UPDATE: Thanks to County Commissioner Josh Brown who dropped everything to run down to Olympia and negotiate a compromise with DNR. The Seabeck Marina project is moving forward. We’re not completely out of the woods just yet, but things certainly are much more encouraging. Thanks to all the supportive and vocal residents of Seabeck and Kitsap County for making your opinions heard!
Read about the DNR Reversal HERE!
I know that the folks at WA State DNR do, in fact, accomplish many good things to help preserve the environment and maintain our quality of life here on the Kitsap Peninsula, but in this particular instance with the new Seabeck Marina, they aren’t doing anything right!
I accessed the Kitsap Sun website last night to find out the outcome of our Central Kitsap School Support Levy. I was thrilled to discover that the measure had passed, as had all the other district levies in the county.
Unfortunately, my joy was short lived as my eyes were quickly diverted to an adjoining article.
No sooner had construction finally commenced on the new marina out in Seabeck then our beloved DNR (WA State Dept. of Natural Resources) stepped in and forced an abrupt halt to the work in progress.
Evidently, when the Olympic View LLC partners purchased the marina in 2004, there was a corresponding lease on the use of state-owned bed-lands (land below the low-tide mark). During the ensuing years of wading through endless bureaucratic red tape, the lease was placed into an inactive status.
In 2007, the partners attempted to re-activate the lease but were told by the State that a new policy was being drafted that would require a habitat review (something they had already completed). By the end of 2009 they asked the State once again for permission to re-activate the lease, but the results were only confusion as to what the requirements were for satisfying the new habitat review. As a result, the partners were forced to hire a land-use attorney to help them make sense of the new policy.
Demolition work and pile driving had begun this past week because developers wanted to take advantage of a narrow two-week window allowed under State Department of Fish and Wildlife rules. The restrictive time frames are in place to protect underwater habitat. The next window when this type of work can be performed won’t open until July.
This past Monday, the State issued a ‘Stop Work’ order and at the same time, informed the partners that DNR staff wouldn’t be able to review their lease agreement until “sometime between April and November.”
If you access the WA State DNR website, you’ll find the following Mission Statement:
To provide professional, forward-looking stewardship of our state lands, natural resources, and environment.
To provide leadership in creating a sustainable future for the Trusts and all citizens.
We manage 5.6 million acres of forest, range, agricultural, aquatic, and commercial lands for the people of Washington. These lands generate more than $200 million a year, much of it to support public schools, state institutions, and county services. We also manage these lands to provide fish and wildlife habitat, clean and abundant water, and public access for you.
The Seabeck Marina project has always made perfect sense. There is a very pronounced need for marine services and moorage facilities on the west side of Hood Canal in Kitsap County. Since the closure of the previous marina, local businesses have been struggling, and patiently awaiting construction of the new marina to attract customers. Support by local residents has been overwhelmingly positive, knowing that a new marina would bring vital growth to the area and improve property values.
Does anyone else find it rather absurd that we can have two very expensive ‘ghost town’ marinas in Silverdale and Bremerton, and yet when private money wants to foot the bill for a marina with huge potential use and popularity, all the State can do is pose endless obstacles?