Comment to Planners: Regulatory Capture

I have lived here since 2013. In those ten years, I have seen acres of forest, and the wildlife they support, disappear. I am afraid overdevelopment is eradicating the natural beauty that brought me to Kitsap. I think this is happening because the regulatory bodies that are supposed to control growth and protect the environment instead act on the premise that any and all development, anywhere, should happen, if at all possible. The planning and permitting process seems aimed at maximizing building and minimizing mitigation.

Political scientists speak of a phenomenon they call “regulatory capture.” This occurs when a regulator is co-opted to prioritize the interests of a minor constituency, such as large landowners and developers, over those of society at large. The benefits flow to the special interest, the costs are borne by the rest of us.

If we cannot liberate our regulatory agencies from the grip of overdevelopment, I fear Kitsap will become a sprawling suburb.

This can be avoided if we develop a Plan and permitting process that prioritizes and begins with the interests of the natural world and weighs proposals for development against those interests.

Preserving what we have should always be the priority.

Thank you.

Russell, Kitsap County