Dredging up ill feelings

The Driftwood Key Club’s $800,000 proposal to remove sediment from Coon Bay has been in the works for years. As it apparently nears its start — according to some — the project to dredge up 29,000 cubic yards of the bay is again causing a rift in the tiny Hansville community. And not one that will likely be bridged soon.

Anytime neighbors are pitted against neighbors, no one wins. Dredging as planned and hoped (by some), will be funded on the backs of all DKC members to ensure those who own larger boats have improved access from the marina to Hood Canal. That’s the crux of it, because residents who have smaller vessels — or none at all — aren’t having much trouble navigating through the bay.

It may seem to be the classic Golden Rule, i.e. “He who has the gold, makes the rules.” Big yachts don’t come cheap but you don’t get rich shouldering such pricey projects as bay dredging, either. Why not spread the financial loss around a bit?

So is the DKC being overrun by elitist snobs who don’t have the cash to move to “the Island,” but have the bucks to get their way in Hansville? Opponents of the dredge would have you believe this, and will argue that if this project proceeds, they’re getting the short end of the fiscal stick. And maybe they are.

But then again, who’s going drop $500,000 to $1 million for a Driftwood Key home when the amenities read “… beach access, clubhouse, pool, marina (for boats under 15-feet only)” after all? The Key, while a somewhat private community, is experiencing the same growing pains as the rest of North Kitsap and as the housing market cools, things like the ability to navigate a 25-foot cruiser through the bay don’t exactly hurt resale values.

Not selling? Like living in DK? Well, the county assessor’s office doesn’t seem to mind adding tens of thousands of dollars to your annual property valuation statements so why should the board elected to run your club blink at charging $150 or so more in homeowners’ dues? They are elected, right? And as such can be ousted, provided DKC members agreed with this sentiment, pay their annual dues and “earn” the right to vote the current board out of office. Then again, much like motorists driving along Hood Canal Drive, this dredging project didn’t exactly sneak up on anyone. It’s been in one stage or another for years. It’s also been fought for years, but if the rub with the DKC is so bad, why did has the project gotten so far?

As stated earlier, whether the dredging sails forward or runs onto the rocks, the neighborhood atmosphere of the Key could take some time to mend in dry-dock.