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SMP: The state has its say | IN OUR OPINION
All the sound and fury over the city of Bainbridge Island’s new Shoreline Management Program has proven to be just that.
Sound and fury.
The state Department of Ecology has concluded its initial review of the city’s rewritten shoreline plan, and in comments to the city this week, officials have noted just one problem area: policies and regulations covering aquaculture.
Make no mistake, the results of the Ecology review are a stunning rebuke to those who have complained for many months now that the Bainbridge plan marks an oppressive regulatory overreach into the lives of shoreside property owners.
Shoreline property owners — not all, to be sure — have harshly criticized the Bainbridge plan for its complexity, its length and its supposed unconstitutionality. Opponents lambasted city council members who dared to vote for the plan, marched on city hall, and flooded Ecology with letters and emails that pointed out what they saw as fatal flaws of the updated SMP.
The response from Ecology, however, shows that the attempts of city planners, volunteers, citizens and others to reach that crucial balance — between responsible shoreline development, preservation of the shoreline environment, public access to the shoreside and property rights — has been met.
It remains to be seen if opponents of the plan will accept this expert view of the SMP from the people who live and breathe SMPs every day; the review staff at Ecology.
Still, Bainbridge Island residents — and voters, too — can now rightly set aside the alarmist claims on the SMP by those who had hoped to use it as a political football. The experts have spoken.