>Report of Illahee Community Meeting on 8/22/09 – 9/1/09


Illahee Community Meeting 8/22/09.  The Illahee Community Club held its quarterly meeting at the Sylvan Way library on Saturday afternoon 8/22/09. There were three primary items on the agenda – the Timbers Edge Proposal, an announcement by the Port of Illahee, and a discussion of the Department of Fish & Wildlife’s Hydraulic Project Approval of a 5 year dredging plan of the Illahee Creek culvert.
Timbers Edge Proposal.  There was unanimous approval of the Timbers Edge Proposal that was drafted by the ad hoc committee and the Club’s board.  We just received an advance copy of the letter forwarding the Proposal to Mr. James and the Proposal itself, which reads as follows:

The Illahee Community has been working diligently to restore and preserve the Illahee area of Puget Sound, including Illahee Creek, its aquifers, baseflows, wetlands, floodplains, and estuaries; and is greatly concerned about the currently proposed Timbers Edge project and its impact on these areas.
The citizens of the community have had to live with the results of past county approved projects that have been detrimental to the health of the Illahee area, Illahee Creek and Puget Sound.  Engineering studies funded by the Washington State Department of Ecology and the Port of Illahee have documented significant problems from these approved and authorized developments in the Illahee Creek watershed, and have concluded that major restoration work must be done to correct the problems.  The estimated cost to correct the past failures on Illahee Creek alone is $20 million, which does not include the aquifer recharge issues of Timbers Edge that could result in the death of Illahee Creek as a salmon stream.  
The Illahee Community has also been successful in the past to defeat detrimental projects (fish pens) or mitigate the impacts (Illahee outfall project), both county approved projects (through the Hearing Examiner and the Board of County Commissioners), and have demonstrated they will stand up and fight for and defend positions that are right for their community.
With Timbers Edge there are varying concerns.  For adjoining property owners there are concerns for the health and safety for children with regard to traffic.  For others it is the impact on Illahee Creek, the underlying aquifers, the estuary and floodplains.  The possible death of Illahee Creek as a salmon bearing stream is unacceptable to the community, and the fact that an EIS or Environmental Impact Statement was not required by Kitsap County is both irresponsible and intolerable. The lack of concern for the creek sends a message that in Kitsap County salmon streams take second place to development.
The citizens of Illahee are not opposed to land development.  They would like to work with the developer and the county to insure the Timbers Edge project fits the community and preserves the stream and the natural features of the area.
The Illahee proposal is that the Timbers Edge development project be reconfigured to conform to the current existing zoning for the area.  This zoning density, along with low impact design applications, will help insure the protection of Illahee Creek.  By itself, the reduced density will by itself improve the traffic safety concerns for the children within this area.
The elimination of major infrastructure costs should be a financial incentive.  The proposed sewer system would be replaced by septics.  The septic systems will help increase groundwater infiltration, which in turn supports aquifer recharge and the baseflows in Illahee Creek.  With maximum infiltration of stormwater through infiltration pits, bioswales, and rain gardens, etc., stormwater overflows do not need to be treated which eliminates the requirement for a stormwater basic treatment facility and piping to Puget Sound.   Eliminated also are the following: the required road improvements on Perry Avenue, possible Fir Drive improvements, the anticipated cost of running the sewer line under Illahee Creek, a new sewer pump station, and the cost of repairing Illahee Road for the sewer line installation.
The secondary benefit of the Illahee proposal is a safe and environmentally enhanced development that is supported by the Illahee community and the Illahee Community Club.

Port of Illahee Announcement.  The Port of Illahee announced that it made an offer on a residence that it hopes to use as an office and a community meeting place, with the lower portion remaining as a rental.  The property address is 5560 Ocean View, and the offer is contingent upon being able to get a conditional use permit, which is needed for any business use in a residential area.
Dredging Proposal.  There was concern by the community with regards to the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Hydraulic Project Approval of a 5 year dredging plan for the Illahee Creek culvert.  The project is proposed by Kitsap County Public Works and was approved by DFW.  The approval letter states that if there are concerns that either an informal or formal appeal can be filed within 30 days.  The community was concerned that the Department of Ecology funded report that offered remedies for the watershed and the culvert, was not made part of a comprehensive culvert plan, and voted to file an informal appeal.  We just received an advance copy of the appeal letter and have included the text below:

The Illahee Community Club recently became aware of the Hydraulic Project Approval for the “Illahee Beach Nourishment” project, which proposes to dredge the Illahee Creek culvert and place the dredged materials at the beach.  In our opinion, the project has little to do with “beach nourishment,” and more to do with a five year authorization to continue dredging a problematic and failing Illahee Creek culvert.
The Illahee Community Club is in receipt of a Department of Ecology funded report, reference (a), which has analyzed the Illahee Creek watershed because of the sediment pollution impacting Puget Sound.  The report documents the sources of the pollution and other problems associated with Illahee Creek and its watershed, and goes on to recommend strategies and projects to correct the problems.
At an Illahee Community meeting on August 22, 2009, the community was informed of the “Illahee Beach Nourishment” project and, after much discussion, decided by unanimous agreement that they could not support the HPA without a corresponding watershed implementation plan to correct the underlying causes of the sedimentation in the culvert.
The Illahee Community Club is therefore filing this informal appeal of the HPA of “Illahee Beach Nourishment” project, and request that any dredging of the culvert be part of the larger comprehensive watershed surface water management plan for the Illahee Creek watershed.

Other Meeting Reports Later.  This Update is rather long so we will send out the Timbers Edge appeal hearing (8/24/09) and the University Point dock hearing (8/27/09) reports later this week.
Jim Aho