Review of Bremerton Shoreline Master Program
By a Concerned Citizen
I have reviewed the proposed Bremerton Shoreline Master Program. My comments, questions, and suggestions for the planning staff and for the City Council are provided in the table below with paragraph numbers indicated. I also have a marked up copy of a PDF version of the document with my comments inserted in the document with the appropriate text highlighted.
While the specific comments are contained in the table below, my general observations and concerns with this document are provided here as a summary:
- The Goals and objectives do not include any significant discussion of Private Property Rights. The table below shows 49 specific cases where the document potentially violates private property rights. Private property rights need to be one of the spokes on the wheel.
- Overall emphasis is on preservation and conservation of “nature” with little balance toward commercial uses and development. There needs to be a balance to prevent loss of property values, businesses, and therefore tax revenues. Balancing economic development and cost impacts of the rules and regulations need to be a much larger emphasis in the document.
- Emphasis on public access, trails, etc. is a “taking” of property by the city.
- There is a potentially large impact on private Property values. This will impact both property owners directly in resale value and will impact the city with tax revenues.
- The city council should require a cost/benefit analysis for this proposal. The table below shows many instances where additional costs will be incurred by either private property owners (individuals and/or businesses) or the city.
- The policies and regulations established by this document will be implemented in violation of private property rights. By simply withholding a permit the planning department can prevent a project that “violates” the goals or objectives in the document. Words such as “should” or “encourage” can be construed to mean “shall” and therefore a permit can be denied.
- The permit process in many instances requires the burden of proof on the applicant to prove that harm will not occur or that they are not in violation. Instead, the city should be required to show that harm will occur, or that the application is in violation before they can deny a permit.
- The appeals process and who has the final ruling is unclear. In the end the people have the right to decide how our land will be used, not an appointed, unelected board.
Full Letter Submission: Review_of_Bremerton_Shoreline_Master_Program