The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

State unlikely to change shoreline program rules


Rick Nelson

Senator Dean Takko, left, visits with Puget Island resident Greg Prestegard.

Local critics of state shoreline management rules should not expect any help from Olympia, two legislators said Tuesday.

The comments came at a round table discussion Tuesday morning that included representatives of local governmental entities, a staff representative of Congresswoman Jamie Herrera Beutler, state Representative Brian Blake and state Senator Dean Takko. The group discussed topics ranging from dredging at the Elochoman Slough Marina to progress on the county's housing development plans.

At one point, Lily Kolditz, a member of the county planning commission, asked the legislators what could be done to ease the state mandated requirements for the county's Shoreline Management Program (SMP).

"No one is for this plan," she said. "It's a clear property rights violation. I don't remember voting for these rules, and I've lived in Washington since 1979."

Kolditz commented that, among other things, the rules have restrictions on development within 200 feet of streams and rivers, and while current property owners have rights to conduct agricultural activities, those rights don't go to their heirs or successors.

"We as a board feel there's over reach; we can't accept it," she said. "How do you change these rules?"

Rep. Blake commented that the public voted on the shoreline program in the early 1970's.

"It's a complicated issue," said Rep. Blake. He pointed to the slide at Oso in Snohomish County that destroyed a housing develelopment and left many people dead including the developer, who had argued with county officials over development rules.

"I do think some rules are over reaching, but there are reasons for them," Blake said.

Blake doubted that the legislature would make significant changes to the rules.

"I don't envision that," he said. "Dean (Takko) and I have been in the forefront of battles to allow some flexibility, and I don't think I can tell you that we'll be able to change them."

Senator Takko agreed.

"We make basic law," he said, "and the agencies write the rules. It's a complicated process. You could say that people outside the area are driving the process.

Rick Nelson

State Representative Brian Blake, right, in hat, discusses concerns with Sheriff Mark Howie; at the left is Commissioner Blair Brady.

"In this state, trying to change shoreline rules is like pushing a big rock up a hill--it's tough . . . If everybody did the right thing, we wouldn't need the rules, but everybody doesn't."

Commissioner Dan Cothren said he understood people's concerns over shoreline rules.

"We get dumped on down here," he said. "People in the urban areas are pushing their plans so they can have us as a playground.

"The perception out there is that it's a land grab; that's what we see."

The planning commission is firming up the state required update of the shoreline program. That board will hold public hearings on the update, possibly make changes and then forward it to the board of county commissioners.

County commissioners will also hold public hearings and possibly make changes. The program will then go to the Department of Ecology for final approval.


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