>Important Meeting on Monday March 31st – 3/28/08

>Important Community Plan Meeting on Monday 3/31/08

Official Notice. Nearly two months ago every Illahee resident was sent a postcard notice that the community was developing a community plan and asked residents to attend an open house.

Open House. The Open House was the beginning of a community public process.

Monday Meetings. Following the Open House began a series of every-other Monday meetings, with the next one being on Monday 3/31/08. All the meetings are from 6-8 pm and are at the Unitarian Church, except for the April 16th meeting that will be held at the Library.

This is an Unofficial Update. The county is in charge of the process and they are the ones providing the official reports. Many of you have asked that we continue to provide you with unofficial updates, so that is what this update is, unofficial.

Meeting Progress. So far the group has agreed upon a vision statement similar to the one developed earlier and the same boundaries that were developed for the draft community plan. The county is working on preparing a community questionnaire.

County Experts. Beginning with Monday’s meeting we will be having county experts coming to the meetings to help explain the county’s position on items such as zoning, transportation, storm water, wastewater, aquifers, wildlife corridors, and other issues.

Important Issues Being Discussed. On Monday we will be getting into the first substantive issues of the Draft Community Plan, which is Chapter 3 “Zoning and Development Regulations.” This chapter covers legacy lots, view protection, building height limitations, zoning (Urban Restricted 1-4 or 1-5 units per acre, Urban Low 5-9 units per acre, Urban Medium 10-18 units per acre, and Mixed Use commercial).

Others are Attending. Last week we had two members of the Planning Commission attend and an employee of Team Four, the engineering firm that worked the Illahee Outfall project for the MT Illahee Corporation, and is working on the Timbers Edge project.

We Need More Attendees! Frankly, it would be nice to have more community members in attendance as the decisions being made at these meetings are what will end up in the Illahee Community Plan. The county is using the draft plan that was prepared as a starting point for discussions, but the plan we will end up with is based on the decisions that are made during these Monday meetings. That is why it is important for community members to attend so their voices can be heard.

Draft Community Plan Copies. One of the advantages of having the county in charge of the process is they have printed up copies of the Illahee Community Plan. On-line copies are also available on our Illahee community website, illaheecommunity.com (Monday’s topic – Chapter 3) and on the county website.

Please Pass This Information On. We are aware of many Illahee residents who don’t have email or do not have a computer. If you have neighbors who are not aware of these meetings please advise them of what is happening with the community plan.

Questions. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call me at 479-1049,

Jim Aho

>Miscellaneous Items – 3/17/08

>Miscellaneous Items:

Scientific Experts Briefing. Last week (Tuesday 3/11/08) there was a very informative briefing at the Norm Dicks Center. We brought a small video camera and the results were good so we are working on formatting and hopefully making DVD’s available, or possibly putting on our website, illaheecommunity.com. More information to follow on the meeting and the results.

The Kitsap Sun covered the meeting with a report on 3/13/08.

3/18/08 Sale of Tax Title Strips. This is an ongoing item that is currently scheduled for sale on 3/18/08 unless someone intervenes. We reported some time ago (2/2/08) that the public was not given an opportunity to speak regarding these properties as was required by county directives. Members of the community have been in contact with Public Works and the Treasures Office. The response from the county has been interesting and up to the point of this writing, the properties are still on the list for sale at 11 a.m. in the lobby of the County Administration Building.

Illahee Community Plan Meetings. The meetings are held every other Monday through June 2, 2008 and are facilitated by Kitsap County. The second meeting is tonight, Monday 3/17/08 from 6-8 pm at the KUUF Church on Perry Avenue. Illahee residents are encouraged to come and be part of the group.

Gilberton Creek Culvert Replacement. We have requested a public meeting of the Gilberton Creek washout to discuss the county’s plan to put in a 10 foot diameter culvert. We will report back when we hear more. We have attached an email from John Sledd, who lives at the mouth of Gilberton Creek which provides much additional information on the creek.

Sorry to be slow getting back to you. I really appreciate your interest in the aftermath of the culvert blow-out and flash flood in December that took out Illahee Road and nearly half a mile of stream. That stream and the lagoon at its mouth were a big part of the reason we bought our place twenty years ago. It hurts to see it trashed, and you can imagine what our neighbors the Grahns feel like — they’ve had most of this neck of Gilberton in their family since the late 1800’s.

Based on what I’ve learned in my job (I’m an attorney and I’ve done a fair amount of fish habitat-related work), Mr. Bear’s explanation of why a fish-passable culvert is needed is correct. The State relies on physical characteristics for its initial determination of fish-bearing status when enforcing the Hydraulics Code, which requires permits and protection of fish life for any in-water work in fish habitat. There are also state fish passage laws — they are actually the oldest laws in Washington, dating back to the Oregon Territory Organic Act of 1849 — which prohibit the building of culverts that are not fish passable. As I said when we spoke on the phone the other night there is finally some effort to comply with those laws.

In this case the fish-bearing determination based on physical criteria is confirmed by history. Pete and Karl Grahn fished for cutthroat in that creek as kids and the Phifers, who had our place from the early 60’s until 1989, still saw cutts when they owned it. The trout probably would have been up past the Road originally. I never saw salmon up that far , but I have seen coho adults and salmonid fry lower down. If the channel were in better shape there could be juvenile coho up to or past the road. They use a lot of small and even seasonal streams, and I had one biologist tell me that they’d spawn in our kitchen sinks if we all made our drain pipes a bit fatter. Probably a slight exaggeration. There may have been chum in there originally, too. They head for shallow saltwater as soon as they hatch , so they don’t need much summer flow. The “pocket estuary” at the creek mouth here is pretty prime habitat for juvenile chum , too — or it was before December filled it with mud and broken trees. We tend not to think of these small creeks as salmon streams, but that’s partly because we’ve beaten them up so bad the fish are gone. To me, the fact that we’ve already wiped out the runs in a stream is a pretty lame excuse for allowing the degradation to continue.

I’d be interested to see the cost estimates for the different culvert and bridge options, but I’d be surprised if the cost of a fish-passable pipe on Illahee Road is a lot more than sticking another little 18 inch straw through the road and hoping it never rains hard again. The biggest costs in fish passage projects are usually not in the pipe, but in removing and rebuilding the road prism. The flood did the removing here, and made certain that the rebuilding costs will be high no matter what option the county chose.

Of course, as you suggested when you called, a fish-friendly culvert makes no sense if the creek channel downstream stays silted up and braided like it is after the flood — the fish would need legs and breathing apparatus to anywhere. It is certainly feasible to rebuild the channel, and putting all those downed logs from the flood into the creekbed for habitat would be a lot easier than hauling them out of the ravine. Based on my research, I think there are good arguments why the County and possibly some of the upstream developers are legally required to either restore the creek, lagoon and beach or pay affected landowners enough to restore it. In any case it’s clear that if it wasn’t for Illahee Road and its dinky old culvert, that flash flood would never have happened, and we’d still own a creek in a forest and a beach, rather than a big, naked gravel bar and a stinking mudflat full of dead clams. It just does not seem fair to trash folks’ property that way and then walk off with a shrug.

Commissioner Brown and the Public Works engineers were good enough to come down and see the mess for themselves, and they expressed some sympathy, but I haven’t seen concrete evidence yet that the County plans to do more than lug out a few chunks of pipe and asphalt. We wouldn’t even have known the County plans to do that much if we hadn’t learned about it through you.

My wife (Elaine Thomas) and I and the Grahns gave Commissioner Brown a consistent message when we met with him last month. The County has the opportunity here to do right by the landowners, by the salmon, and by the community. With some coordinated effort and community support we could get funds to restore the beach, estuary and creek, or better yet to take advantage of the Grahn’s interest to acquire the ravine and lagoon for the public. The Greater Peninsula Conservancy already owns a couple of acres between our place and Illahee Road. There is a chance to add to that and to preserve a nice public greenbelt and fish and wildlife corridor as the neighborhood grows, and a place with a lot of Native and early non-Native history as well. I’m probably a nut for thinking like this, but crazier things have been done.

You folks in Illahee have the reputation for community organization and caring about your neighborhood — what do you think?

Sorry to be so wordy but this situation gets me riled up. I hope we can get a meeting together and kick some of this around.

I copied this to the folks on your cc list whom I know, and to the Grahns, and I sent a pretty similar email to Roy Barton. You are free to share this with whomever you please.

Best and thanks again, John Sledd

Additional Items? If you have additional items you would like us to report on, please let us know.

Jim Aho

>Gilberton Creek Culvert Replacement – 3/9/08

>We have heard from a number of people this weekend who would like a briefing from the county on the Gilberton Creek Culvert Replacement, which is at the north end of the Illahee community.

On March 5th Kitsap County issued a DETERMINATION OF NONSIGNIFICANCE. We have copied a portion of the document which reads as follows:

DETERMINATION OF NONSIGNIFICANCE

Description of Proposal: Illahee Road Culvert Replacement – Replace a failed undersized 18 inch culvert with a ten foot diameter culvert constructed for fish passage. The proposal includes repair of storm damaged stream banks, upstream and downstream channel repair, and placement of gravel in the stream bed to enhance fish passage.

Proponent: Kitsap County Department of Public Works

Lead Agency: KITSAP COUNTY

Location of proposal, including street address, if any: On Illahee Road at an unnamed stream tributary that flows to Port Orchard Bay, approximately 1.5 miles south of the intersection with Brownsville Highway, near Gilberton.

The lead agency for this proposal has determined that it does not have a probable significant adverse impact on the environment. An environmental impact statement (EIS) is not required under RCW 43.21C.030(2)(c). This decision was made after review of a completed environmental checklist and other information on file with the lead agency. This information is available to the public on request.

0 There is no comment period for this DNS.

0 This DNS is issued after using the optional DNS process in WAC 197-11-355. There is no further comment period on the DNS.

X This DNS is issued under 197-11-340(2); the lead agency will not act on this proposal for 14 days from the date below. Comments must be submitted by: March 24, 2008.

COMMENTS:
The replacement culvert will improve capacity for stream flow and fish passage under Illahee Road. The in-stream work will be subject to Hydraulic Project Approval from Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Nationwide Permit approval from the Corps of Engineers.

Responsible Official / Contact Person: David Greetham
Position/Title: SEPA Administrator, Dept. of Community Development Phone: (360) 337-7181
Address: 619 Division Street, Port Orchard, WA 98366

Nearly all the people we spoke with have some concerns, first about how the washout happened, and second, they want to be briefed on the project, and possibly having some input, as the project goes forward.

We are forwarding this update to Commissioner Josh Brown, KC Public Works, and the Department of Community Development, to see if they can set up a briefing for the Illahee and Gilberton communities regarding the culvert replacement.

Jim Aho

>Thoughts on the Plan – 3/6/08

>Illahee Community Plan Thoughts 3-6-08

There have been a number of comments and concerns received regarding what will happen with the Illahee Community Plan now that the process has been taken over by the county.

Most residents we talked with are apprehensive and some are concerned that the progress we made will be undone. We have been asked to express our thoughts and views.

Our thoughts, though apprehensive, are also optimistic.

We think once the county planners see our geographical area as predominately Environmentally Sensitive Areas (ESAs), they will understand why we want a community plan that respects our geological landscape.

The ESAs are the reason we have Illahee State Park and the Illahee Preserve. The ESAs are the reason we have a nearly self-contained watershed and salmon stream. The ESAs are the reason there are no north-south roads through the area between Wheaton Way and Illahee Road. The ESAs are the reason when we have a major storm, we have a road washout at Gilberton Creek, a near washout at Rue Villa, and future culvert problem at Illahee Creek.

The problem is our ESAs are in an area designated URBAN. Urban, by definition, means higher densities and existing or planned infrastructure. ESAs, on the other hand, limit the ability to provide for those higher densities and make it difficult and expensive to provide infrastructure. And so those who respect the ESAs find themselves at odds with planners and developers pushing for higher densities, all because of the “urban” designation.

The URBAN designation was given Illahee in 1998 before the purchase of the Illahee Preserve and the new culvert for Illahee Creek, factors that some in the community feel are now pertinent as we review the URBAN title. The Growth Management Act (GMA) is the law for the State and utilizes 13 goals to ensure compliance. The first Citizens Advisory Group (CAG) used all 13 goals to measure compliance, and felt the GMA supported Illahee’s Plan, but not as demonstrably as we would like since there are no known special categories for communities with large areas of open space and ESAs.

What we need is some special designation or classification for ESA lands, like an urban forest, a greenway, an urban greenbelt, an urban separator, or the like that will help settle the conflict that exists between those trying to ‘urbanize’ the area and those trying to protect and preserve it.

We also need the county recognize that this area, as an ESA, needs to be treated differently, and that it can do so following GMA guidelines, so we can work together to come up with an acceptable community plan for both the residents and the county.

We thought we were nearly there, primarily because of the decisions of the County Commissioners in 2006 when they established much of the community’s zoning requests. We say ‘nearly’ because there is a major stumbling block now with the county mandate that all urban areas be sewered. Sewers and ESAs are not a good fit in Illahee where we are concerned with aquifer protection, groundwater infiltration, and stream low base flows. We have provided the county with information regarding these issues and hope the information is being considered.

Many in our community think that the development side of the county has been lax with respect for the ESAs. Theoretically, if they were doing the job of balancing environmental issues with land use decisions, Illahee may not have felt the need to develop a community plan. The truth is, we in the Illahee community are trying to correct the county’s past development mistakes (such as the gross sedimentation of the Sound), and are extremely concerned about other current issues. It seems ironic that a local community would be more concerned about environmental issues than the county, whose job it is to protect those issues.

Thankfully, we have a community that has the will power to come together to fight those injustices by funding and supporting scientific studies and/or soliciting legal help to back up their concerns.

Some have questioned where the county’s experts stand on these issues. The issues are not new ones and they are not rocket science. Are our county paid experts being heard? Or, are their views being trumped by others in the county? Many think it the latter. As we go through the draft community plan we will be hearing from many of these experts, and hopefully the community and the county can come together with the science to develop a plan we can all live with.

The possibility that the scientific approach may not prevail is why many in Illahee are apprehensive. And others, who believe that science and truth will prevail in the county, are optimistic.

We have people on both sides watching and hoping for the best, and Illahee Creek and the ESAs hang in the balance, waiting to see which way the scale will tip.

Jim Aho

>Press Release – 3/5/08

>The following ‘Press Release’ was sent to local newspapers today and is provided for your information. This was our first time so we are waiting now to see what the papers do with it.

Please note that all of the residents in Illahee will want to attend this meeting. Dr. Booth and Dr. Massmann are both former UW professors and really are renowned in their fields of geology and hydrology. One of the questions we will be asking Dr. Booth is – Where does the Blakely Harbor Fault line (that was identified following the 2001 Seattle earthquake) comes through in Illahee?

The Norm Dicks center is a great place for this type of presentation. By having it during the early evening time there should be readily available parking.

=====

Port of Illahee
Surface Water Management Plan Grant Office

ILLAHEE PROJECTS BRIEFING
A Briefing of Illahee Creek and the Illahee Watershed by Scientific Experts

A mid-project briefing by renowned scientists working in Illahee will be held at the Norm Dicks Government Center on the evening of March 11, 2008 from 6-8 pm.

Speakers include: Fisheries biologist Pete Lawson of Paramentrix; Geologist Derek Booth, PhD of Stillwater Sciences; Hydrologist Joel Massmann, PhD of Keta Waters; and Stormwater Engineer, Erin Nelson of Paramentrix.

Dr. Booth will discuss the general geology of the Illahee area and in particular the relationship with groundwater and surface water hydrology, along with his thoughts regarding whether Illahee lies within a seismic fault zone. Dr. Joel Massmann will discuss the underlying aquifers in Illahee and their relationship to Illahee Creek and low base flows. Pete Lawson will present his biological assessment of Illahee Creek and fish habitat recommendations. Erin Nelson will discuss their progress in identifying solutions to the storm water surges plaguing Illahee Creek. There will also be brief overview of the results of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grant. A question and answer session will follow the presentation.

These projects are funded by grants from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the Washington State Department of Ecology, and by the Port of Illahee, the Illahee Forest Preserve, and the Illahee Community. Water quality testing programs and stormwater planning are supported by Kitsap County Department of Health and Kitsap County Public Works.

# # #

If you’d like more information about this topic, or would like to schedule an interview with one of the speakers, please call Jim Aho @ (360) 479-1049, or email Jim @ jimaho@gmail.com.

>Unofficial Report of CAG Meeting – 3/3/08

>Unofficial Report. This is an unofficial report of the Citizens Advisory Group (CAG) meeting held earlier this Monday (3/3/08) evening. The official reporting of the meeting will be by Kitsap County.

Continuing to Report. We have been asked by a number of Illahee residents to continue with our reporting of the all the events going on in Illahee, including our views of the CAG meetings, and so we will publish unofficial updates that cover the meetings.

County Process. The county has taken over the entire community plan process and so it was interesting for us to observe their methods and actions at this first meeting. They are starting from the beginning, with the visioning process, to determine exactly what the citizens of Illahee desire for their community. We think this is a wise decision on their part, and needs to be done, to prevent someone coming in later to say the public process was not followed or it was not sufficiently objective.

Planning Team. Katrina Knutson is our lead planner, with Jonathan Pavy as assistant, and Pete Sullivan, another planner who is also assisting. They are an energetic, knowledgeable,and helpful team and it should enjoyable to work with them. They are trained planners and have access to information that took us much time to obtain, not to mention access to maps and readily available copy machines.

Monday (3/3/08) Meeting. This was the first official meeting of the CAG that followed the open house held last Monday. The CAG was relatively small in numbers but very concerned and outspoken.

The Vision? So what did they come up with for a vision? There were 5 or 6 charts of input that we will let the county synthesize and report on. When we compared their notes with the vision statement in the draft Plan, we found it was almost exactly the same as that articulated by one of the breakout groups. We think the second group may have come up with some new additions, but will wait to see once the final report on visioning is complete.

Similar to 2006? The original vision statements in the draft Plan came from the comments received from the approximately 250 respondents to the questionnaire sent out in March of 2006. It was when Illahee residents responded with articulate statements of what they wanted for their community and were willing to take the time to answer questions and then address, stamp, and mail them into a Post Office Box, that we knew the Illahee residents really cared. And it was heartwarming Monday to hear essentially the same concerns and interest in Illahee some two years later with another group of residents.

A New Survey. The group was asked whether they felt a community survey should be conducted, and we were happy they wanted one. For those of us involved with the beginning of the Plan in 2006, the questionnaire that was developed provided the basis for almost everything we did in that it provided the quantitative data of what the community wanted. Without it we would have had to rely on what was said at each meeting, which would have been dependent on who attended, and then on who spoke up. We found out then that we have many people in Illahee who for whatever reason are not ‘meeting people’ but who want their voices to be heard. And so we welcome the survey and will help get the survey out to residents, if need be.

Thanks to the County. In closing, we thank the County Commissioners and DCD Director Larry Keaton for supporting the development of an Illahee Community Plan. We look forward to working on a plan that preserves and protects the natural features, charm and quaintness of Illahee for this generation and generations to come.

A Unique Opportunity? We think this is a very special habitat place that needs some special care and attention by the county and the community, and those actions will someday be an example or showplace of what can happen if people really want to protect and preserve unique natural resources.

Jim Aho

>Transition Update – 2/29/08

>This is a TRANSITION update.

Kitsap County is now the official source of information regarding the Illahee Community Plan. Any further reference to the Plan in these Illahee Community Updates is unofficial.

Email Katrina. To get on the Kitsap County email list simply email Katrina Knutson at kknutson@co.kitsap.wa.us. She will need to know if you want to be on the Citizens Advisory Group (CAG) list or the Interested Party list.

Note: When we started issuing updates we were careful to guard your email addresses by sending out “blind copies” unless the addresses or people were in the public domain. Therefore, we have not provided your email address to the county, so if you want to be notified by the county you will need to give them your information.

CAG Meeting on Monday (3/3/08). That said, we want to remind Illahee residents that the first CAG meeting will be held Monday evening (3/3/08) from 6-8 pm at the Kitsap Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Church on Perry Ave.

Get a copy of the draft Plan. Even if you can’t commit to the CAG for the 8 meetings held every other week, you will want to drop by and pick up a copy of the draft Plan and the handout maps.

Puget Sound Partnership Meeting (2/28/08). It was good to see a number of Illahee residents at the Puget Sound Partnership meeting on Thursday at the Kitsap Convention Center at Bremerton Harborside. We will be inputting information on our National Fish & Wildlife Foundation grant and our Port of Illahee / Department of Ecology grant into the Partnership’s “Program Inventory Record” as what we are doing in Illahee fits the PSP goals to restore and protect Puget Sound.

Jim Aho

>Recent Meetings – 2/26/08

>This is a quick summary of recent meetings.

Community Plan Open House Meeting Monday (2/25/08). The highlight of this meeting for many of us was to see the printed up copy of the draft of the Illahee Community Plan. It looked like a professionally produced document, and it also reads like one. We wish more of the original and subsequent members of the CAG were there to pick up a copy and look through it. You have another chance next week.

Next Monday (3/3/08) the first working CAG meeting begins at the KUUF Church @ 6 pm to review Vision statements and the Illahee Community Borders, and we presume other issues, so we hope to see those of you who missed the open house meeting. The meeting schedule is every other Monday beginning on 3/3/08 from 6-8 pm, with all meeting at the church, except for 4/14/08 which meets at the Library. The county will be bringing in experts to answer questions as they go through the Plan chapter by chapter. The complete schedule will be on the KC website and we will put it on the illaheecommunity.com website calendar.

Our planners, Katrina, and her assistant Jonathan, will probably put out a press release on the Open House meeting so we won’t elaborate anymore here.

Illahee Community Club (ICC) Meeting Saturday (2/23/08). This was a serious ICC meeting as they looked at a number of Illahee issues including the Hearing Examiner’s recent decision to deny the Club’s appeal and approve the Illahee Outfall Replacement project. The community is having a hard time understanding how another outfall can be installed at a public beach and swimming area.

A group of members had met earlier to see if there wasn’t a possible alternative solution to the outfall issue that would be satisfactory to everyone. They presented their proposal and asked the Club to support it, which after some discussion they voted to proceed with the proposal. The first requirement of the proposal is to have a storm water engineer verify the plan is a sound one. The second requirement is to make sure the county will support it. The third is to see if the developer would be willing to develop to the existing zoning instead of using legacy lot options. The timeline is to start working on this right away and try to get it done before the BOCC appeal begins. They are doing this because Mr. Harowitz said he wanted to work with the community, which he has never approached, so we want to see if he really is serious.

The other issue was Timbers Edge and the fact that it is located in a critical aquifer recharge area. The Illahee Forest Preserve sent a letter to the BOCC and DCD regarding the complex land issues associated with aquifers, base flows, and salmon streams. They requested the Fir Drive Aquifer Recharge Area be exempted from the mandatory sewer requirement for urban areas based on the results of previous studies conducted in the area. They noted they have had no response from the county since that letter went in, and are hopeful it is receiving consideration.

An Extremely Important Upcoming Meeting on Tuesday (3-11-08). A major meeting of great importance to Illahee residents is a Port of Illahee / Department of Ecology Grant Mid-Project briefing scheduled for March 11, 2008 at the Norm Dicks Center. Presenters will be Dr. Derek Booth, Dr. Joel Massmann, and Erin Nelson. They will talk about the geology, the hydrology and storm water issues affecting Illahee. These are highly respected scientists who will help us better understand some of the underlying natural features of this area. Keep this date open on your calendars. We will provide more information later.

Jim Aho