Manchester group loses pipeline appeal

A Manchester committee will take its fight over a new stormwater pipe to the Port of Manchester now that the Kitsap County commissioners have rejected its plea to have the pipe moved over safety concerns.

On Monday, the commissioners voted to uphold a hearings examiner’s ruling to grant a permit for a 36-inch outfall pipe that would run along the north side of a floating dock at the Manchester boat ramp.

But Commissioner Jan Angel insisted the pipe be marked with proper signs. The pipe, which is expected to extend 150 feet out from the beach, will likely protrude from the water on low tide and present a hazard to boaters, the commissioners and county staff agreed.

Bud Larsen, representing the Manchester Crime Prevention and Public Safety group, argued in his appeal that the stormwater pipe also would be unsightly, would disrupt sand movement along the shore and contribute excessive amounts of fecal coliform from runoff into the water.

Commissioner Chris Endresen disagreed with Larsen’s claim the hearings examiner made errors by ignoring those issues and said the cost of moving or extending the pipe the extra 100 feet Larsen suggested made a change impossible.

“I don’t believe the hearings examiner made an error. He missed a couple of things” regarding safety, Endresen said. “This is a tradeoff. I wish we had enough money (for a longer pipe), but we don’t.”

Dave Tucker, manager of the county’s Surface and Stormwater Management Program, said extending the pipe beyond the dock would likely add $500,000 to the project’s $1 million price tag. He said county officials initially worked with both residents and the Port of Manchester to come up with the current alignment.

The county still must get an easement permit from the Port of Manchester, which owns the dock and approved the plan in 2002. Larsen hopes the fact the board has gained new members since then will give him another chance to rally their support.

“We have to make the port understand that if they give up recreation land, they have to make it up somewhere else,” Larsen said, suggesting boaters won’t be able to use the portion of dock closest to the pipe during certain tides.

Angel said putting up signs and markers for navigational safety should fix the problem.

Tucker suggested the bacterial coliform issue was a “longer-term problem,” but that moving the stormwater pipe to the north side of the dock actually moved it away from a picnic and recreation area.

The new stormwater pipe combines three existing pipes, including one expected to remain in the water to assist with maintaining sandflows around the new outfall pipe.

“As to the aesthetics, beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” Tucker said. “This is definitely an improvement.”

Larsen prepared remarks for the closed record appeal, indicating the county would be financially liable if anyone was injured by the stormwater pipe. It was incorrectly reported that the appeal was closed to the public, but in a closed record appeal both sides are permitted only to discuss information already submitted to the commissioners.

Citing environmental and design reports that indicated the stormwater pipe would work in its proposed location, Commissioner Patty Lent also pointed out written comments indicating Manchester residents were not willing to foot the bill for extending the pipe if it meant an increase in property taxes.

“That was one person’s opinion,” Larsen said.

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