>Illahee Dock Outfall Settlement? – 11/20/08


Settlement of Illahee Dock Outfall Appeal? It appears there will be a settlement of the Illahee Dock Outfall appeal to the Shorelines Hearings Board (SHB).

Background For New Readers. There has been an ongoing issue with a development in Illahee that planned to install a second stormwater outfall at the Illahee community dock. The issue made the papers, went through a hearing before the Hearing Examiner and the County Commissioners, both of who approved the new outfall despite community and Port of Illahee objections.

Appeal To The Shorelines Hearings Board. The Illahee Community Club (ICC) felt neither the Hearing Examiner nor the County Commissioners understood the gravity of the public health aspect of their decision to allow essentially untreated stormwater to be dumped onto a public beach and swimming area, and appealed to the Shorelines Hearings Board.

Port of Illahee Trespass Suit to Superior Court. The Port of Illahee was also involved in their own way in that they filed a no-trespass lawsuit in Superior Court as the development proposed installing their new outfall directly under the Illahee Community Dock.

Parties Remained Cordial. Despite the legal wranglings the parties remained cordial and several members wondered if there wasn’t a way that we could resolve our differences.

Engineer Berni Johnston’s Efforts. Berni Johnston, the engineer from Team Four, continued to met with two Illahee community engineers in order to see if something could be worked out. Berni was a member of the Illahee Community Plan Citizens Advisory Group (CAG) and understood the community was not against the development, but wanted stormwater cleaned and infiltrated rather than tightlined to the bay, along with some zoning issues.

Community Understood Need For Stormwater Infiltration & Outfalls. The community understood that with the underlying soils in Illahee that 90-95% of the rainwater, that comes slowly, can be infiltrated back into the ground and into the aquifers. They also understood there would always be a need for stormwater overflows to Port Orchard Bay for the major storm events like the Dec 3, 2007 storm.

Another Option Surfaced. It was during those discussions to minimize the impact of stormwater in the area that another option surfaced. It was noted that much of the existing volume problem was from the Illahee North detention pond overflow that should have gone to a Berg Street right-of-way outfall, and that that outfall will eventually be needed to handle any future development in the basin. By doing what should have been done years ago, the proposed outfall at the dock would no longer be needed.

One Remaining Community Issue? Only one smaller pre-existing stormwater pipe coming from above the development would probably end up being connected (tightlined) to the stormwater overflow going to the newly proposed Berg Street outfall. This is only item, and a small one at that, that could not be accommodated with a bioswale option in the settlement agreement. This small sub-basin will require some community effort and possibly an upslope rain garden to take care of water treatment and infiltration.

Benefit to the Developer. There are also benefits to the developer, in addition to not having to fight the ICC or the Port of Illahee in court. The Berg Street outfall should be an easier installation. No pre-treatment Vortechs vaults need to be installed. The developer is also using stormwater applications that better respect the environment and Puget Sound.

Overall Benefits. The overall benefit of this settlement is to the environment which includes the aquifers, which are overallocated in Illahee, and to the waters of Puget Sound, which are being adversely affected by stormwater discharges tightlined to the salt water. This settlement is a step in the right direction that goes beyond what is legally permitted to doing what is environmentally right. In the end we think it will be even less expensive, in spite of the legal costs, except for the community and Port whose legal costs are significant. Ironically it took a dedicated community and one dedicated engineer to make the settlement happen.

Status of Settlement? The basic technical agreement exhibit needs to be finalized. The legal document has been prepared and reviewed by the lawyer teams and is ready for signatures from MT Illahee Corporation, Kitsap County Commissioners, Port of Illahee Commissioners, and the Illahee Community Club Board of Directors, and is expected to be completed by Monday, 11/24/08.

Jim Aho