LETTER: Response To Councimember Brian Bennett’s Lake Burien Stance
This letter is in response to the article posted about Brian Bennett and the Shoreline Advisory Committee that he served on (read the original story here). In this article, Brian claims that he has his own higher priority for what should be the purpose of Shoreline Master Program. The Stateâ€™s priorities are, â€œprotection of the environment so that there is no net loss, enhancing public use on publicly owned shorelands while protecting private property and public safety and the coordination of shoreline development around the state to protect the shorelines.â€
Perhaps his misunderstanding of what are the priorities for the Shoreline Master Program stem from the fact that he did not attend the 50% of the four critical writing meetings. And the last meeting he attended, he came unprepared without his document that was to be discussed. He was unaware of the functioning rules of the committee and did not know how to take citizen input at the meetings. Perhaps this is why citizens did not get heard at this level. These issues of attendance, not bringing your homework to the meeting and not knowing the operating rules are of importance when you are acting as the chair of the committee, as Brian was supposed to be doing.
Additionally, had Brian read the Appendices to the draft document he was reviewing, he would be able to answer the question he posed in the blog article, â€œHow to create public access to Lake Burien without impacting property owners around the lake?â€ The consultants to the study noted that there is visual access to the lake from several streets. These points could be further enhanced by the city to provide visual public access points to the lake. Whether the city will pursue them is another question and the real one that he should be addressing as a councilmember. The City of Burien has a number of beautiful public access points to the cityâ€™s shorelines which they currently do not secure or protect adequately. Jim Branson has written a number of blogs about this problem with the city not being willing to spend any money on enforcement and protection of shorelines and parks. The city has a legal obligation to protect them under the Shoreline Master Program.
Lastly, the Ruth Dykeman Childrenâ€™s Center is a wonderful asset to the state, community, children and families. It requires high security for its clients. The last thing that they need is a public park next to them. This will breach their security. Brian knows that the Center has not put their land up for sale as of yet and they have clearly stated they do not want a public access next door to them. During the same time that the City of Burien issued a public statement that it was not seeking a public access to Lake Burien, behind closed doors, Brian directed the city manager to contact the Ruth Dykeman Childrenâ€™s Center to again try to buy their land. Ruth Dykeman repeated they were not interested. But still again in this latest article, Brian makes a public issue of wanting to buy their land again. This demonstrates a complete lack of respect for private property rights and does not follow the concept of transparent government practices. This councilmember needs to do his homework and brush up on the etiquette of good manners with regard to the property of others.
– Chestine Edgar
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