Don’t go backward on shoreline rules | LETTER TO THE EDITOR
July 10, 2012 · Updated 7:15 AM
To the editor:
The “tail is wagging the dog.”
The effective and well-organized minority of landowners on Bainbridge Island oppose an effective Shoreline Management Plan. They continually frighten people by focusing on the worse case scenario: a constant barrage of blogs, letters, action alerts and even cartoons.
They conveniently overlook the fact that the primary purpose of the Shoreline Management Plan (required by law) is to protect and improve the health of state land and waters, it is not to protect, property “rights” - that’s the “wagging” tail,” and a sad tale it is.
That’s not to say the Shoreline Management Plan shouldn’t respect property rights as much as possible.
The good folks on the Sand Spit are seeking a special variance but it was a mistake when the state decided to sell our then public shorelines, further compounded when Kitsap County issued building permits on this super sensitive area.
The first tsunami, if not naturally rising sea levels, will solve that problem, permanently, and sadly, there is nothing anyone can do to alter either possibility.
The “threatened” status of king salmon in Puget Sound under the Endangered Species Act has limited the degree of variances that can be granted and serves as a reminder that our shorelines are deteriorating.
People seem to forget that individual action, be it cutting a tree, armoring their shore, or building a dock, is not in isolation bad, but if we all do the same thing the cumulative effect can be disastrous.
All citizens have the responsibility to our shorelines but the owners have a special obligation as well as responsibility, by virtue of their paying for the special privilege and enjoyment of living on our shores.
Please, don’t let the tail wag us backwards. Move forward with this opportunity to have better shoreline protection, and a stronger Shoreline Management Plan.
BOB L. BURKHOLDER