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Residents support Point No Point boat launch

PORT ORCHARD — More than 100 positive comments were sent to the Kitsap County Hearing Examiner when she heard the application for the boat launch at Point No Point.

While some neighbors and the Port Gamble S’Klallam and Suquamish tribes voiced concerns, state Fish and Wildlife Regional Director Michele Culver said her department has addressed drawbacks to the proposed project.

Culver submitted a shoreline substantial development permit and an administrative conditional use permit  for a 90-foot boat launch, beach restoration, parking, ADA-approved restroom facility, and stormwater facilities.

Karen Ashcroft, the county hearing examiner, heard testimony Nov. 10 and is expected to make her decision in a few weeks.

It has been nearly 10 years since a boat could be launched at the site, about a quarter-mile west of the Point No Point lighthouse. Fishermen and boaters have since had to drive to Kingston or Salsbury Point to launch a motorized boat longer than 16 feet.

“Traditionally this area has been a launch site, even before they put a rail launch in there in the early 1920s,” said Norm Reinhardt, president of the Kitsap Poggie Club. “It’s a popular destination for [subsidiary] fishermen.”

Reinhardt said the project would “replant” recreational fishing at Point No Point. The site was historically a fishing resort.

Other comments from around the county included support for youth activities and the convenience of the site.

Culver said one of the biggest concerns residents brought up was the size of the ramp and subsequently, the size of the boats allowed. The proposed 90-foot-long launch would be able to accommodate 26-foot boats, allowing commercial and recreational fishermen to use the site. However, Fish and Wildlife would not allow commercial activities, such as buying and selling fish caught, at the site, she said.

Judy Roupe of the Greater Hansville Area Advisory Council said she is concerned about the size of the boats that could be launched. She lives next to the site, and said she and her neighbors are mainly concerned about safety and “the lack of supervision at the proposed site.”

Suquamish Tribe Chairman Leonard Forsman said his government has a hard time supporting this project, partly because of impacts to tribal fishing rights.

“We need to engage in meaningful government-to-government consultation,” he said.

Suquamish fisheries biologist Alison O’Sullivan said there hasn’t been enough study of the potential environmental and traffic impacts.

The Port Gamble S’Klallam and Jamestown S’Klallam tribes submitted a joint statement, stating, “We hope that [the project] fosters a stewardship ethic toward natural resources,” and Port Gamble S’Klallam spokeswoman Ginger Vaughan said they support shoreline access but the project design is flawed.

Culver said funds have not been secured for the project, and a grant proposal will be submitted in July for the entire $2 million cost. If permits are approved and grant funding awarded, construction could begin in the summer 2013, she said.

Fish and Wildlife purchased the site in 1996 for $860,000. When Fish and Wildlife proposed to redevelop the property in 2009, tearing down the rusting ramp and old resort cabins, the county appealed the project, citing issues with Fish and Wildlife’s environmental review.

In 2010, state and county officials agreed to work together on the project.

 

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