To the editor:
A grove of mature evergreens in the heart of downtown Kingston stand as a breathtaking landmark, viewable by ferry riders. The 150-foot-tall sentinels overlook the Village Green and serve as roosts for our local osprey pair. They also happen to enjoy robust legal protection under the Kingston Design Standard.
Despite requests by local residents to abide by the design standard, Jeff Rimack, director of the Kitsap Department of Community Development, is on the verge of allowing the destruction of the treasured, legally protected grove. Sadly, this is not the first time something like this has happened. A few years ago, DCD greenlighted the removal of eight acres of trees in Kingston to make way for the ill-fated Seaside/Cove condominium complex.
Had DCD adhered to the Kingston Design Standard, the stark visual impact of this now long-stalled development might have been softened by buffers of native trees — along Lindvog Road as well as along the backyard boundary lines of homeowners who live on Barrett Street NE.
Email threads between Rimack and County Commissioner Christine Rolfes (obtained via public disclosure requests) show Rimack has mischaracterized local residents’ concerns about retaining the evergreen grove. He has also misapplied county code to assert that the trees pose a public hazard.
It is my sincere hope that Rolfes sees fit to meet with her Kingston constituents and give due consideration to their side of the story. It’s the right thing to do.
Byron V. Acohido