Press Release

October 7, 2014

Preserve Responsible Shoreline Management LLC (PRSM) and Petitioners filed a Petition for Review with the Growth Management Hearings Board to challenge the City of Bainbridge Island’s new Shoreline Master Program (SMP) – Ordinance 2014-04.

The petition claims that certain regulations of the Shoreline Management Act (SMA) have been violated which negatively affects single family homeowners on the shoreline. The twenty-one page petition cites forty-eight issues based on Public Participation Failures, violations of the SMA and conflict with the Comprehensive Plan and/or Development Regulations. It alludes to but does not expand upon additional constitutional issues outside the purview of the Growth Management Hearings Board.

The eleven petitioners consist of both individuals and organizations.

The new SMP is virtually silent about the real sources of pollution on Bainbridge Island said Richard Haugan, a founder of Preserve Responsible Shoreline Management LLC, petitioner and coordinator of the appeal. The City spent hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars creating law that targets one group of environmentally responsible homeowners, while ignoring the road and highway runoff and city sewage leaks that emit, far and away, the largest amount of pollutants entering the Puget Sound from our community.

The petitioners seek that the Growth Management Hearings Board to find the Bainbridge SMP non-compliant and to strike the ordinance.

Petition for Review

Contact: shoreline

Visit the web site:


Please excuse the mess up with the Post Office – if your contribution was returned please send it again to the same PO Box 10957


Action To Fix The Shoreline Plan Update


Learn how Bainbridge Island’s recently adopted Shoreline Master Program will harm shoreline property owners and how you can be part of the solution to fix it.

When and Where:
Thursday, September 25, 2014  7:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Waterfront Park Community Center (Huney Hall)
370 Brien Drive SE (across from Waterfront Park)

-Dennis Reynolds: attorney and co-sponsor
-Bainbridge Island shoreline homeowners
-Aaron Laing: attorney, Chair of the City of Bellevue
Planning Commission, and co-sponsor

This is a serious matter. COBI’s updated
Shoreline Master Program impacts you by:
 DECLARING existing homes to be “non-conforming;”
 DESIGNATING a large number of existing homes within the
new “shoreline residential conservancy” label triggering strict
rules limiting the use, enjoyment and value of your property;
 IMPOSING strict vegetation buffers that will block your view
and over time likely destroy your garden, lawn or existing
landscaping if modifications are made to your home;
 BANNING or unduly RESTRICTING private docks or
residential bulkheads; and
 FORCING costly restoration at owners’ expense.

Sep 25: Shoreline Properties at Risk

SMP meeting flyer FINAL

Click image to enlarge.


200 Winslow Way W
REVISED 7/22/14

Re: COBI Shoreline Master Program Next Steps

Dear Folks:

I was scheduled to speak at a community forum tonight, Tuesday, July 22, 2014, put together by Gary Tripp, Bainbridge Island Defense Fund. I have now been asked not to speak. The purpose of this memo is to set forth some thoughts that may be helpful to the Bainbridge Shoreline Homeowners (“BSHO”).1

I am concerned that emotion may be unduly capturing a few, who are obsessing on a single approach based on which group can be the toughest. The affected citizens should be angry and upset, but now is the time to carefully look at all options. As they said in Animal House, “we got to get these guys.” A broad perspective is needed.

To come up with options, I have relied on my 39 years’ experience with shoreline regulatory matters, plus the experience of a trained attorney/ mediatorI employ who deals with land use and regulatory disputes, Ms. Piper Thornburgh. My firm is the only one in the State of Washington whose owner, Dennis Reynolds, worked for State agencies who have input into SMPs and the Office of Attorney General.

The AG is counsel for the State of Washington Department of Ecology in all litigation involvingSMPs. I was co-counsel in litigation which struck down the “SMA Rules” for revising SMPs. I helped negotiate and helped draft the current guidelines for revising SMPs which replaced the SMA Rules. I have drafted SMPs for some municipalities, citizen groups and trade associations.

To my knowledge, I have handled more appeals before the Shoreline Hearings Board than any attorney presently in private practice. I have contested SMPs and their validity before the Growth Management Hearings Boards and the courts. I have on occasion defended reasonable SMPs attacked by environmental groups or Indian Tribes, working with the Office of Attorney General.

(1 The BSHO has separately posted a Power Point presentation which outlines the Shoreline Management Act (“SMA”), the process for appeal of shoreline management programs (SMPs) and the standards for review on appeal.)

I also struck down the Bainbridge Island shoreline moratorium in the Washington State Supreme Court. Our clients were awarded approximately $76,000 in attorney fees and cost in that litigation. Briefly, there are several, not mutually exclusive, options:

(1) Do nothing.

(2) Appeal the COBI Shoreline Master Program (“SMP”) once adopted. The appeal goes to the Growth Management Hearings Board, Central Board, Seattle (“GMHB”). The appeal must be filed within sixty (60) days of the notice of publication of adoption of the SMP. The appeal is “on the record;” that is, no new testimony is taken. The Board primarily reviews whether the SMP is consistent with provisions of the SMP and the State Guidelines, WAC 173-26; it cannot address constitutional issues. An appeal goes to the superior court, which has jurisdiction to address constitutional questions. There is a procedure to skip the superior court and go directly to the Court of Appeals.

(3) Do nothing for now, but consider appealing if a permit to redevelop your land is denied. This is called an “as applied” challenge. Typically, in an “as applied” challenge, the property owner contends the restrictions are excessive because (a) neither directly related to a need to protect the environment and/or (b) disproportionate to any perceived harm. In an “as applied” challenge, the burden is on government to justify its actions, that is, to show “nexus” between a perceived harm and the project proposed. In this type of litigation, damages and attorney fees can be awarded, as well as a declaration invalidating the project decision.

(4) Property owners can organize and write letters to the County Assessor requesting a reduction in taxes based upon the new restrictions. Under the SMA, the Assessor must consider restrictions as affecting the fair market value of the property: “The restrictions imposed by this chapter shall be considered by the county assessor in establishing the fair market value of the property.” RCW 90.58.290. (Emphasis Supplied). Exercise of this option could put pressure on the City to negotiate.

(5) If there is no relief provided by the County Assessor, some of our client groups in other jurisdictions are considering filing a class action for a regulatory taking, seeking money damages.

Another option is litigation of the nature and type the Bainbridge Defense Fund intends to file. In that matter, Richard Stephens with the Groen/Stephens law firm is representing BDF. I know Richard; he is a very capable attorney. According to Mr. Tripp, BDF is considering filing what is called a “direct challenge” contesting “on the face” the constitutionality of various provisions of the SMP.

This direct challenge is anticipated to take four to five years if it goes to the State Supreme Court, and will be very expensive to pursue. The “direct challenge” is a good vehicle to get the City and the Department of Ecology’s attention in my opinion. It could force the City and Department of Ecology to act more intelligently and approve a balanced SMP, if an appeal is filed to the GMHB. The shoreline property owners must understand that there are opportunities to still discuss changes to the SMP with the Department of Ecology.

My firm is handling a challenge to the SMP adopted for Jefferson County. Presently the appeal to the GMHB has been stayed, while the parties discuss settlement. In that proceeding, the citizens have prepared their own version of the SMP to use as a settlement document. We should know in the next month or so how serious Ecology and the County are in terms of working with the affected shoreline owners to change sections of the challenged SMP.

On Bainbridge Island, there is a split on the City Council and, it appears, there is an attitude to re-look at the SMP. An appeal with ensuing settlement discussions is a vehicle to allow the City and the State of Washington Department of Ecology to back down and work out a more balanced SMP. This would avoid protracted litigation and expense without the need to go through piecemeal revisions to the COBI SMP over time.

An appeal is much less expensive than all out litigation. If negotiations ensue, the appellants should retain a top lobbyist with good connections to the  Director of the Department of Ecology and the Governors’ Office to ensure policy-makers with the power to make choices are involved, not just the staff who recommended the current unacceptable version of the COBI SMP.

If my firm is chosen to file an appeal, we will associate Mr. Aaron Laing, a partner with the Schwabe, Williamson and Wyatt Law Firm in Seattle. Mr. Laing is a member of the City of Bellevue Planning Commission. Bellevue appears to be holding up against the Department of Ecology in its SMP review. I hope these comments are helpful.

Very truly yours,
Dennis D. Reynolds




Dennis Reynolds Responds to the SMP Update

July 22 Meeting about a response to the SMP Update



This is a great night to come to the meeting for planning the lawsuit against the City and the DOE over the SMP

The end is near.

DOE letterhead

Dear Interested Parties:

RE: Bainbridge Island Shoreline Master Program Comprehensive Update

On June 23, 2014, The Department of Ecology (Ecology) approved, with changes, the city of Bainbridge Island’s (City) Shoreline Master Program (SMP) comprehensive update. The comprehensive update revises the existing SMP, including the goals, policies, regulations, shoreline environment designations, and administrative process and definitions.

During its formal review process, Ecology conducted a public comment period and determined that some changes are required for the SMP to be consistent with the Shoreline Management Act (RCW 90.58) and the SMP Guidelines (WAC 173-26).

To review Ecology’s documents related to the Bainbridge Island SMP, please check Ecology’s website.

On Ecology’s Website you will find the following documents:

  • Director of Ecology’s conditional approval letter
  • Attachment A: Findings and Conclusions
  • Attachment B: Required Changes
  • Attachment C: Recommended Changes
  • Attachment D: Ecology Response to Comment

In order for the Bainbridge Island SMP to go into effect, the City must send Ecology a written notice agreeing to the changes. The effective date of the SMP will be 14 days after the date of Ecology’s final action. If the City does not agree with the changes or proposes alternative language, it may submit an alternative proposal for Ecology review.

We sent this letter to you because your name is on an “interested party” mailing list, you commented on the draft SMP previously, or you indicated that you want to be notified of any actions concerning the city of Bainbridge Island SMP.

If you have any questions about the SMP update, please contact me at or (425) 649-4309. If you would like a paper copy of Ecology’s documents, please contact Jackie Chandler at (360) 407-7678, persons with hearing loss can call 711 for Washington Relay Service, and persons with speech disabilities can call 877-833-6341.

Barbara Nightingale Shoreline Planner

June 2 SMP Hearing Postponed

At Monday night’s SMP Workshop, the DOE representative said that because they had received 35 questions from the AG’s office on the SMP and 21 questions from the AG’s office on the DOE’s response to public comments that the Public Hearing tentatively scheduled for June 2 would have to be delay, indefinitely.

DOE Abuse of Power

State Senators hold hearing exposing DOE’s abuse of citizenry and local government. (Freedom Foundation article)

Last Thursday, members of the Washington State Senate convened in Sumner to discuss the damaging effects of the Shoreline Management Act (SMA) on property rights. We referenced this hearing here. Of particular interest in this discussion was the role the Department of Ecology plays in the SMP update process.

Legislators in attendance were Sen. Pam Roach (R-31st), Sen. Bruce Dammeir (R-25th), Sen. Jan Angel (R-26th), Sen. Doug Ericksen (R-42nd), Sen. Bob Hasegawa (D-11th), and Rep. Graham Hunt (R-2nd).

Pierce County Councilmembers Dan Roach, Jim McCune and Joyce McDonald also came to ask questions and listen to public comment.

Fortunately, for all those unable to attend, you can see the complete TVW coverage of this hearing here, and I would strongly recommend anyone who cares about property rights, or who wants to see citizens point out the many problems with the Department of Ecology, to watch and share this video.

Best Regards,


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