SMP Testimony of Alan Beam before the Bremerton City Council

I have come here to testify on some of the economic impacts that will result with the implementation of the new Shoreline Master Program. As we all are well aware, the bulk of Bremerton’s waterfront residential property is all ready developed. There is a significant portion of Bremerton’s shoreline residential properties that were built over fifty years ago. Most are small by today’s standards and limited by urban lot size. The issue becomes  restrictions on remodeling and rebuilding.

While the ability to rebuild a house destroyed by natural disaster within a year is minimally impacted, the City places burdens on the owner who wants to perform a significant remodel. If the projected remodel will cost more than 75% of the assessed value of the structure, the owner will be required to bring the house up to current codes including new buffers and setbacks.  Factored into the calculation of the 75 % assessment value  “all repair and maintenance work conducted within a five (5) year period on the structure shall be included in the calculation.” Additionally bulkhead repair/replacement will be severely limited unless the primary residence is threatened.

I watched an example of the economic impact of these restrictions on a proposed property sale this summer. There is a property on Shore Drive with a 1922 bungalow, a full lawn, a six-foot deteriorating bulkhead, and a stunning view of the Bremerton waterfront. The property was on the market for $270, 000.  The house has an assessed value of about $45,000.  The sale of the house fell through after the buyer met with Bremerton City staff to discuss planned remodels and the upcoming Shoreline Management regulations. After careful consideration of the new rules and the possible restrictions on rebuilding the bulkhead, the buyers backed out of the contract.

I am convinced that someone will buy this property sometime and figure out how to deal with the restrictions. But my question is why are we placing additional restrictions on redevelopment of some our most valuable residential property.


3 responses to “SMP Testimony of Alan Beam before the Bremerton City Council

  1. Mary Gerry Taylor

    Bravo, Alan Beam. We could not agree more. I don’t believe it is about the environment, but rather about control and I we think it is just awful, awful, awful. I cannot imagine thinking like these gov’t people think. I would want to help people fulfill their dreams, not hinder them at every turn. Bless you for all you do. Gerry Taylor

  2. Simple–“they” want you all gone from the shoreline. No doubt this is the one area in the planners’ lives where they can exercise control and–like all bureaucrats–this sad fact will reveal itself whenever anyone with a house, or a life, seeks to improve them. Why would anyone take the chance to upgrade a residence, thereby employing local contractors and increasing the tax base, if it triggers the permit kiss-of-death?

  3. P.S. I hope that homeowner groups are aware that there is one instance in which the Green Wave is NOT 100% certain that hard armoring wreaks havoc with orcas. (We here in San Juan County start with orca whale–if a single breath is taken and could affect an orca whale, that’s enough to regulate the heck out of the breather. So, hard armoring MAY affect forage fish who may affect salmon who may affect orcas whales. Done.)

    Several recent grant applications include an introduction along the following lines: “we have long posited that hard armoring is devastating to orcas whales, but it’s amazing–there’s no real evidence of that! So pease give us half a million dollars to study these connections and documetn what we already religiously believe. See Megan Dethier UW and several others, 2011 and 2012.

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