Tuesday, July 31, 2012

the end of July and a sigh of relief

Male Ruddy Duck in full breeding plumage at Kah Tai
July 31, 2012 is a date that held considerable concern for those who want to protect Kah Tai. It is the day that the 30-year Kah Tai lease between the City and Port has been set to expire. And here we are, on July 31, 2012. The lease is still in place while the final details are completed for the long-awaited transfer of the Port's Kah Tai holdings to the City.  That status quo for the Park's management is spelled out in '1. Escrow Account Established' in Exhibit A of the Joint Resolution signed by the City and Port on May 21, 2012.

Meanwhile, back at the Park:

Admiralty Audubon's Kah Tai Lagoon Nature Park bird survey report is now complete! The report's cover image is seen above, courtesy David Gluckman.

From October 2009 to October 2011, Admiralty Audubon chapter birders conducted 52 daylight surveys of birds in the park. Two-thirds of the species counted in the survey are land-based birds, utilizing the maturing uplands of the park. Ninety-eight species and their seasonal distributions were counted during the surveys.

In the process of analysing the survey results, we were fortunate to locate in the Friends of Kah Tai's archives five historic bird lists from Kah Tai, including one undertaken by AAS chapter founder, Eleanor Stopps, and first chapter president, Bernard Beck, from 1978-1979. The historic lists were incorporated into the analysis. The Park's historic species list is now documented at 150, as a new species was added a couple of weeks ago - Western Kingbird.

AAS has just completed a data- and photo-rich presentation of the survey results. It provides a brief overview of park history, a useful guide to what birds you might expect to see at any given visit and some excellent photography of the birds at Kah Tai. If you'd like an electronic copy of the report, you can download it at http://admiraltyaudubon.org. It is approximately 2.7 MB.

Printed copies of the report will be available in limited numbers soon. Check back on the AAS website for more information.

Monday, July 30, 2012

now that we're here, it seems so easy

On July 16th, City Council moved forward with the majority of City actions needed to complete the transfer of the Port's Kah Tai lands to the City.  Specifically, they passed Ordinances 3078 and 3079 unanimously for first reading. The first ordinance will amend nonconforming use provisions  in Chapters 17.88 and 20.01 of the Municipal Code. The second will vacate rights of way in the Boat Haven. Council approved unanimously Resolution 12-030, which will lead to the transfer of City's ownership interest (except for Pope Marine Building) in City Dock and Union Wharf, and the abandoned railroad line in the boat haven (but not any part affecting the Larry Scott Trail).

They held Ordinance 3080 which would vacate a portion of Madison Street ROW associated with City Dock due to some issues about underlying property servitudes (remember RCO and perpetuity?) to be discussed by the full negotiating committee. Council approved unanimously a first reading of Ordinance 3081 repealing Municipal Code Chapter 5.46 pertaining to City Dock and Union Wharf use regulations and charges, and passed unanimously Ordinance 3082, amending Municipal Code Chapter 13.05 about utility rates and added section 13.05.055 Boat Haven - Exemption From Stormwater Fees.

On July 25th, The Port Commission held their formal hearing to surplus their Kah Tai holdings. With no objections and only one public comment (in support), the Commission agreed that the Port Administration will draft a resolution to finalize the transfer to the City to be considered (signed) at their next meeting.

See how easy this is? Or at least it looks easy sitting in the bleachers.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

protecting public parkland

The complicated process required to transfer the Port's Kah Tai holdings to the City is well underway and moving along rapidly. One completely unexpected consequence can be read at the link below. Who knew that the primary voice for developing Kah Tai these last 30-odd years could have had a change of heart so complete that we now find protecting Kah Tai held up as the model for protecting public land from development?


On 14 June 2012, the Port Townsend Planning Commission forwarded to City Council the necessary Municipal Code changes with regard to nonconforming uses, and City Council passed Ordinance 3075 on 18 June 2012. Next up is a City Council hearing on 16 July 2012 addressing right-of-way vacations in the Boat Haven and other issues prior to property transfers.  Also look for a Port hearing soon to provide guidance and permission for the Port Manager to schedule the necessary public process to surplus their Kah Tai land so it can be transferred.