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Tribe moves ahead with dock after appeal denied

SUQUAMISH — A 526-foot dock proposed by the Suquamish Tribe will continue to float forward after the Kitsap County Board of Commissioners denied an appeal of the plan Dec. 5.

The dock is being constructed as a part of the tribe’s efforts to revitalize the tribe and its neighborhoods before summer 2009, when Suquamish will be the final destination for the Tribal Journeys canoe trip.

The Shoreline Management Board, made up of five appellants with concerns about the dock and other capital projects, will meet soon to decide what actions it will take next. One fact appellant and board member Thornton Percival clarified is he and the others will continue to be active in addressing their worries regarding this project.

“Well, there are some issues the appellants will be meeting on,” he said. “The Shoreline Management Board will talk about where we can go now, and what steps we should take.”

As a part of the decision, however, the commissioners built in several requirements to the proposal the tribe is now incorporating into its plan to address the noise concern raised in the appeal, said Commissioner Steve Bauer. The first restricts internal combustion motors and generators, not allowing them to run from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. Friday, Saturday and during special events. The second restricts non-tribal commercial vessels, which are not allowed to moor at the dock during the same times.

“We’ll manage, we can manage the dock just fine with those requirements,” said Suquamish Tribal Chairman Leonard Forsman. “Of course, we appreciate as much freedom as possible, but I can understand why these requirements have been put in place. We didn’t expect it to make much noise, but we understand the concerns.”

Percival said he felt the commissioners didn’t take enough time to address the issues in the appeal, and there could have been political motivation behind the decision. He added though he didn’t want to speculate on the reason for the denial, only that the board would continue to pursue the issues raised by the appellants.

“No, no, they’re very difficult to enforce, and that’s a concern,” Percival said of the restrictions. “Noise was a large concern, and even though the restrictions are at 10 o’clock at night, how will they enforce that? And what is a special event? I can understand Tribal Journeys, but the conditions are so vague... It feels like some of the arguments we made were completely dismissed.”

Suquamish Tribal Engineer Bob Gatz said the restrictions were acceptable to the tribe, especially because no set schedule had been established yet for the dock. The rest of the project is moving forward as the tribe seeks permits. The Suquamish Tribal Council also awarded a bid to American Civil Construction Dec. 3 to do the work, and the project is within, if a little under, budget, he said. At the next meeting the council will sign the contract with the construction company.

“The construction window for in the water to work is July 15 to Sept. 1 in 2008,” Gatz said. “What’ll happen is the (steel) pilings will be installed during that time, and over the water work can continue past that Sept. 1 date. We actually have a completion and cleanup date set for Jan. 1, 2009.”

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