Testimony of Alan Beam before the Bremerton City Council Sep 5 2012

Good Afternoon

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 4.2.2.10 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 4.1.3.3 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.

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3 responses to “Testimony of Alan Beam before the Bremerton City Council Sep 5 2012

  1. Mary Gerry Taylor

    I / we totally agree with Alan Beam and thank him deeply for speaking for so many of us.
    Mary Gerry Taylor

  2. I am sure that property owners would like to have one door open to them to discuss the real problems. However all the SMP planners will say the public was “invited but chose not to come”. Those who did come were told to be quiet and sit down the “Task Force on the SMP” was their representation. Government at it’s BEST!! I’m so impressed. We need to change somethings in government so the “people” can be protected from over arching goals of poor legislation.

    Robert Rossworn

  3. Michael Gustavson

    The imposition of shoreline buffers was lifted directly from Minnesota’s lakefront buffer requirements: 75% of the shoreline must be set aside for uncut natural vegetation. In Minnesota’s case, the objective was to shield the eyes of kayakers from looking at shoreside homes.

    Let’s take this one step further. Given that we really don’t like to look at our neighbors’ homes, we have a County requirement for a 50 foot buffer on all sesonal, non-fish bearing streams. Roadside ditches qualify under that definition. By exstension, all upland homeowners become non-conforming, unless they produce 75% of lot frontage uncut native vegetation buffer (Blackberries, etc.)

    Using Department of Fish and Wildlife data, forage fish spawn on beaches facing south as well as north, disproving the shaded beach theory of Department of Ecology. Beach seine data shows juvinlie salmon bellies contain virtually no bugs in their diet, agan disproving the benefits of over-hanging vegetation. These pieces of real science, coupled with no evidence of home owner produced polution of salt water, shows we are only chasing an ill founded agenda of a small set of rabid “environmental” radicals. Their agenda will damage not only our way of life, but wil also kill our tax base at the same time.

    It’s time for our elected leaders to stand up for the citizenry and stop quaking in terror of the long arm of the mis-directed Department of Ecology threatening to make our cities and County “non-compliant”.

    Michael Gustavson
    Bremerton property owner

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