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Pipeline appeal to be heard

The Kitsap County commissioners on Monday will hear an appeal from a Manchester committee concerned that plans for a new stormwater pipe would create boating and environmental hazards for the shoreline there.

The commissioners will be asked to weigh whether adding $500,000 to the already $1 million project is worth addressing residents’ safety concerns.

The county’s hearings examiner approved in May a permit for development of three stormwater pipes into one 36-inch pipe that extends from the beach out into the water near the Mancheseter dock.

But Bud Larson, representing the Manchester Crime Prevention and Public Safety Group, appealed the decision.

The group claims the pipe would protrude from the water on low tide, creating the potential for damage to both boats and piping.

They also claim the new pipe would increase the amount of bacterial contamination at the discharge point.

“Most of it is common knowledge. You put a pipe down in a boating area, a boat’s going to hit it,” Larson said. “You run three pipes full of runoff into one, you increase the amount of fecal coliform.”

Larson said he’ll have just 10 minutes on Monday to convince commissioners the pipe, under the current plan, is a liability to the county. He said he wants to see the pipe buried further out beyond the dock and boat landing to a distance of at least 200 feet.

But Dave Tucker, the county’s project manager, said running pipe that distance would increase the cost by nearly 50 percent. The county has argued the pipe meets standards and is necessary to handle stormwater runoff stemming from growth in that community.

“We originally looked at other potential alignments, with the pipe going out to the end of the floating dock,” Tucker said, noting that configuration would still would leave the pipe significantly closer to the shoreline than residents want.

“The problem is, you go from a land-based construction project to one where you have to put a barge out in the water — a dredging type of construction,” which increases the cost of the project, Tucker said. “From a navigational standpoint, I don’t think even that is what they wanted.”

County officials began discussing the project with the Port of Manchester, which owns the dock, in late 2002. Tucker said planners looked at several ways to place the pipe and decided the current plan was the best possible compromise.

While it will fall to the commissioners to decide whether the location of the pipe is a liability, Tucker said there has been some discussion about placing a protective marker at the site – something that would have to get Port of Manchester and Coast Guard approval.

“I think the potential is there that somebody could hit it,” Tucker said, “but there are other things there, like rocks and derelict pilings. The whole thing is about being prudent with public money and safety.”

During the appeal – which is closed to the public — Larson is limited to discussing only information that has already been presented to the commissioners. But he believes the low-tide water level used by engineers, or minus-6.25 mean low water, is an inaccurate gauge.

“Low tide (at that location) is a zero water level,” Larson said. “Why don’t they use the standard tide table like everybody else?”

Low tide will result in the pipe being exposed, also creating an additional problem in that it “will effectively become a berm on the beach” that will interfere with normal sand movement and lead to erosion, Larson’s appeal states.

The new stormwater pipe will consolidate runoff from three smaller existing pipes, including one currently located near the boat ramp and dock.

Larson said he’s acquired cost estimates of his own for redesign and construction of the pipe at a greater distance from shore that top out at $200,000.

“Regardless of what it costs, this whole thing is a mess,” Larson contends.

Larson acknowledges the commissioners may not render a decision right away.

Tucker said previous public hearings held with the Port of Manchester produced little public opposition to the project.

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