DOE Initial Review Proves Nothing

An editorial in the Bainbridge Review claims that because the Department of Ecology did not note any problems with the draft SMP Update, it is hunky dory—-not oppressive, not a gross overreach of regulation, not too long, not too complex, not going to bring on expensive lawsuits, not—not—not!

However, claiming this is like a tobacco company claiming that cigarettes are not harmful to your health, will not irritate your throat, will not cause cancer, will not bring expensive lawsuits, not—not—not!

In fact, the SMP Update regulations do add 25 to 100 feet more buffer from the water’s edge. They will require you to plant trees in front of your home’s view if you add a deck or even small remodel. It does virtually outlaw new docks. It does have as a goal to phase out non-conforming uses. Bulkheads will be more difficult to build new and to fix. 50-60% more homes will be in the restrictive “Residential Conservancy” designation. It is an oppressive, a gross overreach of regulation and likely to result in lawsuits costly to the City.

And all of this without pertinent science proving that there is a correlation between these regulations and the overall health of Puget Sound.

Water quality in Puget Sound could be better maintained and even improved if the city would spend the $2M stormwater fees it collected last year on a rain garden at the end of each street end rather than terrorizing shoreline property owners.

As for what the DOE has at stake—-nothing! It is another government bureaucracy focused on its mandate with no need to regard the wider effects of its actions on people and communities. The DOE stamp of approval no more proves that the shoreline property owners fears were unfounded than the tobacco companies claiming that physicians recommend cigarettes to sooth irritated throats.

1 Response to “DOE Initial Review Proves Nothing”


  1. 1 Claes Hagstromer November 4, 2013 at 10:59 am

    That is verry succinct summary of what is at stake with new SMP! Even the 4 pro-SMP council members I have talked to KNOW that they are at the most cleaning up 2 – 10% of Puget Sound (but no figures are available) i.o. addressing the 90 – 98% problem. And Barbara with DOE has told me that they have never told any WA jurisdiciton they have gone too far, they only have a minimum. She also told me that many jurisdictions have a trigger of minimum 500 sq. ft. of improvements before the SMP rules will be used. BI has a one sq. ft. trigger and DOE says nothing!


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