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Kitsap LID Leader Goes the Distance: Art Castle Interview

CASTLE_PHOTOweb EDITOR: For the past three years, we’ve been working together on an ambitious project to develop and implement LID Standards in Kitsap County and the four cities within the County. You’ve been doing a fabulous job taking the document we developed out to the jurisdictions for adoption, and now, with Port Orchard’s adoption, all five have done so. It’s been quite a marathon. Do you think it was worth it, and what’s the most exciting aspect of completing this project? ART: There were some challenges. As you know, I had a very aggressive timeline in mind when we started. So I’m glad we are finally here with this last piece of the puzzle falling into place. It was a lot of work. But, yes, it was worth it. Probably one of the most gratifying aspects of the project was the change we were able to accomplish in terms of getting the five jurisdictions to work together on an issue like this. That’s never happened before.

How did you accomplish that? We had an Ecology grant that provided funding for the project. One of the first things we did was put together a working leadership team that was highly representative. We had stakeholders from both the public and private sectors – City and County planners and engineers, representatives from the Port of Bremerton, Suquamish Tribe, the fire districts, the local health district, Ecology, Puget Sound Partnership, private engineering firms and development companies – basically everyone and anyone who could influence the cost-effective success of LID implementation. We also had an Executive Committee of elected and other officials who could influence the success of adoption of the LID Implementation Guidance Document we intended to develop. This laid the groundwork for acceptance down the road — which we were able to accomplish.

So it was just a matter of getting the right people together? Oh no, it wasn’t as simple as that, although having the right people at the table is a huge part of making a project like this work. O’Brien & Company facilitated team meetings and conducted a series of workshops on key technical topics so the team could make informed decisions. (Ed. Note: Thanks, Art!) Then you created a document that reflected those decisions. That’s the document that was adopted.

What else excites you about the project? People thought I was crazy to dream this big. NOT! In addition to getting all five jurisdictions on board for a substantive issue like LID (heretofore unheard of) we ended up developing some great tools. In addition to the document itself, as part of the project, Herrera created a BMP sizing calculator specifically for Kitsap County, and O’Brien & Company conducted a video-taped workshop that we now can play on our website. So this project has a long shelf life. I’m gratified by that.

You mentioned the time challenge, can you say more?Well, you know I wanted the project to be completed sooner, and I do remember you cautioning me that a complex project like this would take longer. Life intervened. (Ed. Note: chuckle) And I have to admit that extra time allowed us to integrate some aspects in the document, such as the sizing calculator mentioned above, and the State’s change in rainwater catchment policy. We couldn’t have done that if we’d met my original timeline. It’s a better product in many ways. And the fact that it’s actually been adopted means it will be used. That means a lot to me.

Do you have any advice for others considering a project like this? First, have a clear vision in mind. My goal from the beginning was to have all five jurisdictions in agreement on what we developed through the project. Second, know the political landscape — who do you need on board? And get them to the table. Third, provide ample opportunity for education and collaborative leadership. Fourth, be pragmatic. Don’t throw the whole thing under the bus if you can’t get exactly what you want. Fifth, and finally, build trust and respect diverse opinions. The result will be common ground.

Thanks Art, It’s clear you deserve the respect of many for this effort. I’m happy to have worked with you on this project!

Art is the Executive Vice President of the Kitsap Home Builders Foundation and was the grant manager for the Washington State Department of Ecology grant that funded the Kitsap LID Standards Implementation project. In August, 2009 he was the cover story for the Kitsap Business Journal, who pronounced him a “LID Leader.” He’s now serving on a statewide LID Standards Implementation Committee sponsored by Ecology. For more information about the project, see www.kitsaphba.org

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