>Illahee Outfall Appeal – 5/9/08

>The Illahee Outfall Appeal Hearing is Monday (5/12/08)

Hearing Details: The Illahee Community Club’s appeal of the Hearing Examiners decision will be held Monday evening (5/12/08) at 7:15 pm in the County Administration Building in Port Orchard. Our limited understanding of what will happen is as follows: The Club’s attorney, Ryan Vancil will have approximately 10 minutes to argue the Club’s case, followed by a rebuttal by the Appellant’s attorney, Ron Templeton. If the attorneys don’t use all their allotted time there may some following comments. The Commissioners will not make a decision at the hearing, but will take it under advisement and issue their ruling at a subsequent meeting. It is a “closed hearing” meaning only the issues previously presented can be discussed. The pre-briefs were filed today, Friday, with the County, by both parties.

Show Your Support: Illahee residents are encouraged to attend the appeal hearing. It is helpful when community members attend these hearings as it is a visual demonstration that the community is behind the appeal and is interested in seeing that the right decisions are made.

Issues Could Not be Worked out in Time: Community members have met with the applicant and their engineers on several occasions to see if some sort of compromise could be worked out. The Community Club wanted to delay the hearing in hopes that the complex issues could be resolved, but the applicant wanted to proceed with the hearing.

Public Health Issue: One of the issues that seems to be dominant among Illahee citizens is public health concerns with dumping more storm water at the dock. When the 24 inch diameter outfall was put in in the mid 1990’s local residents noticed a decrease in fish and shellfish at the dock. With increasing home density from the development of the small legacy lots in historic Illahee, additional storm water, and its inherent pollutants, will be increasing. The Community Club is concerned that the stormwater either not sent to an outfall at the base of the dock, or that it receive basic treatment and be discharged to deep water.

We have extracted the public health writeup from the brief which reads as follows:

A. The County Failed to Consider Public Health Issues.
RCW 43.20.050, in reference to bathing beaches, states “No bathing beach shall be maintained or operated when such water is determined by the health officer to be so polluted or subject to pollution as to constitute a menace to health if used for bathing.” The Illahee dock and adjoining beach is used by the community for swimming in the summer and is used by SCUBA divers year round.
Additionally, the dock and beach provide an area where fishing and the gathering of shellfish for food consumption take place. As indicated at the hearing, when a sewage spill occurred in the Illahee North development (February 2004), high concentrations of fecal coliform bacteria were conveyed to the dock outfall and the dock area was posted from February 2 to February 27, 2004. This is just one indication that the public health issues need to be evaluated at this public beach and dock facility.
There is no evidence that the County considered the public health issues associated with the outfall. This argument was raised by the Petitioners at the hearing (See e.g. Ex. 99) and the Examiner failed to address it in his decision. This is one of the primary concerns of the Illahee community and represents a major failure of the County and the Hearing Examiner to consider the human environmental impact of the outfall under SEPA. The Hearing Examiner states in his decision regarding groundwater, aquifers and wells, that “Finally, the Kitsap County Health District had no comments or conditions regarding the project (Exhibit “27”).” The Health District had “no comments or conditions” only regarding wastewater and potable water. The Health District did not conduct a public health review on the other aspects of this project, including the outfall. The Hearing Examiner appears to have erroneously concluded that the Health Department has approved all aspects of the project when in fact only a wastewater and potable water review was completed.

As previously stated, the complete text of the pre-brief is attached if you want to read further.

The Illahee Community Club hopes to see you at the appeal Monday evening and appreciates your support.

Jim Aho