Commissioner, District 1: Incumbent Gelder and Challenger Tibbs
The candidates agree personal property rights should be protected, but where Tibbs is steadfast in his belief that individual property should remain untouched by government, Gelder says property owners have some responsibility to “give up a certain amount of personal liberties for the sake of the community.”
That doesn’t mean government has carte blanche to do whatever it wants when it comes to zoning or regulation of property, Gelder said. “It is incumbent on us to be cognizant of how our actions as government impact people’s rights,” he said.
Gelder and Tibbs agree there’s room for improvement on the state-mandated Growth Management Act. “There needs to be a process by which people can appeal certain aspects of the comprehensive plan,” Gelder said. “But the way our system is now … the community never has the opportunity to adopt a comprehensive plan and test it and see how it actually works in application. If we’re constantly being sued and stalled, then you never get to put it into practice, and that’s wrong.”
Tibbs says the GMA doesn’t work for Kitsap County. If elected he would lobby Olympia and work with the local delegation to change regulations, he said. “Anytime we focus more on the environment and less on the people, I’m concerned,” Tibbs said.
He questioned the county’s participation with the Puget Sound Regional Council, a regional planning agency composed of elected officials from Snohomish, King and Pierce counties. Kitsap’s commissioners give too much latitude to the PSRC and local planning agency the Kitsap Regional Coordinating Council, he said. “It’s the carrot-stick philosophy,” Tibbs said. “If you want money, conform to what they think regional planning should be. What works in Seattle doesn’t work with Kitsap County.”