Proposed ordinance called a nuisance
June 11, 2008 · Updated 11:35 AM
"One man's treasure is another man's trash.The majority of Kitsap County residents protesting a proposed public nuisance ordinance at an Aug. 27 public hearing don't think the county should be empowered to make the decision about which is which on private property.You can't have body damage or a cracked windshield, one man in the audience commented before the meeting began. Body damage is undefinable, it can be anywhere from a scratch to a dented fender.Don't put your snow tires on in your driveway, they'll get you, said another man.Definitions were the main issue at this fourth public hearing for the ordinance.Kathryn Portteus of the Kitsap County Prosecutor's Office, who is working with the County Commissioners on the ordinance, said the majority of changes in this newest version deal with definitions.She said the new draft will encapsulate the entire civil abatement process, the means by which the county will enforce the ordinance.A Silverdale man objected to the term abatement, on the grounds that most Kitsap residents wouldn't understand what it means.The ordinance defines abate as to repair, replace, remove, destroy or otherwise remedy a condition which constitutes a nuisance under this chapter. I know it's a problem in the county, but why is the majority being penalized for the infractions of a few, mainly (one) in Poulsbo and one in Port Orchard? asked John Kinsell. Another thing bothers me, the power the enforcer has. The police can't come onto your property without a warrant. The enforcer can come on it if there's a complaint. Does anybody in that department know what a collectible car is? A Chrysler 300 is, a Chrysler K car isn't, Kinsell said.Ordinance backers say the measure will protect their property values from neighbors who refuse to clean up their property or haul away junk cars.But there didn't seem to be any pro-ordinance speakers in the audience.The ordinance allows a property owner to store up to six junk motor vehicles on private property outside of a permitted building, only if the vehicles are completely screened by a privacy fence or natural vegetation to the satisfaction of the director of the county Department of Community Development. Tarps are not considered acceptable screens, the ordinance said.The director's satisfaction is a major sticking point.The ordinance is wrong, wrong in its entirety, it's selective enforcement, said Howard Jackson.Commissioner Chris Endresen noted that Monday's hearing was only for public input, not for a vote on the ordinance. She invited those with more comment than time to submit their responses in writing by 4:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 31.Portteus noted the tremendous public response to the nuisance ordinance at three previous public hearings.There've been constructive suggestions as to what to do with this ordinance, she said, drawing appreciative chuckles from the audience.The ordinance is available for public review on the county's Web site, www.kitsap.gov.com.The majority of speakers were members of classic car clubs. But some wanted clarification on what counted as nuisances, while others wanted certain items included as nuisances.I have game birds and a small amount of swine, I'm looking at it from the environmental aspect, said Jerry Darnell of Kingston. Darnell was concerned about a part of the ordinance that refers to odors unnecessarily offensive to the senses. Can I get a definition of that? When I turn my compost pile or rototil my pig pen will I be penalized, or will I be exempt? he asked.Mary Steiber wanted to include roosters in the noise ordinance.Last year my neighbor started raising roosters 150 feet from my house, from my children's bedroom. The children are being awakened at 2-3 a.m. in the morning, Steiber said.My neighbor's response was, 'Well, they have to get up anyway,' Steiber said.She said the neighbor started out with 80 roosters, and brought a tape of them, but her recorder battery died. Commissioner Jan Angel vouched for the noise.Steiber invited her over for coffee and to experience it, Angel said with a grimace.You can close the window and it still doesn't help, Angel said. "