Last time I talked to you about the possible economic effects of the proposed Shoreline Master Program. Today I want to talk about the Non conforming issue. First of all the purpose and intent of designating something as Non Conforming is to phase it out over a period of time. No property owner wants to hear that their property is going to be phased out. The only time the restrictions apply is when someone wants to improve their property. This is a bad precedent to set.
The economic impacts associated redevelopment on the shoreline that I discussed last time were all triggered by the language in the plan restricting remodeling on non conforming properties (section 20.16.670). Furthermore onerous restrictions kick in even if the Buffers and Setbacks are not violated. My property is classified as Shoreline Residential in the SMP with a Buffer width of 100 feet. If I was to add a 20×25 foot garage (500 square feet) on the back of my property away from the water. A 100% natural vegetative buffer would be levied to the first 25 feet of my property, (1875 square feet), over 3 times the square footage of the garage. I, like most waterfront property owners bought their land for the enjoyment of the water and the view, and would greatly resent the loss of this property. The loss of front footage is in no way proportional to the “impact” of developing a 500 square foot garage.
I like most homeowners believe that we are good stewards of the environment and are willing to make sacrifices if there is an established scientific need. The far and away largest source of pollution to the sound is stormwater runoff. This is largely due to programs undertaken by cities such as Bremerton eliminating sewage overflows. The city has shown scant evidence that residential lawns are a large contributor to the pollution problem. The Shoreline Inventory and Analysis document (Section 126.96.36.199 Land Cover Development Page 4-34) states “Process alterations and effects of developed land cover types are very similar to those for impervious surfaces…” Bioswales have been used for decades to mitigate pollution. Equating residential lawn with concrete does nothing to enhance city credibility with the homeowner who is losing use of their front yard.
The Bremerton Shoreline and Inventory Analysis states “The nearshore and marine waters of the study area receive inputs of nutrients and organic matter from deeper ocean waters via estuarine circulation and mixing, from nearshore bottom sediments, and from adjacent uplands, streams, rivers, and groundwater seeps. In general, inputs from natural sources of nitrogen and phosphorus in Puget Sound are several orders of magnitude greater than anthropogenic sources. (Bremerton SIA section 188.8.131.52 Page 4-19) Why are you attacking our yards? If and I say if, lawn fertilizing is a problem then a better approach would be to work with homeowners to find less polluting fertilizers.