City shoreline plan approved

After hours of meetings, discussions, revisions and much consternation, the Mercer Island City Council voted to adopt a resolution to forward the city’s draft Shoreline Management Plan to the Washington State Department of Ecology.

The vote to advance the plan to the next level of review passed five votes to two, with Councilmen Mike Grady and Dan Grausz voting no.

The Aug. 1 Council meeting began with several community members coming forward to praise the Council for its attention to both the environment and the individual property rights of waterfront homeowners.

“You guys came through by representing citizens and saving the environment,” said Islander Dave Douglas.

Other commenters praised the work of the City Planning Commission, whose work formed the basis of the plan that is required by state law for all jurisdictions adjacent to waterways.

Over the last few months, the Council has sought to incorporate some adjustments into the plan, including allowing the dock width to be no more than four feet wide and altering some requirements concerning covered moorage and rules for repair and replacement of existing structures.

At the Aug. 1 meeting, however, it appeared for a time that the vote may be delayed.

Councilmembers began discussion on how the concept of “no net loss of ecological function” could be defined and written into a law. The Council also discussed how repairs to a dock could be measured as a proportion to the entire structure.

City of Mercer Island staff will now make some final wording changes and put together the final submittal to send to the Department of Ecology. The city and DOE will also collaborate on any final changes.

For a summary of issues regarding the SMP, go to

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