Thursday, September 10, 2009

Appeals Court Overturns Kitsap's Critical Areas Ordinance

The fact a Washington State Appeals Court has overturned Kitsap County's onerous Critical Areas Ordinance (CAO) does not surprise me at all. I was a member of the Kitsap County Planning Commission when the CAO was rammed down our throats by the County.

The DCD Director at the time, Cindy Baker, routinely ignored numerous reasonable questions, especially the ones related to "Best Available Science," and why expanded buffers were necessary, when no new science had been brought forward to justify them. The County also ignored numerous other issues brought up by Planning Commission members.

For example: If a wetland buffer was determined under the CAO to be 150 feet, but a county road intersected the buffer at 100 feet, did the buffer cross the road or not? And if so, since the road negated the impact of the buffer, did this mean the county was in violation of its own ordinance or not? And if so, was it required to move the road?

Those were actually real-life examples of existing conditions - several that include major arterials intersecting mandated buffers. However, DCD Director Baker, under heavy pressure from then Commissioner Chris Endresen, was simply focused on meeting a deadline to get the ordinance passed - in spite of the fact the Planning Commissioners had not received anything even close to answers to most of their questions.

Without going into a lot of boring detail about what and why, the majority of the Planning Commission voted against adoption of the CAO in a 6-3 vote. All of the Planning Commissioners appointed by Endresen voted for it, and everyone else voted against adopting the CAO as written, saying it needed more work, and warning of exactly what has happened.

Yet in spite of the Planning Commission's warning, Endresen and current Bremerton Mayoral Candidate Patty Lent voted for the ordinance anyway, while then Commissioner, and now State Representative Jan Angel (R-Port Orchard), voted against it.

No comments:

Post a Comment