Letters to the Editor

Letters

Illahee

County wrong for rejecting appeal.

We would like to respond to the decision by Kitsap County Commissioners Bauer and Angel to reject the Illahee Community Club’s appeal regarding the Illahee Outfall and the placement of a 42inch diameter outfall on a public beach (Commissioner Brown supported our appeal).

The Community Club contemplated the expense of an appeal and decided it had no choice as some crucial items were ignored by the Hearing Examiner.

The community is primarily concerned with locating the outfall directly under our public fishing and swimming dock located on Port Orchard Bay.

The community area is extremely small (50 - 100 feet wide) and used for shellfishing, swimming, SCUBA diving, etc.

We are concerned about water quality because rains wash pollutants (whatever is upland and along the roadway) directly to the outfall and beach. We presented those concerns and also highlighted the differences between the current (2005) Department of Ecology stormwater manual and the county’s use of the 1992 Ecology manual. Despite county staff testimony given during the appeal, increased stormwater treatments are required by the latest Ecology manual to further reduce pollutants.

But those treatment concerns have sidetracked the critical issue, which is the public health issue of locating an outfall on a public beach used for swimming and shellfish harvesting.

The county did not, we repeat, did not, look at the public health issues of the outfall. The county’s health technician looked only at drinking water and sewer requirements for lots.

Public health is the “long pole in the tent.” It is the major and overriding issue for the Illahee Community. We explained this to the Hearing Examiner and in our appeal, but no one seems to get it.

We feel county staff, who know the review limits, are less than forthright in explaining them; it appears they are more interested in “winning” than in doing the right thing. We think even the Hearing Examiner got duped into thinking the Health Department approved all aspects of the project.

Who loses with this decision? Kitsap County citizens, the Illahee Community, the waters of Puget Sound, the children swimming at the dock, and the shellfish gathers. In other words, the very citizens the commissioners and county staff are supposed to represent and protect.

It is a sad day for Kitsap County residents and another sad day for those in Illahee.

James Aho

The Illahee Community Club Board, rep

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