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Harper Dock curfew vote delayed

An expected vote on a proposed modification to the recently imposed curfew on the Harper Dock Fishing Pier was delayed last Tuesday because only two of the Port of Bremerton Commissioners were present at the board’s meeting Aug. 10.

Commissioners Bill Mahan and Mary Ann Huntington appeared split on whether to leave the 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. curfew imposed in June on the popular fishing spot as is, or modify it slightly to allow licensed fisherman to use the pier late at night to catch squid and other nocturnal creatures.

“I think the staff outlined a good compromise,” Mahan said, referring to the recommendation presented by Chief Operating Officer Tim Thomson, which proposed reopening the pier to limited use from 10 p.m. until dawn.

“Staff believes that the pier should be open to those who have a legitimate desire to use the public dock facility as long as users respect the rights of local residents to enjoy a peaceful existence in concert with the long existing public uses,” Thomson read at the meeting.

Last month, Thomson said the board imposed the curfew on June 21 to stem an increase in complaints about rowdiness, vandalism and other incidents at the pier.

Once the curfew was imposed, however, Thomson said the board began receiving e-mails and faxes from people disappointed the pier was closed so early, and decided to schedule a study session to allow the commissioners to hear directly from the public.

Both residents and fishermen addressed the board at the hearing July 27, with each group painting vastly different pictures of the pier at night.

The fishermen they were quiet and respectful, while the residents claimed the fishermen are typically loud and rude, often hogging parking, tossing liquor bottles and urinating in their yards.

The fishermen told the board the pier was one of the few places they could still fish at night, while the residents argued they deserved a decent night’s sleep.

After the hearing, Port of Bremerton Chief Executive Officer Ken Attebery said the board would gather more information about issues surrounding the pier — in particular from the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Department.

Thomson said the staff’s recommendation to modify the curfew was made after meeting with county and state officials, including members of the sheriff’s department and Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, and determining that the modifications could be enforced.

While Mahan supported the modification, Huntington, whose jurisdiction includes Harper Dock, said she was very concerned about the nearby residents getting enough sleep during the “wee early morning hours.”

“I do know people have a tendency to talk and laugh, and voices carry at night,” Huntington said, using as an example how she can clearly hear everything the delivery people serving Wal-Mart say and do since she lives only 300 feet away from the business on Bethel Road. “I am so concerned for the people in the houses.”

Huntington said she disagreed that residents should have to live with the noise because they might have moved into an area with an existing public dock.

“I knew Wal-Mart was there when I moved, but I did not know the deliveries would go on all night,” she said. “I would like to see the curfew stay, but 10 p.m. seems early to me. Perhaps we could extend the hours to 12 a.m. But I do not want the pier to be open during the key hours of hardest sleep.”

Mahan remarked that his and Huntington’s votes appeared split, and since Commissioner Cheryl Kincer was not present to cast the third and perhaps deciding vote, suggested that the vote be delayed. Huntington agreed, and the board tabled the vote until the Aug. 24 meeting, which will be held at 10 a.m.

Other Port actions included:

• Commissioners announced the authorization of an economic development initiative for a portion of its property near the Bremerton National Airport. The project is to be pursued as a result of an agreement entered into Tuesday, Aug. 10, with Sustainable Synergy.

The agreement involves the development of a campus embracing sustainable energy and building technology, while also calling for recruitment of businesses to participate in the design and operation the campus geared at developing, demonstrating and marketing such technologies.

Sustainable Synergy is a local business recently formed by Mark Frost of MD- Business Infrastructure Services, LLC, and Tim Botkin of Sustainable Solutions.

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