Council To Begin Review Of Shoreline Management Program Monday Night

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by Ralph Nichols

Burien council members will begin at 7 p.m. today (May 3) an anticipated marathon review of proposed updates to the city’s Shoreline Management Program before its final adoption late this summer.

Council members will be briefed on the draft revised shoreline plan – which includes several proposals of concern to waterfront homeowners – that was recommended for approval by the Burien Planning Commission on March 30 and forwarded to city lawmakers.

Community Development Department staff is providing council members with a summary of the plan, a draft that tracks changes made by the planning commission, background documents, and a matrix of comments from shoreline residents and responding actions by the commission.

While advocates of the draft revisions contend they are needed to protect Puget Sound and fragile shoreline environments, waterfront homeowners at Three Tree Point and Lake Burien are concerned the changes would impact their private property rights.

One recommended change would extend the existing setback for shoreline structures from 20 feet beyond the average high-water line to a combined 65-foot buffer and setback.

Additional proposals, which prompted shoreline homeowners to retain property rights attorneys, would re-define non-conforming uses, impose restrictions on replacing non-conforming structures in the event of damage, and limit allowable repair and replacement of bulkheads.

Some critics of the revised plan want the city council to present for discussion of any scientific evidence that supports stricter regulations.

After tonight’s meeting, council members will have over a month to review this information before they begin deliberating the complex Shoreline Management Program.

The proposed schedule sets meetings on:

  • June 14 – “Introduction to the Shoreline Management Program,” a special meeting at which they are expected to hear a presentation on the review process, the regulatory issues, shoreline ecological functions, “no net loss” of wetlands, and the legal and scientific definitions involved.
  • June 21 – the first of two public hearings.
  • July 19 – council discussion.
  • Aug. 2 – council discussion and direction to staff for final updates to the plan.
  • Aug. 16 – the second public hearing.
  • Aug. 30 – a special meeting for council discussion and adoption of the city’s revised Shoreline Master Program.

When the city council signs off on its Shoreline Master Program, the Department of Ecology will review the document, including holding another public hearing, before giving it final approval.

Many shoreline residents had asked the city council to wait six months before taking up its review of the plan. Community Development Director Scott Greenberg told them he understands that Burien must have its work done by Dec. 31.

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4 Responses to “Council To Begin Review Of Shoreline Management Program Monday Night”
  1. Lee Moyer says:

    It would be nice if you would mention that almost all of the issues in Shoreline Master Program are required to meet standards set by the county and state. You make it sound like the rules were made up by the Advisory Committee and Planning Commission and are a local issue. Although I do not think they are unreasonable, in most cases we didn’t have much choice, except to make them tighter, although we rarely chose to do so.
    Lee Moyer,
    member of the Citizens’ Advisory Committee

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  2. Len Boscarine says:

    Sorry Lee but you are wrong once again. The citizen’s advisory committee, which by the way was packed with environmentalists and out-of-town residents, went way beyond the county and state requirements. That’s almost everyone affected is up in arms.

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  3. Len Boscarine says:

    Sorry in the last sentence I missed a word. I meant to say “That’s why almost everyone affected is up in arms.”

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  4. Lee Moyer says:

    I stand with what I said. If you have a specific issue to discuss, great, but your sweeping generalities do more to inflame than inform.
    BTW, no one “packed” the committee. To get the widest set of views, the city accepted all who applied. Some of us who didn’t live in the city at the time have now been incorporated.

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