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CAO opposition comes up short

PORT ORCHARD — Protesters against Kitsap County’s Critical Areas Ordinance (CAO) made an unsuccessful last-ditch effort to prevent its ratification on Monday, with several anti-CAO speakers using the public input segment of the county commissioners’ meeting to air their grievances.

The CAO was approved by a 2-1 vote on Dec. 1. North Kitsap Commissioner Chris Endresen and Central Kitsap Commissioner Patty Lent favored the ordinance while South Kitsap Commissioner Jan Angel voted in opposition.

Much of the last-minute criticism was directed at Lent, who angered the same group in 2003 when she reversed her previous vote to approve impact fees. Some observers hoped Lent would reverse her position here.

When it became clear she was holding her position, Kitsap Alliance of Property Owners Vivian Henderson stormed out of the meeting.

“Yeah right, Patty,” she said loudly.

“You are out of order, Mrs. Henderson,” Endresen said.

“I meant to be out of order,” Henderson responded.

Previously, Henderson had criticized the actual signing of the ordinance in private, which is standard board policy.

“I wanted to witness this act of thievery first-hand,” Henderson said. “I wanted to watch you commit this act of stealing our land. This is a sad day for property owners.”

Henderson placed a bag of dirt from her yard on the commissioners’ dais, saying, “This is the last of my land you will get without a fight.”

Former 26th District Rep. Lois McMahon made the same symbolic gesture, but with two bags. The bags were not immediately removed from the commissioners’ chambers after the meeting.

Jean Sherrard of Poulsbo predicted that people would combat the CAO with good old-fashioned civil disobedience.

“Citizens will work their way around this system,” he said. “There is no way these restrictions are going to work in a democratic society.”

“In recent years, property values have doubled because of smart growth,” said Jean Bradford of Silverdale. “By adopting this you will cause them to double again. And if you do this, you might as well forget about decreasing the county’s homeless population.”

Following the public testimony, an emotional Angel expressed regret about the outcome, saying, “I am not proud to be part of government today.”

The final ratification of the CAO opens a 60-day window for challenges. Representatives of KAPO said they may offer some challenges but offered no specifics.

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