Gateway: Opinion

Letters to the Editor, Aug. 4

Controversy over proposed pier on southwest shore of Fox Island

The southwest shoreline of Fox Island is a five-mile stretch of pristine beach, thanks to the current Conservancy shoreline designation which has been in place since 1974. The public currently has free access to this beach and enjoys unobstructed use.

Eric and Kendra Niesz are proposing to construct a 150-foot pier on this stretch of pristine beach. The project requires a shoreline substantial use permit from Pierce County.

Approximately 75 Fox Island residents attended the Gig Harbor Peninsula Public Advisory Commission hearing on April 13. Residents are concerned that granting the pier will result in construction of several more piers, forever changing the natural character of the beach.

The GHPAC voted to deny the Niesz application since the pier is not consistent with the current Conservancy shoreline designation.

Pierce County is currently updating its Shoreline Master Program. The proposed updates would change the designation of several sections of the southwest beach to residential, allowing construction of countless piers and docks.

The Washington Department of Ecology is currently reviewing the Pierce County Shoreline Master Program updates.

Fox Island residents have provided public comment on the proposed updates stating that the county didn’t comply with public notice requirements and the planned changes to residential shoreline zoning will not result sin a “no net loss” determination requiring the county to reassess its updated plan.

Jim Kelly, Fox Island