We’ve heard this all before | IN OUR OPINION

The debate over the city of Bainbridge Island’s work to update its Shoreline Master Program has hit a sad sound loop.

Over and over again, the message seems to be something we’ve heard before, starting just after revisions to the SMP were passed from the planning commission to the city council for review.

It’s too complex. It will hurt property values. The city will be hit with a lawsuit.

To be sure, the SMP is complex. It’s hard to think of how it could not be, given the scope of the program and the laudable goals it seeks to accommodate. According to the Department of Ecology, the program should:

Encourage reasonable and orderly development of shorelines, with an emphasis on water-dependent and related uses that control pollution and prevent damage to the natural environment;

Protect the natural character of shorelines, the land, vegetation, wildlife and shoreline environment; and

Promote public access and provide opportunities to enjoy views and recreational activities in shoreline areas.

Folding those goals into a regulatory framework is indeed complex, but that’s to be expected. This isn’t a recipe for a grilled-cheese sandwich, mind you.

Will it hurt property values? Officials say no, and there has been no evidence presented by critics that shows otherwise.

Lawsuits? Opponents should realize they will be suing the state, and not the city of Bainbridge, if they oppose the plan that’s eventually adopted.

Opponents need to move on. They should abandon some of their unsupportable and tired arguments, and instead offer achievable, specific solutions or modifications to the current proposal under review.


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