Illahee Update 6/13/12 Illahee Creek Culvert, Timbers Edge Meeting, Fir Drive, Twin Towers, Homeless Camp Cleanup, Compass Circle Project, SMP Hearing, Illahee Tree

Illahee Creek Culvert Clearance.  The clearance for water to flow through the Illahee Creek culvert that goes under Illahee Road is now at 19 inches.  Without going back to previous Updates, it seems like this is the smallest opening we have seen.  When the culvert was put in the reported clearance was 7 feet, and the stabilized clear opening on the drawings shows a 5′ 6″ clearance or 66″.  
Upstream Surge Problem.  Slowly over the years the sediment in the culvert and along the flood plain has risen, in spite of the culvert being periodically cleaned out of sediment.  While you can’t dig out an entire flood plain, you can try to control the upstream storm surges that transports the sediment, which is what the recent Department of Ecology grant is supposed to help with.  As some have stated “It doesn’t do any good to keep cleaning out the culvert if you don’t try to take care of the upstream source of the problem.”  This is also why many are concerned with the possibility of the Timbers Edge development moving forward.  The development was approved by the Kitsap County Hearing Examiner and is currently on hold with financial issues.  In the photo below the banks of the creek look like they are covered with snow, but it is just the seed tufts from area popular trees.
Important Timbers Edge Meeting Scheduled.  With all the concerns about how the Timbers Edge development will affect Illahee, an informational meeting will be held on Monday evening, June 18, 2012 at the Sylvan Way library at 6:30 pm.  The project will be reviewed along with the conditions put on the project by the Hearing Examiner.  Attorney Ryan Vancil will discuss the various options available to the community as they deal with this approved, but financially challenged project.  As has been stated before, this development has the potential to have a major impact on Illahee and especially Illahee Creek base flows and the recharge of an aquifer that is already at water balance.

Fir Drive Road Improvement.  We were recently asked why Kitsap County Public Works is fixing a big road problem that residents complained about during the Timbers Edge hearings?  Residents were told by the county’s Department of Community Development (DCD) during the hearing that Fir Drive was in good shape to handle the traffic from the proposed development, and now two years later, at tax payers expense, the county is fixing one of the road issues residents, and the traffic expert hired by the community, pointed out as being a major problem.  We have to agree it appears the county (DCD?) messed up, and we understand why residents continue to be cynical.

Illahee’s Twin Towers.  The skyline at the top of Illahee hill is active with a second cell tower going in, next to the cell tower that is disguised at an over-sized flag pole.  There are some upset residents with the second tower going in as they felt there were better locations that were not looked at.  They are also upset with our fire district officials not checking with the nearby residents before they authorized them to put the second one in.  And, we have heard the adjacent neighbors property values will be lower since their house is within the fall zone of the tower, not to mention the visual impacts of having two towers next door.
Homeless Campsite Cleanup.  It has been some time since three homeless campsites have been used so it is now time to clean up the mess.  One site was kept rather clean and they left a rather neat pile of garbage.  The other two sites left everything scattered around the woods.  Preserve volunteers are looking at a time to clean up the sites and the Park’s Department has agreed to haul away the debris.
Compass Circle Project.  This project has had lots of hiccups from the beginning, with the latest being a problem with a tractor pin malfunction, that resulted in a support arm falling and breaking off a hydraulic fill casting, which ended the meadow ground work.  They are still trying to get the right part to fix the tractor and finish the job, which is slow because the work is being done by volunteers who have other jobs and priorities.

SMP Hearing.  There were several Illahee residents at the Planning Commission’s Public Hearing regarding the Shoreline Master Program (SMP) Update.  We have copied one of the letters that was submitted at the end of this update.  The record is remaining open for another two weeks for those who would like to provide written comments.

Illahee Tree on Kitsap Sun Front Page.  Tuesday morning’s Kitsap Sun front page featured an Illahee tree, a 100 year copper beech tree, that is purported to have been planted by Teddy Roosevelt’s personal physician, Dr. Henry LaMotte.  LaMotte homesteaded the property at the mouth of Illahee Creek in 1909, that was later purchased by Dr. Ray Schutt around 1934.  The link to the article is:

Jim Aho

Kitsap County Planning Commissioners

Subject:  Shoreline Master Program (SMP) Update Hearing

Enclosures:  (1)  Letter to Kitsap County Commissioners re the 2012 Remand, dated June 6, 2012

(2)  Resolution 2012-01  “Illahee Community Board Response to 2012 Remand Options,” dated June 5, 2012 

1.  In accordance with the SMP Update process that solicits public comments, enclosures (1) and (2) are hereby submitted.

2.  While the subject matter of both enclosures (1) and (2) refers to the 2012 Comprehensive Plan Remand, the concerns are also with the SMP dual designation of the northern shoreline of the Illahee Community.  The dual designation along that stretch of shoreline puts a sensitive conservancy shoreline next to an upland residential area with an urban zoning density of 5-9 homes per acre.  How can the county say it is trying to protect a conservancy shoreline area that has a high habitat value when the upland properties are zoned with densities that have proven to be problematic for shoreline habitats? 

3.  Recommend this inconsistency be corrected either within the Remand process or the SMP Update review process, or both.