Port Townsend: Commissioners tour Shine - Road erosion, 'pirate ship,' beach access concern residents

By Barney Burke
P. T. Leader Staff Writer


Port Townsend, WA - There's no substitute for going out to see things in person if you're an elected official.

At the invitation of Shine residents, County Commissioners Dan Titterness, Glen Huntingford and Judi Mackey took part in a July 31 walking tour. The meeting began at the home of Bunker and Sandy Hill and continued along the beach in order to look at a number of issues.

Erosion of the land supporting Shine Road was a concern voiced by many of the two-dozen people in attendance. The most visible portion of the problem is a stretch of roadway that is no longer wide enough for two lanes of traffic.

The county has installed "Jersey barriers" and some boulders to try to slow the erosion, but a more permanent solution seems a long way off. As residents walked along the beach, they pointed out a number of other areas where the roadway is in danger of being undermined. The county doesn't have a specific solution or a cost estimate at this time, commissioners noted.

'Pirate' ship buoys

Also of interest to the group was the installation of six mooring buoys by Randy Felt of Seabeck. About two months ago, Felt placed the buoys on tidelands he purchased, and started mooring a former military landing craft there. That vessel, which Felt says he plans to use in the recovery of a sunken tug, flies a skull and crossbones flag.

Neither Felt nor his boat were present for the commissioners' tour. Neighbor Larry Smith, who owns the adjacent beach and homesite, expressed concern that Felt might seek a permit to undertake industrial activities there.

While some present seemed to agree with Smith, at least one man voiced a different opinion. "We're all bitchin' about it," the other resident observed, and yet there are other violations that some may regard as more egregious, he argued.

Huntingford commented that staff from the county and the state were reviewing the situation to see if the situation violated any laws. He pointed out a number of other buoys in the area and asked if anyone knew if they had permits. No one was able to answer that. Huntingford recalled that about 35 of 50 buoys reviewed in Mystery Bay a few years ago were determined to be without permits.

Following the meeting, Community Development Director Al Scalf sent a notice to Felt informing him that the buoys violated the county's Unified Development Code. The notice asked Felt to remove the buoys and submit applications for any buoys or possible "industrial uses" that he might be contemplating.

Another concern that came up during the tour was William R. Hicks Park, operated by the county. The border between the park and adjacent private property to the west isn't well-defined, some residents said, and that might contribute to the problem of people trespassing on private beaches.

No decisions were made during the walking tour, but the commissioners expressed appreciation for gaining a better understanding of concerns affecting people who live in Shine.


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