PORT TOWNSEND — The sound of a steady drumbeat was heard outside the Jefferson County Courthouse on Monday prior to the start of the Jefferson County commissioners’ meeting.
Drummer Lys Burden and Julia Cochrane, both of Port Townsend, and Barbara Moore-Lewis of Snohomish County, all representing the Brinnon Group, were holding a vigil to bring attention to the Pleasant Harbor Master Planned Resort decisions made by the commissioners last year.
The group is suing Jefferson County over the 265-acre Black Point Peninsula development 2 miles south of Brinnon.
On Dec. 18-19, 2018, the group appealed the county’s approval of the resort to both the Growth Management Hearings Board and Kitsap County Superior Court.
Last August, Kitsap County Superior Court Judge Sally Olson ruled that any appeals of the Jefferson County decisions should be heard as two different appeals to two different entities.
“The decisions in the last six months have been against the tribe’s people, the land and the water,” said Cochrane. “There is no respect in this county government for that. We have been to so many meetings and testified and nothing happens.”
During the public comment portion of the commissioners’ agenda, Burden said the Brinnon Group was “objecting to a lot of your decisions that you’ve made in the last year.”
“We’re very sad we are going to be losing the sacred Kettles if the plan proceeds,” she said.
The Kettles are three unique ponds formed by retreating glaciers which are of cultural significance to area tribes. Under the development plan, the developer would work with the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe, which has land nearby, to preserve one of the Kettles and arrive at a management plan.
According to the development plan, one of the Kettles would be preserved and the other two could be used for stormwater storage.
Part of the Pleasant Harbor Master Planned Resort plan also includes the development of a nine-hole golf course.
Cochrane explained that golf courses are failing and submitted several articles supporting her suspicions to the commissioners.
One referenced a Wall Street Journal report claiming that “golf is declining as a past-time” and “many homeowners face declining property values and are saddled with heavy membership dues they can no longer afford.”
An overview prepared by the Brinnon Group states that “studies show that Master Planned Resorts (MPR) fail more often than they succeed” and that “the Washington state Guidance on Master Planned Resorts estimates that only 1 of 10 MPR are successful. MPR that fail have been costly for counties and county taxpayers.”
“I’m here as a voice for the Kettles,” Cochrane said. “We’ve been given this incredible gift from nature and God and we should be respecting it.”
Cochrane said the group has plans to keep the Kettles and the sacred site in the public’s awareness.
“Every fourth Monday of every month we’ll be out here until the policies change.
“And there will be more of us. This is only the beginning.”
Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Jeannie McMacken can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at [email protected].