Organizers of tonight's march on city hall to protest an update of the city of Bainbridge Island's shoreline regulations are getting a boost from members of the Kitsap Patriots Tea Party.
The Kitsap Patriots Tea Party sent out a "call to action" email alerting its members of the demonstration late Tuesday night.
"Bainbridge TEA Party Members Need Our Help!" the email message begins.
"Sorry for the short notice, but Big Government advocates move quickly when they want to do bad things, and we need to move just as quickly to stop them. This is Today. Please try to get there. Numbers are our only defense," the email continues.
The call to action then repeats the message of an email that offers details on Wednesday's march that was sent out earlier this week by Bainbridge email activist Gary Tripp and the March for Homes Committee.
Critics of the proposed changes have repeatedly made their displeasure known about the proposed regulations that restrict shoreline development. City officials have been bombarded with letters by shoreline property owners and others since work to update the Shoreline Master Program began last year.
Property owners who are unhappy with the proposed update to the city's Shoreline Master Program decided to hold a march on city hall at a meeting Saturday, March 9 at the Eagle Harbor Church. The gathering included attorneys who had raised concerns about the city's work on updating its program, as well as guest speaker Scott Roberts of the Olympia-based Freedom Foundation, a conservative think tank.
The march on city hall will start at 6:30 p.m. at the Town & Country Market and then continue to city hall.
The council meeting starts at 6 p.m. with a closed-door executive session, and the council is expected to reconvene in a public session at 7 p.m. Public comment is scheduled for 7:10 p.m.
A study session on the Shoreline Master Program is planned for 8 to 10 p.m.
Some property owners are worried that the updated program will continue the unpopular label of "nonconforming" on structures that were built under old and outdated regulations, and claim the label will hurt their property values. Others have also raised concerns that the new regulations will restrict future development potential, or require trees to be planted in areas that now provide scenic water views. Some have also have said the new rules will prohibit docks and require larger buffer areas.
City officials have said docks will still be allowed under the new rules, though some areas, such as places of high current or wave action, will be off-limits to new docks.
Officials have also noted that current science shows the city’s existing shoreline buffers are not enough to protect the shoreline.
State officials have also said that regulations for shoreline buffers do not constitute a "taking" of private property, which would require property owners to be compensated for the loss of their property. Officials note the Constitution allows state and local governments to place restrictions on the use of private property as long as it’s for a legitimate public benefit, and landowners are not deprived of all reasonable use of their property.