Kitsap Alliance members testify before the Bremerton Planning Commission on “no net loss” of ecological function.

Chuck Shank, Vice President, Kitsap Alliance of Property Owners, said he has a degree in biology and helped develop the Near Shore Marine Waters Aspect Report for Water Quality for the National Commission on Water Quality. He advised that the term “ecological function” means the physical, chemical and biological characteristics of the near shore marine environment. Ecological function can vary widely, depending on conditions. Because it would take an army of people years to establish all ecological functions along the varying shorelines, “no net loss of ecological function” would be nearly impossible to define.

Mike House, Bremerton expressed concern that because the rules are not clearly defined, it is left to the Community Development staff to interpret what is meant by no net loss, with no opportunity for property owners to argue the staff’s decisions. He suggested it is inappropriate for the City to require property owners to hire biologists to complete habitat management plans when the proposed language appears arbitrary and does not provide enough information to clearly understand what the rules are.

Commisioner’s response: Commissioner Streissguth asked staff to provide additional information to help the Commission understand the DOE’s recommendation to not include a definition for “no net loss.” She said she appreciates the public’s concern about how this term will be interpreted without additional guidance in the SMP. While she is not convinced that including a definition for “no net loss” is the right approach, the Commission should have additional discussion about the best way to address the issue.

Bremerton Planning Commission Agenda for January 17 meeting & Minutes for November 15, 2011<

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