Dear Mr. Burcar:
This letter provides Kitsap Alliance comments on the Kitsap County Shoreline Master Program Comprehensive Update. These comments are in addition to those provided in our letter of June 20, 2013.
Our comments are in the form of questions that were raised, but never answered, in Kitsap Alliance correspondence with Kitsap County during their development of the SMP update – nor were the needed changes they represent incorporated into the SMP update. They directly address the failure of the SMP update to comply with the applicable state laws (the GMA and WAC 173-26). It is noted that you were on distribution for (or handed copies of) this correspondence (with the exception of Attachment 13) and should be well aware of the issues we raised.
- Question 1: Is Ecology aware and concerned that the most current, accurate, and complete scientific and technical information available was NOT identified, assembled, and analyzed as required by WAC 173-26-201(2)(a)? Refer to Attachments (1), (2), (3), (4), (5), (6), (7), (8) Page 3, (8b) Page 6-9, (8c) Encl 4 & 5, (9), (9a), (10), (10a), (10b), (10c), (11), and (12).
- Question 2: Is Ecology aware and concerned that the county did NOT comply with its own science and technical Information policy requirements? Refer to Page 7 of Attachment (9).
- Question 3: Kitsap county has been unable to provide any documented evidence showing that the original 35-foot shoreline setbacks of the County’s 1974 SMP were not effective in ensuring no net loss of ecological function and needed to be replaced by a large natural vegetation buffer system? Refer to Attachments (7), (9), and (9a). Can Ecology provide any such documented evidence that the 35 ft. setbacks were not effective?
- Question 4: Kitsap County has been unable to provide any documented evidence that existing shoreline residences, as currently maintained, pose any measurable risk to the shoreline ecological functions — requiring the new controls found in the SMP update? Refer to attachments (5). (6), (7), (9), and (9a). Can Ecology provide any documented evidence that these residences are adversely affecting critical shoreline functions?
- Question 5: Is Ecology aware of any WAC 173-26 criterion that would support the county’s contention, as shown by red colored segments on a county shoreline map, that the majority of its shorelines that are already developed with residences are valid candidates for restoration to “natural” conditions under the SMP update? Refer to attachments (1), (3), (4).
- Question 6: How does Ecology justify the use of unscientific assumptions and unsubstantiated proxy relationships in determining net loss of ecological function impacts – for both individual and cumulative shoreline development? Refer to attachment (5).
- Question 7: Is Ecology aware and concerned that there is little or no technical or administrative justification for SMP changes that increase the number of shoreline parcels designated Natural from 94 to over 600, and the number of parcels designated Conservancy from 1,238 to approximately 3,700? Refer to Attachments (12) and (13).
- Question 8: Is Ecology aware and concerned that the county’s public outreach program was generally ineffective in informing shoreline homeowners of the proposed changes to the SMP ordnance and the impact on their property? Refer to attachments (8), (8a), (8b), (8c), and (13). We believe these questions reveal a fundamental and intentional failure to comply with applicable sections of WAC 173-26 — that results in biased and unjustified government land use controls being applied to privately owned shorelines. These controls would significantly deprive owners of their constitutional right to use and enjoy their property as they desire – in direct contravention of the Shoreline Management Act’s requirement to recognize and protect private property rights (RCW 90.58.100).
We request that the Department of Ecology remand Kitsap County’s January 2013 adopted SMP back to Kitsap County with direction to address the deficiencies detailed in this letter and its attachments.