Letters to the Editor

Appelman mistaken on shorelines

As a dock owner on Mercer Island and a former judge for the state Shorelines Hearings Board, I was deeply concerned by a form letter I received from Ira Appelman, who is running for the City Council, targeted to shoreline residents. Mr. Appelman’s letter is rife with misstatements and demonstrates a complete ignorance of how state and local regulation of shorelines occurs. His thesis is that the current City Council, of its own accord, is revising the Mercer Island Shoreline Master Plan and foisting draconian changes to how shoreline owners will be able to use and change their docks and bulkheads to their certain, future detriment.

Mr. Appelman is mistaken. Our city, like every other government that has a shoreline, is revising its Shoreline Master Program to comply with recent changes in state law. Stated simply, the city has no choice but to update its ordinances.

If our City Council fails to approve updates to local law that satisfy state law, dock and bulkhead owners will be forced into a legal limbo while the city and the state spend years litigating over whether the city’s program complies with state law.

Who loses if that comes to pass? The citizens of Mercer Island. The permitting process will come to a standstill because city workers will not know what standards to apply. The City Council of Mercer Island is serving dock and bulkhead owners by updating Mercer Island’s Shoreline Master Program so that shoreline residents can get the permits they need to preserve their property and docks while protecting our natural environment.

Mr. Appelman’s misrepresentation of the facts appears to be nothing more than a vote-getting ploy. That is not what Mercer Island needs. The issues facing this city are complex, and we need City Councilmembers who will advocate for our interests, while honestly explaining to us the legal limits of their power: what they can change and what they cannot. Since Dan Grausz has always advocated zealously for the citizens of Mercer Island, while being honest with his constituents, he has my vote.

Suzanne Skinner

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