|| September 11, 2008
|| Doug Bear, Public Information Programs Supervisor
Shoreline Hearings Board Affirms County's Development Permit for
Southworth Drive Project
(Port Orchard, WA) – Kitsap County recently received the decision of the Washington State Shorelines Hearings Board (SHB) affirming the permits issued by the County and Washington State’s Department of Ecology required for the Southworth Drive safety improvement project. The permits were appealed by a group of residents living in the area.
There currently are no shoulders for pedestrians or bicyclist along this stretch of Southworth Drive between SE Olympiad Drive and the Harper dock, and the project remedies that situation by adding four-foot paved shoulders on both sides of the road. “This is a great step, and moves us closer to getting this very important project completed,” said Jan Angel, County Commissioner. “Our staff designed an excellent project and worked very hard to ensure that we protect the environment while we complete the safety improvements sorely needed along this stretch of road.”
As a whole, the SHB said the project benefits the public and the shoreline, and furthers many of the goals of the Shoreline Management Act and the County's Shoreline Management Master Program. Specifically, the SHB noted that the improved shoulders enhance safety for pedestrian and bicyclists using this scenic roadway. Visual and physical access to the water will be reached more easily and safely, and malfunctioning culverts will be replaced. Near-shore habitat will be increased, and stormwater treatment will be established in the area for the first time. While the SHB acknowledged that there will be some inevitable impacts due to the development, the County met the requirements to minimize those impacts insofar as it was able. This was the case for wetlands and stormwater, the two issues on which the appellants focused.
With regard to stormwater, the SHB recognized that the project area was very constrained by flat topography and a narrow corridor, making complete treatment of stormwater extremely difficult. Nevertheless, the project was an improvement over the existing stormwater impacts given the level of treatment by the Vortechs system the County proposed. Because of the emerging nature of that technology, however, the SHB did require the County to monitor and report on the water quality treatment achieved by the Vortechs system for a period of five years.
The appellants have filed a motion to have the decision reconsidered, and this should be decided within the next month. From there, an appeal to superior court would be the next step. As of now, the project is scheduled for construction Spring 2009.