Shorelines ruling appeal just doubles down county’s bad bet

As we noted in September, when a state Appeals Court ruled that Kitsap County must use its Shoreline Management Program rather than the more stringent Critical Areas Ordinance to regulate critical areas within 200 feet of shorelines, the appropriate response would be for the county to simply follow the law do what the court said.

But apparently that’s not how it’s going to play out.

Noting ambiguity and other issues with in the decision, the Kitsap County commissioners originally filed a motion for reconsideration on Sept. 29 — which was denied by the Appeals Court two weeks later.

Not satisfied, the county announced this week it would appeal to the State Supreme Court — which may or may not agree to even hear the case, let alone overturn the lower court’s ruling.

“As I stated earlier,” said South Kitsap Commissioner Charlotte Garrido, “the split decision by the Supreme Court created enough confusion to, in our opinion, warrant another review. It is our hope that the state’s highest court will provide clearer direction.”

Obviously there’s a reason appellate and Supreme Courts were created, and no one is trying to deny the county its legal right to appeal a decision that went against it.

But the point is, the county shouldn’t be filing lawsuits against its own residents trying to wrest more control over private property in the first place — especially when the basis for the tougher standards the county wants to impose is junk science.

And having already done so — and lost — it’s all the more egregious to spend tens of thousands of dollars crafting its appeal on the very week it was announced that the county would be cutting back on staff at the Kitsap Prosecutor’s Office, a move that figures to directly affect something as essential as public safety.

Enough is enough. Stop wasting the taxpayers’ money on a battle the county had no business waging to begin with.

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