At the intersection of governance and grievance | IN OUR OPINION

Is this relationship beyond repair?

Or does time truly heal all wounds?

Angry property owners marched on city hall this week to protest what they say are unfair changes to Bainbridge Island’s Shoreline Master Program, the state-mandated planning effort that restricts coastal development with the grand goal of preserving and conserving the state’s precious resources at the water’s edge.

Many property owners are worried that the city’s update to its regulatory scheme will violate their property rights, hurt the value of their shoreside homes and land, and impose unneeded restrictions on future development.

Certain city officials and planners disagree, however, and have tried to put a lid on the boiling-over pot of emotions with multiple but unsuccessful attempts at explaining the changes to the program and its expected impacts.

A larger and sadly familiar theme is emerging: a lack of trust in elected officials, city leaders and planning staff.

We’ve been here before, many times, it seems. And while the citizenry and city hall has responded in recent years with electing new faces to the council dais, new managers at city hall and ample public outreach efforts, the animosity remains.

Eventually, we expect, the controversy over the Shoreline Master Program will fade under the influence of time or the courts.

Or, more likely, a new drama unfolds to fill the vacuum.


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