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Kitsap County creates shoreline task force

As part of its long-range planning process, Kitsap County has created a 20-member task force to guide shoreline management and help create polices that set the stage for local waterways.

“Many other communities solicit public input for their shoreline strategy but wait until the second or third year to put together a citizen committee,” said Natural Resources Manager Patty Charnas. “We decided to do it right and get the citizens involved from the very beginning.”

Charnas said the 20-member board was selected from 46 applicants and that more than 90 people requested application materials.

The first meeting of the task force will take place in April at Island Lake in Poulsbo.

Charnas said a 20-member task force represents a larger group than many experts recommend because in groups of that size it can be hard for the individual to be heard.

Due to the size of the group and the complex nature of the material, the county expects to hire a facilitator to organize and manage the meetings.

Charnas declined to name the facilitator until after approval by the county commissioners on March 22.

The facilitator’s salary will be funded through a state grant that supports the shoreline process and will not cost the county, according to Charnas.

“There are a lot of complicated topics that will need to be addressed during this process,” she said. “Having a facilitator will help us to organize the information and deal with it properly.”

The Kitsap County commissioners approved the creation of the task force at their March 8 regular meeting.

At the time, Kitsap Association of Property Owners Executive Director Vivian Henderson suggested that each task force meeting incorporate an open segment where the public can comment on the proceedings.

Henderson read a letter from the county to an unsuccessful task force applicant, which resembled a standard employment rejection letter.

Henderson characterized the letter as cold.

“The person who received this letter felt hurt,” she said. “I agree with them. The letter should have included the fact that the meetings are open and the public is welcome to attend and contribute.”

The shoreline report is due on June 30, 2011.

The county has established a Web site, www.kitsapshoreline.org, that contains the current schedule as well as background information.

“The Web site is the best place to go if you want to know about what we are doing,” Charnas said.

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