By Kate Reardon
EVERETT — City resident Sandy Ward isn’t a scientist, but she believes a balance can be found between people and preservation along the city’s shorelines.
"Nobody wants to hurt baby salmon," she said, adding that there needs to be a way for the city’s shoreline master plan to give people access, yet still protect the environment "so we can still have growth but not be icky."
More than 120 people met with state Department of Ecology officials Thursday night in Everett to share displeasure or favor toward the city’s draft master shoreline plan, a state-mandated document that regulates how the city’s shorelines may change in coming years.
Ecology’s review of the plan follows a two-year process by the city to draft the plan, hear public comment and make changes.
In March, the city council voted 6-1 to approve the plan. City council member Ron Gipson voted no.
Most who spoke on Thursday focused attention on the Maulsby mud flats, the city’s riverfront property and the city’s east Everett park area.
The Ecology Department plans another hearing Monday. The department will eventually package the comments and allow the city of Everett to respond to the comments before accepting some form of the plan. Any appeals to the department’s decision would be made to the growth hearings board.
Wes Williams of the Lowell neighborhood said he believes the plan is flawed in that it’s a "fast track for development."
Dirk Fieldcamp Jr. of the Boeing Co. offered support for the city’s draft plan, calling it a "balanced approach." Everett resident John Lindstrom showed slides of Eugene, Ore., and Denver, Colo., as examples of how communities have built bicycle trails along waterfronts.
"Someone living in downtown Everett should be able to get to a bike trail without getting into a car and driving to Snohomish," Lindstrom said.
Eric Espenhorst of Seattle spoke against the plan and pointed out that environmental restoration, quality of life and economic growth can happen, just not all in the same place.
"Please, Ecology, take this back, I don’t want it," he said of the city’s draft plan.
Kristin Kelly of the Pilchuck Audubon Society said the plan is unfair to citizens in that it puts profits before the environment.
"This gives the city the right to destroy our shorelines," she said. "(We need) restoration and cleanup of shorelines, not development."
Paul Roberts, city planning director, said some people who are giving public input have not necessarily read the draft plan.
"There’s a tremendous amount of misinformation out there," Roberts said. "The city has spent a great deal of time and energy providing substantial protection for environmentally sensitive resources. We put in to place conservation measures before they were required. By this plan, we would provide even greater measures."
Roberts said the community has told the city that public access is important.
"There are hundreds of acres that are provided for conservation in this plan."
You can call Herald Writer Kate Reardon at 425-339-3455
or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.