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Thoughts on shoreline update
Protecting the shoreline.
The piecemeal approach to require individual property owners to comply with what staff suggest will not do what is intended, “no net loss of shoreline ecological functions”. The distance between single-family homes that are not subject to the substantial development process south of Kirkland is too long. The fish are vulnerable and will not be able to find havens soon enough in the small parcels of land that are modified and few and far between in south Kirkland.
North of the city center where single-family homes are prevalent, it’s a different issue. If someone improves his or her property more than the exemption allowed by law, it becomes subject to the substantial development process. It would trigger shoreline and bulkhead reviews with possible removal of existing bulkheads.
If they complied and their neighbor did not because they did not need or desire to improve their property, it would be like what the city did with concomitant agreements to provide sidewalks, a piecemeal approach and loss of revenues that resulted in no sidewalks. Of course the city could condemn the shoreline between ecology-approved parcels and use adverse possession to force improvements, but that would be expensive and political suicide.
The downtown business area is a large obstacle to what staff recommends. The area is huge and full of environmental incorrect structures that would be difficult and very expensive to correct. According to the staff report, the area impedes the migration of fish; however, the Shoreline Management Program allows for commercial development.
There will be a hearing at city hall with Houghton Community Council on November 24th.
Robert L. Style, Kirkland