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Critical Areas Ordinance gets critical view

DCD wetland biologist Robbyn Myers explains wetland boundaries at Wednesday night’s public forum. - Photo by Charlie Bermant
DCD wetland biologist Robbyn Myers explains wetland boundaries at Wednesday night’s public forum.
— image credit: Photo by Charlie Bermant

After months of confusion, the Kitsap County Department of Community Development sponsored a three-and-a-half-hour meeting in front of an overflow crowd on Wednesday night in order to explain the Critical Areas Ordinance.

The CAO regulates the size of stream buffers, which are to be increased under the new law.

“They did a good job outlining their draft,” said Elizabeth Scott, government affairs program assistant for the Home Builders Association of Kitsap County. “It’s a very scientific and technical subject, but anyone who attended the meeting now has a better idea of what it’s about.”

Scott said her constituents still have concerns about how to achieve the maximum allowable building density.

Protecting local wetlands doesn’t represent preservation for its own sake, according to DCD Director Cindy Baker. Since the county doesn’t have runoff water sources, its major drinking water source comes from groundwater.

Aside from this, the preventive action of saving wetlands will prevent future problems.

“It’s always cheaper to prevent a problem than to fix it,” Baker said. “You brush your teeth in order to prevent cavities.”

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