Letter: Property owners harassed for exercising their rights

Editor,

The article by Jessie Stensland, “Sand build-up leads to closure of Mutiny Bay boat ramp,” is, to say the least, very one-sided. The beach community has voiced concern about how Island County operates the boat ramp for more than 10 years.

Public Works dredges on the order 10,000 cubic yards of sand a year and dumps it on the tidelands. This process created massive sand bar adjacent to the boat ramp, on private tide lands. Public Works gets a permit to “clean” the boat ramp from Fish and Wildlife.

This sand bar has changed the currents and sand movements within the bay. Properties to the north have eroded in direct proportion to the growth of the sand bar. The 25 houses to north saw erosion of 30 feet in the last 30 years, 20 feet in the last 10.

Island County has a comprehensive Shoreline Master Plan requiring that everyone making any change to the shoreline to go through a process and get a shoreline permit. There is specific language in the SMP that address dredging. Island County ignored this for years and is in violation of their own plan.

In 1980 you had to step up and over the ramp. The ramp is now buried under 15 feet of sand.

Assistant Public Works Director Kelly Ojala oversimplified the problem and tried to cast blame on someone else.

The county refuses to go through a proper planning process.

The residents made a counter proposal for one year that would move the sand distribution further north and require the county to implement the requirements of the SMP to develop a long-term sustainable solution.

What happens at the boat ramp is reflected throughout the bay.

It is not just a few residents who are raising this issue, it is a group that is asserting the rights of property owners. What are we asking? To have Island County make responsible choice base on the rule of law.

There was some discussion of public safety. Basic logic says that Mutiny Bay is not a viable launching site for search-and-rescue boats.

Please stop harassing the property owners for exercising their rights

Jim Black

Freeland

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