411 N 5th St., Shelton
First Commissioner hearing of the Shoreline Master Program update
(Click here to view Mason County's SMP webpage, now updated and working)
What being involved in regulatory oversight can get you - an open door to little to no oversight of aquaculture in Mason County. PVC pipe, nets, cages, bags, operations at midnight, shoreline damage from wakes of overloaded vessels, all may be given a free pass in Mason County.
Contained within the County's long delayed Shoreline Master Program update is one line in a paragraph, inserted at the last moment, with the urging of Taylor Shellfish's Bill Dewey and approved by the Planning Advisory Commission members present. They included Bill Dewey, Vicki Wilson with Aracadia Point Seafood, Kevin Shutty (currently running for County Commissioner), and Tim Duffy (now resigned from the Planning Commission).
That line reads:
Dormant areas [of aquaculture] include property that was acquired under the Bush or Callow acts of 1895;
The line is contained within the following paragraph defining what "existing aquaculture" includes, and reads:
Existing aquaculture activities include areas that are actively cultivated and/or dormant. Dormant areas include property that was acquired under the Bush or Callow acts of 1895; areas undergoing crop rotation; and areas dormant due to market conditions, seed or juvenile availability, past and current pest infestations or control issues, water quality issues, and other cultivation factors beyond the control of the operator. Existing or permitted aquaculture operations are not subject to Section 17.50.055(H), [now 17.50.120] Existing uses and Structures, and shall not be considered nonconforming or abandoned. Ongoing maintenance, harvest, replanting, restocking or changing the culture technique or species cultivated for any existing or permitted aquaculture activity shall not require shoreline review or a new permit, unless or until:...Because the well crafted line defines "existing" as simply holding a deed to tidelands sold 100+ years ago, on which nothing has occurred, which in many cases were tidelands abandoned and made part residential developments, any form of aquaculture may be developed without requiring a permit. Is there any better example of why being involved in the political process is important?
Get involved. Tell Mason County Commissioners, current and those potentially being elected, these structures in the tidelands need permits just like any other developments along the shorelines do. Holding a deed is not the equivalent of proof that an existing activity occurred.