Shoreline plan hearing covers pros and cons

Government agency attempting to balance private property rights with shellfish industry

Staff writerApril 9, 2014 

Laura Hendricks brought forward a net full of debris and placed it on the stage at Milton Boyd Auditorium, where the Pierce County Council held a hearing Thursday night.

Hendricks spoke on behalf of the Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat as the council listened to concerns about its latest proposal for updates on its Shoreline Master Program.

“We are leaving today a sample of the pollution — the plastic pollution — that the Shellfish Industry leaves in our yards,” Hendricks said. “I was going to bring 12 of these, one package for each of you, but I was told you wouldn’t appreciate it. But you know what? We don’t appreciate it, either.”

It’s been a seven-year process to update the program, and it’s only getting longer. Meetings will extend through July with another stop at Peninsula High School on July 17.

The debate on Thursday centered on the shellfish industry.

Diane Cooper spoke on behalf of Taylor Shellfish Farms of Shelton. She also represents the Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association.

Cooper the outreach and input on this particular update has been “exceptional.” It’s lasted years but “has been nothing less than impressive.”

Cooper said the shellfish industry approves of the updated draft.

“While we believe there is some fine-tuning that could be done on some of the provisions of the current draft, we recognize that it’s a tricky business to balance all the uses as required by the Shoreline Management Act,” she said. “Therefore, the draft that you have, the shellfish industry is satisfied with. We can live with it.”

Hendricks wasn’t surprised. In her view, the shellfish industry wrote the draft. The coalition she represents has submitted its own amendments.

Hendricks asked for those who support the group’s added amendments to stand. More than two-thirds of the auditorium stood.

State law requires updates to shoreline plans in accordance with the Shoreline Management Act.

The next meeting on the county’s update will be at 5:30 p.m. July 10 at North Tapps Middle School, 20029 12th St. E., Lake Tapps.

The council will tentatively vote on the changes July 29. The original vote was scheduled for April 22, but it was postponed after public complaints about how buffer changes would affect property rights.

Karen Miller: 253-358-4155 Twitter: @gateway_karen

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