the zealous and self-appointed environmental planners overstep legal bounds, and place undo burdens on waterfront property owners.

Dee DuMont,
Land-locked Grow Avenue

P.S. Here is a comment I received just this morning that substantiates my point. Read on!

We have recently experienced something similar, even though we are land locked. We cleared two acres of blackberry from our land and the city told us we should have gotten a clearing permit. We explained that blackberry was a noxious weed according to the State of WA. They said it didn’t matter. We filled out the permit application. They issue the permit, but are requiring us to plant 13,000 square feet of our land (our land, not anything on a road easement, but our land) as a “buffer”. The requirements for a buffer are quite strict, and I was planning on using that land as my reserve vegetable garden. Now, we’ve got to follow the city’s guidelines for that 13,000 sq feet – so I guess even though we pay the full tax rate, they get to decide what to do with it.

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