Kudos to Parks Board of Commissioners!

13 06 2010

I attended the June 10, 2010, meeting of the Parks Board of Commissioners whose agenda for that meeting included a “Briefing: Lowman Beach Park — King County’s Combined Sewer Overflow Project.” I submitted written testimony at that meeting and I testified. You can find the video of the meeting by clicking here. You can find a pdf of my written testimony by clicking here.

The only two West Seattle residents in attendance were Jim Coombes and I. However, in my opinion, even though higher numbers of concerned residents would have been helpful, it was clear to me that the Parks Board of Commissioners is very protective, active, and supportive of the kind of park we have at Lowman Beach Park. I stayed for the whole meeting, and met “off the record” with the three board members, Neal Adams (Vice Chair), John Barber, and Terry Holme. Although it may not seem very evident in the meeting itself, these three board members are very supportive of our efforts with respect to preserving Lowman Beach Park as it is, and, if the worst case scenario were to ensue, making sure that the park is duplicated as best as possible, in a nearby area. In addition, they are really nice and very bright people. Kudos!

You may note in the video of the meeting that the Lowman Beach briefing person, Kevin Stoops, clearly points out that even if the worst case scenario is played out and the KCWTD CSO containment tank is placed in the park, that it would be considered under the law to be a complete taking of the park by King County, and would, in all likelihood, require that King County buy up nearby private property and convert it to a park similar to Lowman Beach Park, even if Lowman Beach Park is “restored” as much as possible post-construction. You got that? Under the law, it would need to be replaced with an equally similarly located park with similar attributes and size.

The problem with that scenario, as with one of the alternatives proposed by KCWTD, is that it involves the exercise of eminent domain and the forced purchasing of prime private property from people who may not want to sell their property. This is decidedly unacceptable and should be avoided at all costs. To convert people’s property to public land against their will is just immoral.

“Eminent domain” keeps coming up. I find that incredibly disheartening. I see no need to start forcing the sales of prime property for the purposes of duplicating a “taken” park” or installing a containment tank, when there is a huge amount of public land available at Lincoln Park.