>Illahee Community now has a “Group” on Facebook. If you’re a Facebook member, search for “Illahee Community” in “groups” and join!
>A Grueling Hearing. The Timbers Edge hearing started at 9 am on Thursday and went until almost 6 pm. What a long and grueling hearing. We need some time to fully access what was accomplished. But, we also need to report on what happened for those who could not be there.
Article in Friday’s Kitsap Sun. The Kitsap Sun covered the hearing and the attached linked report will be in Friday’s edition:
More later. We will provide more information later on the hearing from Illahee residents who attended.
Thanks to Speakers and Attenders. Special thanks goes out to all those attending and those speaking. It couldn’t have been done without you. You were awesome and the community thanks you!
>Back To Issuing Updates. We evidently missed a busy week in Illahee while on vacation. From the emails the bulk of the efforts were planning for the upcoming Timbers Edge Hearing scheduled for Thursday, August 28, 2008. We will try to quickly catch up on what is happening. There was also an Illahee Community Plan meeting on Wednesday, August 20, 2008 that took place. We will cover the Plan in a later update.
Request for a Continuance DENIED. On August 15, 2008, the community appealed the SEPA mitigated determination of non-significance (MDNS) and also requested on continuance based on the unavailability of expert witnesses. In spite of the County Code allowing for continuances, the request was denied and because “Both the Department of Community Development (DCD) and the project applicant strongly object to the continuance and desire the case proceed to hearing as scheduled.” The examiner in denying the request will keep the record open and allow for written testimony/reports
Editorial Comment. It is interesting that in a complex project like this that DCD, the people we pay to make sure projects are done right, strongly objected to the Illahee Community’s request to have expert testimony at the hearing.
Request for a New Hearing Date DENIED. On August 22, 2008, the community sent in a “Motion To Dismiss Hearing” based on the fact the County failed to properly post legal notice of the hearing. The county published the notice in the Port Orchard Independent, but not in the Bremerton Patriot or the CK Reporter, the two papers of general circulation in Illahee. The request was clearly written and is attached as a pdf file.
Editorial Comment. This seems to us a clear cut legal requirement was not followed. It is interesting that the county produced a 38 page staff report quoting Kitsap County Code, but when the code is quoted back to them by the community, it is ignored, and the motion was DENIED.
Hearing Preparations. We are trying to wade through numerous emails from citizens trying to prepare for the hearing in the absence of expert testimony on some crucial topics. We have heard that several experts will be available on other issues. We will provide more information as it becomes available to us.
Community Representation is Requested. This is late notice for many on our email list. The hearing is tomorrow, Thursday, August 28, 2008, at 9 am in the Commissioners Chambers in the new county administration building. As many people as possible are hoped to be in attendance. You will have an opportunity to speak, for or against, with no time limit being imposed. We heard the community response is going to organized by topics, such as transportation, sewers, storm water, etc, so a person can speak on whatever topic or topics they wish.
>Timbers Edge SEPA Staff Recommendation to Hearing Examiner. Attached is the county staff’s recommendation to DENY the Illahee community’s State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) appeal that was filed on August 15, 2008. (Note: Normally this report is handed out at the beginning of the hearing, and while the community doesn’t like the DENIED aspect, it is glad to get this a few hours before the hearing.)
Hearing Begins Thursday (8/28/08). The hearing for the SEPA appeal, the preliminary plat to create 110 lots, and a shoreline permit for a stormwater outfall, begins at 9 am on Thursday, August 28, 2008.
The Task for the Community. The community needs to present its case on Thursday with sufficient documentation to convince the Hearing Examiner that the community issues were not covered or not adequately considered by the county, which will be a formidable task to begin with, and even more difficult due to the short time frame that was available to prepare.
Concerned Citizens Encouraged to Attend. Illahee residents who are concerned with this project are encouraged to attend. We understand the community has several expert witnesses along with some informed citizens who will be doing presentations. We also understand that a number of expert witnesses were unavailable and will likely be issuing reports at a later date.
Only Time to be Heard. This is possibly the only time that the community will have an opportunity to be heard on this project. Now is the time to speak up on what you want your community to look like.
>Illahee Community Plan – Final Review Meeting. Wednesday evening (8/20/08) at 6 pm at the Sylvan Way Library citizens will have an opportunity to discuss the final draft of the Illahee Community Plan. This is a must attend meeting for community members who want to have a say in what the Illahee Community Plan looks like.
Green Belt. The Plan calls for a green belt area that is depicted on a zoning map in Chapter 3. The wrong map got included in the file that was sent out on Friday and it was corrected on Tuesday, so if you reviewed Chapter 3 earlier you will want to look it over again. This is a great step forward for the community and the county.
Illahee Preserve Fire. There was a fire in the Illahee Preserve last week and below is a follow-up report of what happened.
I called the fellow who reported the fire & guided CK Fire crew to its location. He said he thought he smelled smoke in the area the previous day (Tuesday), then went looking for it on Wednesday.
I also spoke with my neighbors who are frequent walkers in Illahee Forest. They had been walking in Illahee Forest on Tuesday and thought they smelled “pot” in the area where the fire occurred. They also smelled smoke the next day (Wednesday) where the fire occurred. By that time CK Fire was already on their way. My neighbors suspect the fire was started by pot smoking revelers?
By the way, the person who reported the fire is a nearby resident. He says he walks his dogs several days per week in Illahee Forest. I thanked him profusely for his efforts.
I visited the location of the fire. It is near the trail which heads out of Compass Circle directly west toward the Crossroads. The location of the fire is on your left, immediately after the trail traverses a big dip or gully. The fire department put a white & black striped ribbon on a tree limb to mark the location along the trail. The fire was about 60 feet directly west of the trail. The fire smoldered on the ground covering roughly a 40 foot circle. The roots of about 5 decent sized hemlocks may have been affected by the heat (?) The Fire Department did a good job of turning over the soil to ensure there was nothing more smoldering.
Timbers Edge Hearing. We have heard residents are organizing their thoughts and comments for the Public Hearing for the Timbers Edge project scheduled for all day Thursday, August 28, 2008. There is a group that is working on coordinating citizen and expert witnesses so that the hearing will have some structure and order from those filing the SEPA appeal. We aren’t sure who is going to lead that effort so we are providing those interested with two group members who can be points of contact. The first is Rebecca Hall, who can be reached at 265-9393 but will be out of town until Friday, and second is Judith Krigsman, who can be reached at 792-6934.
Update Vacation. We are not planning on sending out updates for awhile as this reporter is going on a short vacation to attend a high school reunion in the Midwest and will return on August 27th, just in time for the Timbers Edge hearing. However, he will be at a computer most every day and if an update is desired to be issued, it needs to be written so all he needs to do is forward it.
Jim Aho FYI: Final formatting and polishing of the document will be done after community comments are received. GIS staff are working on new maps for the plan and planning staff are working on charts, pictures and graphs for the plan. You have different options for getting me your feedback on the document: 1) Come to the final CAG meeting on August 20, 2008 at the Sylvan Way Library from 6-8pm, 2) Email you comments to me at Please pass this information to others you know how may be interested. Also, please visit the above mentioned website and take a survey regarding the Illahee Community Plan if you have not done so already. As always, thank you for your participation and please contact me if you have any questions. Best, Katrina N. Knutson, Associate Planner
Department of Community Development
Policy and Planning Division
614 Division Street MS-36
Port Orchard, WA 98366-4682
FYI: Final formatting and polishing of the document will be done after community comments are received. GIS staff are working on new maps for the plan and planning staff are working on charts, pictures and graphs for the plan.
You have different options for getting me your feedback on the document: 1) Come to the final CAG meeting on August 20, 2008 at the Sylvan Way Library from 6-8pm, 2) Email you comments to me firstname.lastname@example.org, 3) Send your comments to me at 614 Division Street MS-36 Port Orchard, WA 98366 and/or come to the Planning Commission public hearing on September 9, 2008 at 6:30pm.
Please pass this information to others you know how may be interested.
Also, please visit the above mentioned website and take a survey regarding the Illahee Community Plan if you have not done so already.
As always, thank you for your participation and please contact me if you have any questions.
Katrina N. Knutson, Associate Planner
Hearing Mailing. On Friday (8/15/08) approximately 750 Kitsap County residents, mostly Illahee residents, received notice of an August 28th Public Hearing for the Timbers Edge project. Many of those received the mailing because they had signed petitions several years ago expressing concerns with aspects of the development. SEPA Appeal Filed. On Friday afternoon (8/15/08) a SEPA MDNS (State Environmental Policy Act Mitigated Determination of Non-Significance) appeal was filed by the Illahee Community Club, along with the $500 filing fee.
Wednesday Club Meeting. The Illahee Community Club met with residents on Wednesday to get an overview of the project and legal information. At the meeting residents voted overwhelmingly to file the appeal. Following the vote, the Club asked for pledges of financial support to assure there would be sufficient support for an appeal. With enough money pledged the Club’s lawyer, Ryan Vancil, was contacted to go ahead and prepare the appeal (which was submitted on Friday as earlier stated).
Request for Continuance Filed. Also filed with the SEPA MDNS appeal, was a Request for Continuance. Four primary expert witnesses were identified as being necessary for the appeal, and were contacted as to their availability for the August 28th Public Hearing. Three of the four were unavailable and one has not yet responded. Other witnesses are being considered. They expect the hearings to begin on the 28th and the hearing to be “continued” to a later date when the community’s expert witnesses are available.
Sunday 8/17/08 Strategy Meeting. Because of the short time available, less than two weeks, a strategy meeting has been scheduled for Illahee State Park at 2 pm. There will be “Illahee Group” signs to where we will be meeting as the location in the park has not yet been determined. The park was chosen because of the lack of other facilities, and the fact that parking and a picnic or open space should be able to be located somewhere on Sunday afternoon.
Hearing Strategy. The strategy is to breakdown the appeal categories and assign teams to work on the issues. For instance traffic is a major issue and a team needs to work on that topic. There are a total of 14 issues with the project and we will have copies of the appeal on Sunday.
14 Teams Needed. They need community volunteers to comprise the teams. For instance on the traffic example, residents along Fir Drive, may want to take pictures and measurements of the road the county says is not a problem, and maybe contact the property owner on Perry Avenue where the right hand turn lane is being proposed. There may be someone in the Illahee community who is a traffic engineer and can advise the members of this team what to look for in reviewing the Timbers Edge traffic analysis.
Actual Hearing. The actual hearing is a very interesting process. The goal is to give everyone a chance to speak and be heard in hopes they won’t be too disappointed when the Hearing Examiner normally eventually agrees with the County Staff who have already approved of the project. The community’s job is to show by facts, pictures, studies, etc that the developer and/or the county have not adequately identified or analyzed specific impacts or the mitigation measures. The case needs to be so compelling that the Hearing Examiner has no choice but to rule in the community’s favor.
Can It Be Done? The Illahee Community Club thinks it can be done, but it is a tough assignment. That is why they are looking at experts to cover the more complex issues such as aquifer recharge, geology, hydrology, fisheries, and stormwater. In addition to these already identified areas the individual teams will need to work on the rest of the issues.
Please Attend the Strategy Meeting. They need as many Illahee residents as can help to come to the strategy meeting on Sunday. See what team you feel most comfortable working with, and volunteer to help.
Wildlife Report. We received the following report regarding wildlife eating chickens:
Just want to let you know that endangering wildlife is still lurking in the Illahee area. A sole large coyote was lurking under the nut orchard looking for a chicken breakfast today as I drove out at 6:30.
On Monday a month old chick disappeared from a small enclosed wire four by four pen located inside, a six foot chain link fence behind the garage. No evidence of why was evident. Today Vickie went out and found another chicken had met his demise, at the mercy of a raptor. A large hawk was sitting on top of the chain link guarding his partially devoured chicken, that he had partially pulled through the wires.
These chickens were rescued after my 4-5 year old farm hen had hatched six chicks on a Wednesday. On a Sunday morning she was found to be the victim of some unknown type of predator. The chicks were captured with an old salmon net as they hid in the corn field.
Illahee Road Report. The report on the road repairs came out earlier today and is as follows:
Work to repair Illahee road begins August 18th. If we have wonderful fall Northwest weather work should be complete October 17th. This date will be adjusted if weather conditions are such that work can not progress.
Please be aware that heavy truck traffic will increase during the work. I have notified Central Kitsap School District’s transportation staff, and they will work with Brownsville Elementary to notify parents in the vicinity of the increased truck traffic. If you have friends who walk on Illahee, or have students that walk to Brownsville Elementary, please caution them about the increased traffic. It’s also a good idea to suggest to friends to sign up for The Road Report. Updates for this project are posted there, as well as details concerning all our work on County-maintained roads. Sign up at www.kitsapgov.com/pw/roadwork.htm or call The Open Line at 360-337-5777.
We truly appreciate your patience and understanding as we’ve worked through this project. It has taken a lot of cooperation on the part of many different people and agencies to get where we are today. Projects like these usually take years, rather than months to complete. We are fortunate to be able to move along this quickly.
If you have questions or need more information please let me know.
Illahee Fire Link. We gave a brief report of the fire that occurred early Tuesday morning. The link to the article in the Kitsap Sun is: Fire in Basement of Illahee Home Sends One to the Hospital
Community Plan Survey Post Card. Illahee residents received a post card in today’s (8/7/08) mail with a heading “What Does Your Illahee Look Like.” It asks you to visit a website and take a survey. Even though this is a county generated survey, we’ve received calls about the applicability of some of the questions along with those who have had difficulty logging on to the website.
Survey Applicability. As you have probably gathered, if you accessed the website, the survey was adapted from a previous survey. We think from last years Keyport survey. Some had expressed earlier that the Keyport survey was too long and and needed a good review if it was to be used in Illahee, but it didn’t happen. Some distinctive Illahee questions have been included, usually at the end of the page. Our recommendation is to ignore the questions that aren’t applicable and concentrate on the rest of the questions. We can ask the county how they want people to respond when they come across questions that don’t appear relevant to Illahee.
Website Access. HERE IS the link for those having problems logging on.
>Inquiries Coming In. Many have been asking about the recent letter they received from the County regarding the Mitigated Determination of Non-Significance (MDNS) letter for the Timbers Edge Preliminary Plat and Substantial Substantial Development Permit. If you didn’t get one we have included it again as an attachment.
750 SEPA Letters. The county signed the SEPA MDNS letter on July 31, 2008 that was sent out to some 750 residents who had expressed interest in the Timbers Edge development. Most of those were from people who had signed petitions who were concerned about the development along the steep slopes of Illahee Creek.
SEPA Letter Delay. Some in the community were hoping the delay in sending out the letter was because of a community request to meet with the county before the legal process began. Such was not the case as it appears there was some kind of hold up in getting the letter out. Letters were received in the community on Tuesday, August 5th.
Only 10 Days to Respond. The SEPA letter note at the end states that any appeal must be filed by August 15, along with $500. That doesn’t give the community much time to look at the file, get together, decide what to do, and then prepare an appeal. It appears to many that “due process” was not accorded to the community in this case.
Request for File Information Delayed. Several members of the Illahee community looked over the files on August 1, 2008, requested copies, and tried to pick them up late in the afternoon on Tuesday, August 5th, and found them not available. These are some of the roadblocks encountered and frustrations community members feel when trying to prepare for a possible appeal.
SEPA MDNS Letter. The SEPA MDNS letter is the most complete we have seen and the project has improved, but the development is still extremely high density (110 homes on approx 15 acres) in the project area, with lots as small as 3,400 square feet. This is just the first phase of other planned developments on the properties.
Infiltration Planned. Infiltration of portions of the storm water is being planned, which is one of the goals in the Illahee Community Plan. The county and applicant are working in some areas to address community concerns.
Does the Community Appeal? That is the question that is being investigated at this time. Because of the short time available and the time it takes to line up witnesses the Community Club is proceeding as though they will appeal the SEPA MDNS. There have been those who have said that an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is necessary because the project will have a significant impact on Illahee Creek’s base flow which in turn could result in its inability to support salmon, which would be a significant environmental impact, and thus should trigger an EIS. Obviously, the county does not see it that way.
Expert Witness Are Being Contacted. Six expert witnesses have been identified as necessary to this case and are being contacted as to their availability to the Hearing Date that has been established by the county, which is August 28, 2008. It is that short time frame that has made it necessary to proceed with witness identification before a complete Timbers Edge file is even available for review by witnesses or the community.
8/5 County Meeting. Kitsap County called a meeting for August 5, 2008 to see if issues could be resolved. There were 6 representatives from the Illahee Community; 5 from the applicant (developer), and 6 from the county. At the end of the 90 minute meeting all had a better understanding of where each group stood. The next step is for the applicant to meet together with 2 representatives of the Illahee Community. The meeting was to be held on 8/6 but was postponed because one of the reps was sick.
Goal for Meeting with Applicant. The goal for the meeting with the applicant is to determine if a win-win solution can be obtained. Legal battles eat up everyones resources and the only ones who seem to gain are the lawyers. The two designated representatives hope to meet soon with the applicant.
8/13 Community Meeting Scheduled. The Illahee Community Club has scheduled a meeting for next Wednesday 8/13/08 at 6 pm at the Unitarian Church on Perry Ave. The club’s lawyer for this project, Ryan Vancil, will be there to explain the case and answer questions.
An Expensive Case. This will be an expensive case if it can’t be resolved, as expensive expert witness are necessary to explain the issues. This is in addition to the costs of legal representation. Note that after the Illahee Outfall hearings, the reported lessons learned by the Community Club was to skip the appeal the the Commissioners and go directly to Superior Court.
Funds Are Urgently Needed. The Community Club has said that significant funds will be required for this appeal and whereas the SHB request was for $150 gifts, the Timbers Edge case will likely require $200 plus gifts from many more people.
Hopeful? Most of the people we have talked with are hopeful the meeting with the applicant will be successful and that the community can limit its legal costs to just those incurred to the date a resolution is obtained.
>Early Tuesday morning from about 2 am to 5 am there was lots of activity along Illahee Road about a half mile north of the Illahee Community Dock. Many fire trucks and aid cars filled the road in response to fire call at 5960 Illahee Road. The road was blocked off as fire hoses stretched across the road and down to the small waterfront house.
The occupant woke up to the smell of smoke and got herself and two dogs out of the house and called 911.
Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue responded and quickly put out the fire that appeared to have started in the basement area.
The occupant eventually went to the hospital to be checked out, and neighbors took care of the two dogs.
When we find out more about the cause of the fire we will let you know.