Illahee Update 6/10/12 Eel Grass, Shoreline Hearing, SMP Update, Remand Responses, Coyotes

Email Photo Problem.  A number of you who receive the email version of Illahee Updates reported problems recently with the size of our photos.  We first publish these updates for the website, which looks great when previewed, but then we copy it to an email, which evidently doesn’t work for some.  We have a choice how big to make the photos for the website so will try smaller ones in hopes it will solve the problems.  Please let us know if you have problems with the eel grass photo. 

Eel Grass.  When we walked a portion of the Illahee shoreline during last weeks low tides, there were several eel grass beds, which are considered great habitat for a number of marine animals.  While eel grass is among the seaweed it is not considered a seaweed, but is an underwater grass that grows in the spring and summer and dies back int he fall and winter.  The Department of Ecology has a good website for marine species and we have attached their site for eelgrass for those interested:

Shoreline Hearing.  The second and last public shoreline hearing before the Planning Commission will be held Monday (6/11/12) at 6 pm at Poulsbo’s City Hall.  The first hearing was last Tuesday in Port Orchard, which we didn’t attend, but have provided the link to the Kitsap Sun’s coverage that appeared in Thursday’s paper:  We would encourage residents to arrive at 5 pm to review the maps and materials before the actual hearing.

SMP Update.  The Shoreline Master Program is being updated with some significant changes.  Information about the Update can be found on the county’s website.  The link to the Staff Report to the Planning Commission is:  The link to the SMP website containing more information and also the draft SMP is:  The shoreline designations for Illahee are shown below with major portions of the northern shoreline having a duel designation that was upsetting to many as was expressed in their remand comments, i.e., they thought it wrong to try and protect a sensitive conservancy shoreline next to housing densities of 5-9 homes per acre (see the comments in the Remand report that follows).
Remand Responses.  We reported earlier on the Remand Hearing on Monday (6/4/12).  The coverage in the Kitsap Sun on Wednesday mentioned Illahee with the sentence “Illahee residents and others generally supported the plan to remove portions of Illahee from the urban growth area.”  The link to the article is:

Illahee Community Responses.  We saw several responses that are rather long but worth copying.  The first is from the IllaheeCommunity.Com board which came as a resolution.

Resolution 2012-01 

Illahee Community Board Response to 2012 Remand Options 

Whereas Illahee was founded 96 years ago and has maintained its community status and identity, and

Whereas the citizens of Illahee have been active and involved in the governance of its affairs, and

Whereas Illahee was placed in the Urban Growth Area (UGA) during the 1998 Comprehensive Plan Update, when the area between Bremerton and Silverdale was blanket zoned, and 

Whereas Illahee has over the last 14 years (after the 1998 placement into the UGA) acquired nearly 600 acres of forest, park and recreational lands for the Illahee Preserve (a Kitsap County Heritage Park), and

Whereas a large portion of the 600 acres of acquired land constituted the primary areas where Illahee’s future growth was projected to take place in 1998, and

Whereas Illahee’s only commercial area with urban services was removed from the community’s recommended sub-area boundary during a review process by the Planning Commission, and

Whereas Illahee is left with primarily natural resource lands, geological features, and recreational lands that greatly impede urban levels of development and supporting infrastructure, and

Whereas Illahee was built out as a rural and later a semi-rural community, and is mostly void of urban features and urban services, such as transportation, sewers, sidewalks, etc (with a few minor exceptions), and

Whereas the Growth Management Act specifically discourages adverse urban growth impacts to vulnerable aquifer recharge areas supporting potable water services and stream base flows (supporting anadromous fish), as is the situation with the Manette aquifer as verified in the Remand’s Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS), and

Whereas the Growth Management Hearings Board has remanded the 2006 Comprehensive Plan back to Kitsap County to reconsider the size of its Urban Growth Areas,

We therefore respectfully request you consider the Illahee Community as a prime candidate for the necessary remand reductions and the reductions be considered in the following order of preference:   

(1)  Alternative 1 (for Central Kitsap and East Bremerton) be adopted along with a rural designation for the area east of Illahee Road to the shoreline and north to University Point (to further protect its sensitive conservancy shoreline), or 

(2)  Alternative 2 (for Central Kitsap and East Bremerton) be adopted as presented.

The second is a letter that is also long but says the same thing only a little differently.  

Subject:  The 2012 Remand

Request you choose Alternative 1 for the Illahee Community (as displayed on the East Bremerton and the Central Kitsap maps) with the addition of a rural connection east of Illahee Road to the shoreline extending south from University Point until it connects with the rural designation at old Illahee.

This request supports the conservancy designation given to the shoreline in the Shoreline Master Program by eliminating the conflicting situation of having a sensitive shoreline bordered by an upland zoning that would put 5-9 homes next to it.  The two classifications seem to be at odds with each other and have been an area of contention for many Illahee residents since the Comp Plan Update of 2006.

The request to make the shoreline area rural also eliminates a situation where the Illahee Community could be considered a rural island, which could complicate the providing of county services.

The primary reasons to support of this request are the natural features in Illahee which greatly limit urban densities and increase the costs of development, both to the developers and the county.  As two respected developers stated on Monday during the remand hearing, Illahee should not be in an urban growth area.

The final reason, and one that no one wants to talk about, is that the Manette aquifer is currently at water balance, and moreover, it is already impacting Illahee Creek’s ability to support fish, because local wells are decreasing the base flows in the creek.  The Illahee community has taken the initiative to have the scientific studies prepared and has had them presented at the Norm Dicks Center.  It is time for county to recognize these studies and adjust their planning efforts accordingly, i.e., look at ways to reduce the population projections for Illahee. 

Thank you for considering this request to take major portions of Illahee out of the UGA.

Beach Coyotes.  This morning a big coyote was seen going south along the beach.  A few years ago we used to see fox in the morning going north where we knew they had a den.  With seals, otters, eagles, raccoon and deer seen regularly along the shoreline, this was the first coyote seen on the beach by this family.  Now we just need to get a photo of one to share.

Jim Aho