Sunday, August 1, 2010

What's Wrong With THIS Scheme?

In 2003, The Port of Port Townsend prepared an update of its Comprehensive Scheme of Harbor Improvements as required by Washington State (RCW Chapter 53.20). These Schemes are generally updated every 20 years (Scheme Process Introduction 1.2, p.I-1) to communicate to the public a port district’s proposed capital expenditures. An extensive public participation process was used for the updated Scheme, including a diverse advisory committee, a project website, several public workshops, and a public comment period before final adoption.

An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that considered alternatives and cumulative environmental impacts of those alternatives was also a State requirement and formed the basis of a 300-page document prepared by the engineering consultant firm Reid-Middleton. The 21 acres within the boundary of Kah Tai Lagoon Nature Park were included among the nine Port properties reviewed in the EIS. The draft Scheme proposed three alternative scenarios for the Port’s Kah Tai property:
  • Alternative 1.a. Use part of the site for commercial, retail, or mixed use (sell or lease) and retain the remainder as open space/park.
  • Alternative 1.b. Develop all usable portions of land for commercial, retail or mixed use, and/or dry boat storage
  • Alternative 2. Open Space and/or Park Option (No Action and Preferred Alternative)
The EIS evaluation of these Alternatives concluded that any development would result in:
  • degradation and loss of upland habitat,
  • adverse impacts to the wetland,
  • potential impacts on drainage and water quality,
  • diminished valuable greenspace and passive recreation park.
Eighty-five percent of the written public comments received by the Port dealt specifically or exclusively with the future of Kah Tai Lagoon Nature Park. All of those comments recommended in the strongest terms that the Park be protected in its entirety from future development of any kind.

Alternative 2 – Open Space and/or Park Option - was officially adopted by the Port Commission. This meant that the Port intended NO planned development of any kind in the Park for the next 20 years (Chapter 7, pp. VII-2, VII-3 and VII-4) and stated an intention to "sell the entire site to a public entity, such as the City of Port Townsend, for development as a park, or the Port will retain the property and maintain it as a park and/or open space (p. 205)."

No comments:

Post a Comment