Letters to the Editor

Letter | Councilman goes too far on Shoreline plan

I attended the May 17, 2011, marathon City Council meeting from 7 until 11 p.m. to hear the debate on the merits of the Planning Commission recommendations regarding the Mercer Island Shorelines Management Plan, which I thought had been well thought out by commissioners, following a very large amount of expert testimony and debate. I was pleasantly surprised after Councilman Grady arrived at 9:30 p.m. to learn that I was “fabulously wealthy.” However, before I could locate all my newfound wealth, Councilman Grady announced his plan to spend all my wealth for me on his own personal agenda.

Councilmen Grady and Grausz had urged the Council to impose more rigid requirements on dock repair and replacement than required by the county and state in order to enhance water quality. I support enhancing water quality. I don’t support using public funds or forcing private parties to spend their “fabulous wealth” on things that don’t count, such as reducing existing dock coverage or requiring grated decking for dock repair/replacement when the experts state, and the Planning Commission agrees: do not enhance salmon smolt survival.

Councilman Grady insists that grated, or perforated, decking represents superior new material that should be mandated, like building codes. Grated decking does not represent new materials; it is a new fabrication of existing materials that have inferior structural strength and would require a new structural design and more extensive building permits in order to meet existing building codes. It has nothing to do with water quality.

An amendment was proposed to gain City Council consensus and harmony, but it went too far, well beyond water quality issues, and it didn’t achieve consensus or harmony. I recommend instead that if Councilmen Grady and Grausz want to defy the experts, the Planning Commission, and their constituents, they should use his own “fabulous wealth” to buy up waterfront homes, and then rip out their own docks, bulkheads and vegetation.

I urge all residential waterfront property owners and other interested parties to attend the two remaining City Council meetings (June 20 and Aug. 1) regarding the new Shoreline Management Plan before it is adopted at the Aug. 1 meeting.

Dwight R. Schaeffer

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