The Kitsap Alliance of Property Owners recently mailed a postcard to shoreline homeowners in unincorporated Kitsap County. Apparently, Commissioner Brown took exception to the message and circulated the following email to a number of his supporters…
Sent: Mon, Aug 8, 2011 6:43 pm
Thanks for your email regarding the Kitsap County Shoreline Master Program (SMP) update. I received a KAPO sponsored postcard as well. It appears to me they are trying their best to drum up some fundraising for their organization by passing along false information to property owners.
Here are the facts:
1) Kitsap County like many others local governments are mandated by the State of Washington to update our Shoreline Master Program (SMP). The last time this was accomplished was the late 1970’s. Our outdated SMP prevented developers for many years from rebuilding the Seabeck Marina until we made changes under my direction two years ago. There remains in the current SMP problems such as designating Port Gamble Bay for urban development that made sense when we had a paper mill, but doesn’t make sense today. I am sure you would agree it is essential we update a 30 plus year old plan to use our shorelines.
2) If Kitsap County does not adopt a SMP ourselves that reflects local values, the Department of Ecology can adopt regulations for us. I prefer local control for these types of plans.
3) I do not support any measure that would prevent current property owners from enjoying their property. To date there have been no new regulations, buffers, or setbacks proposed or drafted. As a former real estate broker I understand the issues of financing property and non-conforming issues well. This Board has directed that the update continue to recognize and protect private property rights.
The SMP has been underway since 2009 and is expected to be completed in 2012. Unlike other jurisdictions, Kitsap County chose to work with citizens from the beginning of effort. Many of the current proposed policies and other SMP drafted elements are a direct result of the citizens Task Force input. The work of the Task Force continues as they review propose regulations to ensure consistency with the goals and policies they recommended. I am pleased to let you know that our SMP update process has received numerous compliments as the most open and transparent of any County code update.
If you would like to view all of the product and meetings that have occurred to date for the SMP update please visit:www.kitsapshoreline.org
. I look forward to hearing from you in the months ahead during the public review and hearings.
Warm regards, Josh Brown
The following response has been submitted by William Palmer, former Kitsap County Planning Commissioner and current Chairman of KAPO’s board.
JUST THE FACTS, COMMISSIONER BROWN
In emails to his constituents, Commissioner Josh Brown says that the Kitsap Alliance of Property Owners “is passing along false information to property owners” in a post card mailing that stated “Science isn’t making Kitsap’s shorelines non-conforming, Josh Brown, Charlotte Garrido & Rob Gelder are.”
In defense of his position Mr. Brown states: “To date there have been no new regulations, buffers, or setbacks proposed or drafted.”
But that’s not true.
It is Commissioner Brown who has his facts wrong.
In an August 5, 2010 Shoreline Master Program Task Force meeting, Susan Donahue, then the Department of Community Development project manager, stated that the county planned to integrate the Critical Areas provisions previously established by the county under the Growth Management Act, into the Shoreline Master Program update.
These provisions increased the original 35-foot shoreline setbacks to 50-foot buffers for all urban shorelines and 100-foot buffers for all rural and semi-rural shorelines. In doing this, the county admitted they lacked adequate scientific information for marine shoreline buffering, but had, instead, taken a precautionary approach, imposing large buffers based on inland stream science.
The problem is that neither the county nor the Department of Ecology has been able to produce any peer-reviewed science showing that single-family residences pose any measurable risk to the nearshore environment.
Yet the county appears to be on a track to re-impose these large buffers – with the result that homes with any portion located in these buffer zones could become legally non-conforming.
The county needs to be forthcoming about their intentions regarding buffering and its impact on non-conformance. They have been developing the Shoreline Master Program update for over a year, yet homeowners remain in the dark about whether their government is considering ever more stringent environmental controls to further restrict their use of their properties.
The county has a wide range of options, ranging from no buffers at all, to declaring everything 200 feet from the ordinary high-water mark a native vegetation buffer area.
Contact your commissioners and let them know what you think.
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