Boston Harbor Association

August 1, 2004 NEWSLETTER Volume VIII

Open Space in Boston Harbor

Your Help Is Needed: Are you interested in learning more about Open Space in the Boston Harbor Community and helping shape a Community Open Space Action Plan? You’re needed! BHA is looking for interested individuals to volunteer to serve on an adhoc Open Space Committee. Turn your interest in our community into action.

Background: There is approximately 50 acres of undeveloped land in the greater Boston Harbor area that lies mainly outside the ULID Boundary, but within the Boston Harbor Plat. This land represents around a quarter of the total land area within the Boston Harbor Plat. The land is held by private individuals and Thurston County Parks. The continued existence of undeveloped lands within our community represents a unique opportunity.

Community Character: The Boston Harbor community is a delightful place to live and play. Along with the mountain vistas of the Olympics to our west, we have Budd Inlet at our door step containing a busy and vital marina. Equally important, but often unnoticed, is the abundance of native vegetation that surrounds us. Both roads leading into Boston Harbor are still enveloped in the soft green of maples, firs and brush. Though our yards boast a variety of ornamentals, that next door vacant lot is often home to a wide variety of northwest plants. It is these corridors of green and islands of native plants that helps form the dominate native vegetative landscape that characterizes our community. These same trees and bushes provide a variety of uses: habitat for a wide variety of wild birds and animals; sheltering the community from strong southerly winds during Fall storms; intercepting the rain, allowing it to gently flow off the land through the associated wetlands and recharging our well system with clear, clean water for our domestic use.

Lands Unprotected: These lands are not protected from development. Although there are a number of acres of officially declared wetlands in the area, they may be developed if the soils will “perk” allowing for septic tanks outside our Utilities Boundary. Park-owned land near Burfoot Park may be protected by incorporation into the existing park, however several acres lie north of Boston Harbor Road and may not be suitable for inclusion into the existing park.

Need for Action: These lands can only be preserved as open space by actions on the part of the County and private individuals. These actions range from (1) designation of the lands owned by the County as protected open space, (2) open space easements for local private land owners , (3) Possible reduction in property taxes due to open space designation, (4) gift of lands to a charitable trust allowing for a reduction in personal income taxes and (5) using County funds designated for open space acquisition (or other similar funds) to purchase property outright. However the County won’t act without a formal expression of interest by the community.

Community Support: There is no official statement by the community about whether the preservation of Open Space within Boston Harbor is desired. An informal local survey in the spring of 2001 suggested that 94% of the home owners in the area would support maintaining open space. However this statement of support has not been translated into action.

Proposed Action Program: The Boston Harbor Association will facilitate the formation of an adhoc Open Space Committee of the Association. This Committee would work with the Boston Harbor Community on several major open space issues: (1) Determining if there really is a consensus within the Boston Harbor Community on dealing with open space, (2) what uses should be encouraged on such lands, and (3) what actions should be taken to implement a community vision for such lands.

The first meeting will be in early October 2004 at the Fire hall. The number of future meetings depends entirely on the desires of the committee members. Please volunteer. Send your name by e-mail to dwjamison@comcast.net or sign up at the Fall Picnic.

Fall Picnic

The Fall Picnic will be September 19, 2004 beginning at 3 pm at the Marina. Volunteers and BBQs needed. Contact Pam McHugh at 357-5670.

Music on the Dock
August 15 and 29, 2 to 4 pm at Marina