The Covington City Council voted down a resolution 4-3 Tuesday concerning the Shoreline Master Program following a passionate public hearing and spirited debate among members.
The resolution will return to the council again for consideration.
City Planning Manager Richard Hart briefed the council and public on the program noting the documents would be sent to the state Department of Ecology for review.
The resolution was for the council to endorse and forward the document to Ecology for review.
Hart noted the city must comply with the state regulations for shoreline management.
The plan addresses three bodies of water in the city limits – Big Soos Creek, Jenkins Creek and Pipe Lake.
The issue for the city and residents is state law requires any new development along shorelines must provide public access.
The city staff noted the public access issue only applies to new developments, not a current resident living on a shoreline who is working on a home.
A 1972 state law requires cities adopt a shoreline management plan, which is to be reviewed every 10 years.
Covington adopted the King County plan when the city incorporated.
Hart said the 10-year review was delayed by Ecology while the department “updated their best available science.”
The Shoreline Master Program is to be completed by 2010.
Public comment included numerous citizens questioning the city’s intent and if the plan would change the nature and environment of Pipe Lake.
Judy Matsudaira said after the meeting she feared the plan would “completely destroy the wildlife and beauty of the lake. I bought there because it was a private lake.”
Some residents voiced concern Camp McCullough, located on Pipe Lake, would be sold.
Camp McCullough Director Matt Miller said, “There’s been a lot of talk about selling the camp or giving private access. We have not been in any discussions.”
Miller described the camp as a Christian camp and retreat center founded in 1945.
During the council discussion, Mayor Pro-Tem Jeff Wagner said he wanted to get the “process going so we are in compliance with the state regulations.”
Councilman Mark Lanza said, “this isn’t a vote for public access. This is a vote for a plan we have to adopt.”
Councilman Wayne Snoey pointed out the members “just received a huge document. It may well be a fine piece of work. But I’m very concerned with rushing.”
Mayor Margaret Harto said she supported it “because it behooves us to keep the process rolling.”
The measure failed 4-3 with councilmen Jim Scott, Snoey, David Lucavish and Lanza voting no. Harto, Wagner and Councilwoman Marlla Mhoon voted yes.