Addendum Testimony To Letter Presented At The DOE June 20, 2013 Public Hearing On Kitsap County’s January, 2013 Adopted Shoreline Master Program
Dear Mr. Burcar,
The letter Kitsap Alliance of Property Owners presented at DOE’s June 20, 2013 public hearing held at the Kitsap County Administration Building in Port Orchard, Washington contained a list of seven flaws in Kitsap County’s January, 2013 Shoreline Master Program. Six of those deficiencies were enumerated and five of those made specific reference to testimony Kitsap Alliance had provided Kitsap County that the County ignored in the Program adoption process. Under separate cover Kitsap Alliance has submitted the documentation provided the County that we believe should have caused Kitsap County to have left in place the 1977 Shoreline Master Program and/or the 1999 Amended Master Program without the excessive shoreline buffers imposed therein.
We have stated very clearly and decisively with supportive documentation that Kitsap County’s January, 2013 adopted Shoreline Master Program imposes regulations that go beyond what is required by the “program update guidelines” as found in WAC 173-26. Clearly, you can see by our questions and comments that Kitsap Alliance is asking the Department of Ecology to actually justify based on evidence that Kitsap County’s 1977 adopted Shoreline Master Program was an ineffective measure to achieve a “no net loss standard.” We have made constant reference to the fact that the thirty-five (35) foot shoreline setback was adequate to achieve that standard. Also we provided the scientific documentation to support that claim. Even if that setback was or is considered a buffer, there is no demonstrative scientific evidence in Kitsap County’s record of testimony that supports the need for a buffer greater in width than thirty-five (35) feet. What qualifies as scientific evidence is clearly spelled out in Kitsap County’s Resolution 022-2010.
Attached to this letter, is a letter with graphic exhibits of testimony presented to the Kitsap County Board of County Commissioners presented at their October 22, 2012 public hearing. The letter is a supporting document for enumerated point number 1 Kitsap Alliance’s testimony presented on June 20, 2013. Also we have reason to be concerned that despite the inappropriateness of the “one size fits all” buffer that was applied to the property owners having developed and undeveloped lots in the Plat of Indian Bay there have been two variance applications that have gone to public hearing within the months of June and July, 2013 to allow the property owners to build on three of the four vacant lots. In each case the County has required a “habitat management plan” and made it a condition of approval to enhance the reduced buffer without presenting one scintilla of documentation that such a plan was either warranted or justified based on evidence the proposed single-family residence would degrade the shoreline environment.
These two shoreline variance applications are case in point that “rules” can and will be improperly implemented when regulations are adopted that are not based on evidence. Further, these two variance cases illustrate the very issues that were identified in the October 22, 2012 letter presented to the Board of County Commissioners.
Kitsap Alliance is now asking the State Department of Ecology to justify any decision to approve Kitsap County’s 2013 adopted Shoreline Master Program when clearly the rights of citizens to own, use and enjoy their property is severely curtailed and unjustifiably so by this set of regulations. We maintain as stated in our June 20, 2013 letter that the rights of private property owners are preeminent and are constitutionally guarantied. Environmental protection is not addressed in our State’s Constitution. If construed to be a public interest then there must be compensation for the taking of a right that redounds to the private property owner. Also as stated in our letter of June 2oth, Kitsap Alliance objects to legislation that requires a property owner to pay the County thousands of dollars in an attempt to gain or regain a right enjoyed by other property owners in the same vicinity. Development within the Plat of Indian Bay is an illustration of this point, but as detailed in Kitsap Alliance’s letter of October 22, 2012, there are many other places in Kitsap County where small lot plats exist along the shoreline that have vacant lots in amongst developed property.
Please review both the other record testimony referenced in our letters or provided to DOE directly and address Kitsap Alliances’ data and documents in a substantive fashion to indicate the reasons why DOE might endorse or remand Kitsap County’s 2013 adopted Shoreline Master Program. We would appreciate receiving a response to our concerns prior to any action taken by DOE.