Opinion

Editorial | Getting it right

It is too painful to imagine how much money is being spent on the update of the Shoreline Management Act by the City of Mercer Island, the state of Washington and other cities both here and across the state. And with our shoreline mostly built up, will it really make a huge difference to protecting the lake and the fish?

It is, of course, extremely important to protect our shorelines and the lake and the fish and wildlife that depend on them. The value of those assets cannot be overestimated. As scientists know, small incremental changes that disturb these sensitive areas build up over time, causing harm that will be magnified in the future. Still, one cannot help but be chagrined by the amount of time and money put in by the city and the state and Island citizens who donated their time to the Planning Commission to make sure that these plans protect citizens and fish. And it is unclear how many lots or homeowners may be affected. Existing docks that are replaced or repaired are not affected except for requirements on the type of building materials that will be allowed — no small matter in itself. An inventory of the shoreline shows that just a handful of lots with homes do not have docks and potentially might build one. There are, however, many more undeveloped lots that could potentially be built upon, but are largely unbuildable now or are part of larger parcels. Regardless, we must take whatever measures we can, sooner rather than later, to protect our lake.

The Mercer Island Reporter will continue to report on the status and outcome of the ongoing lawsuit brought by former assistant manager and city attorney Londi Lindell against the city for unlawful dismissal and harassment.  In addition to the fine levied against the city for violating the Public Records Act, parties to the suit are reportedly negotiating a settlement  on the larger issue of Lindell’s firing by the city. The judge overseeing the case has bound the parties to silence. Some information has been reported, but is not complete. To ensure accuracy, the Reporter will do so when court documents are available and the parties are allowed to speak.

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