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2 thoughts on “Howe Farm: Conflict Between Different User Groups Appears Exhausted

  1. Chris, I know you have tried to do a good job to enlighten the public regarding this issue. However, I must point out that the coverage missed a critical point. The coverage gave the impression of a high degree of cooperation among the three parties over the basic issue of land use at the park. What wasn’t included is that, at this juncture, only SKSD and WSU have to ask for the provision of land. Dog Parks Inc. (DPI) has ALREADY been been given land, in a specific location, and had their wishes accommodated completely at public expense. SKSD and WSU had to work around that fact, so had no choice but to present the appearance of “cooperation”. DPI just had to avoid outright confrontation to KEEP what had already been granted to them, and GAIN the physical improvements that were made on their behalf. This was not a level playing field where each party had to justify their request for land, and also demonstrate cooperation with the others. Unless this is somehow brought out, and the dog park itself (not the DPI operations agreement) has to stand on its own merits, the public is not getting to weigh in. As long as Kitsap County can sell the public on the idea that the presence or absence of the dog park ITSELF was subject to public comment on the 24th, we have a problem. The county cannot set aside the land, build the infrastructure, open the dog park then say that the DPI agreement is somehow “just a draft proposal subject to modification and public input”. That’s just a ruse to say public input on the subject was allowed. A public thumbs down on continuing a dog park at Howe Farm wouldn’t harm the underlying SKSD/WSU agreements. Except, of course, it would would likely modify the location SKSD would select for their area. So, the absolute irony is….if the public were to decide the dog park is no longer a valid land use at Howe Farm…it might slow down a final land use agreement with SKSD because of that space becoming available. In this case SKSD and WSU could be punished (time wise) for the community coming to its’ senses and trying to ensure they have access to the most appropriate locations on the property. I think it’s worth exploring what would happen if a radical change to the “draft” agreements was proposed from the public. Would that proposal ever be aired for the public to see and comment on? Shouldn’t the Parks Advisory Board be reviewing the “draft” agreements and providing input as to whether they should be adopted? If anywhere, that’s where the public should get to speak their mind. The Commissioners chambers is not the appropriate venue for the public to hash out drafts of park land use agreements. The public needs the opportunity to digest what is really at stake, and what the options truly are before they can respond with appropriate comments. Why has nobody ever addressed what happens if something results in the dog park either moving location, or being discontinued at Howe Farm. That drastically alters the land use situation for others, and needs to be accounted for in the agreements.

  2. I agree with Mr. Donnelly as I was with him on the parks board when this was brought about. I do not like that the original use as a demonstration and learning farm was put aside and the Dog Park, Inc. was given hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars for a large off leash facility in the heart of the Howe farm. This money and time should have been spent on making Howe farm a show piece for Kitsap County. Now we have a place to step in dog doo while we may some time in the future have the learning farm that was originally proposed. For this I blame Commissioner Angel. Options were available, but a very vocal group got what they wanted at taxpayer expense. This was and still is wrong.

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