I would like to begin by praising this effort to find the best solution to the issue of development in the Seaview dunes. The resolution will have critical impact on the long-term future of the Long Beach Peninsula and its current and future residents and therefore demands highly accountable action by public officials.
In the light of recent natural disasters, I believe that environmental impact must be a major factor in the decision. Erosion of the dunes would put residents at serious risk, physically as well as through significant property damage/loss. As we have painfully learned over time, preservation of wetlands and natural ecosystems is an essential part of managed growth and ignoring that knowledge has resulted in ultimately unsustainable communities.
Tourism is of course a major contributor to the local economy and it is the mix of pristine natural beauty, rich history and high quality lodgings, restaurants and arts that attract tourists, many of whom are very loyal to this area and come back on a regular basis. I came to the Peninsula for vacations several times a year for 20 years before I bought property. I always stayed in Seaview and one of the main draws for me was the access to the beach through the dune grass and the vista unmarred by development. I would not have come if the area was developed and I will not stay if it is.
On occasion, public processes are allowed to be set in motion without sufficient research on impact or transparency to the community. When that occurs, the appropriate and accountable action is to redo the process in the correct manner. If decisions were made to the detriment of the public good rezoning and permits, then it is the government's role to own the mistakes and make restitution to individual property owners but certainly not to go forward on the basis of decisions that are not in the best interests of the community as a whole.
The economy of the Peninsula is improving thanks to diligent and strategic actions to highlight and build upon the area's natural assets. It is a uniquely beautiful area, one which residents and visitors alike highly value.
The Peninsula has a unique niche in the state and in the region. The preservation of the dunes and the sense of welcoming that comes from the lack of individual "claiming" of the incredible expanse of beach and wildlife from Beards Hollow down past the Seaview access and to Long Beach are big parts of that unique niche. We will devolve from being that welcoming community if large swatches of land along the ocean are allowed to be developed.
Seaview and Seattle