Tripp announces lawsuit against city of Bainbridge Island over SMP

Email activist Gary Tripp is vowing to file a lawsuit against the city of Bainbridge Island over the city's adoption of its update to its Shoreline Master Program.

The Bainbridge Island City Council adopted the update on a 4-3 vote after a public hearing Monday, July 14.

Tripp, the director of the Bainbridge Defense Fund, a nonprofit property rights group based on Bainbridge Island, sent an email to islanders on Tuesday that criticized the city's adoption of its Shoreline Master Program. Tripp is working to schedule a meeting next week of shoreline property owners who want to participate in a lawsuit against the city over the SMP.

"I hate to sue the city but they didn't listen," Tripp said in an email from Bainbridge News Wire, an email newsletter that was formerly known as TrippWire.

"They didn't listen when we spoke at the public hearings. They didn't listen when 250 of us marched on city hall in protest. They didn't listen when hundreds and hundreds of Island residents wrote letters ... They haven't listened to reason or common sense," the email said.

Tripp has long been a critic of the SMP and the city's effort to update the program, which is required under state law. The city has been working on the update of the program, which restricts development on state shorelines to protect wildlife and habitat and public access to the shore, for more than four years.

Opponents of the SMP, however, have claimed the new regulations infringe on property rights, and have alleged the updated rules are unconstitutional.

Before last year's General Election, Tripp formed a political action committee called "Common Sense Bainbridge" that worked to elect a slate of candidates to the Bainbridge Island City Council who were opposed to the SMP. That slate of candidates each lost their bids for a council seat in landslide losses, and a pro-SMP, one-vote majority on the council was maintained after the election.

The council approved the SMP at its meeting Monday. Council members Anne Blair, Roger Townsend, Val Tollefson and Wayne Roth voted for approval, while council members David Ward, Sarah Blossom and Steve Bonkowski voted against the adoption of the SMP.

In the email, Tripp said owners of waterfront properties will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 22 to "develop a strategy to take legal action against the city over the adoption of the SMP." The location has not yet been announced.



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