May 31, 2014, North Kitsap Herald
Contention over how Kingston Adventures operates at the Port of Kingston resulted in a notice for the business to vacate.
The Port of Kingston issued Kingston Adventures a 30-day notice to vacate its eight kayak storage racks “due to ongoing violations of [its] kayak storage agreement and [Kingston Adventures’] refusal to enter into a commercial agreement governing its commercial use of the Port’s public facilities.”
Kingston Adventures has refused to sign a commercial use agreement with the port, according to a letter from Port Manager David Malone. The port requires an agreement from all commercial tenants, which is adjusted based on a tenant’s business. A use agreement requires tenants using the port’s facilities for commercial gain to provide insurance coverage, hold the port harmless of any injury or damage done on port property, and comply with rules and regulations.
Kingston Adventures owner Beth Brewster said the dispute is about more than paperwork.
“The port is evicting the last [female-owned] business on port property,” she said. “There is no other way to look at it … That is the truth.”
The eviction notice follows months of discussion between the port and the business. It began when the port moved a 220-square-foot float that was being used by Kingston Adventures, which has an upland location on West Kingston Road.
The float is owned by the City of Poulsbo Parks and Recreation Department; the department uses it for its sailing program in Kingston.
The float was moved in 2012 near the small watercraft facility, which the port rents out to anyone who wants to store watercraft such as kayaks.
According to Brewster and her lawyer, Dennis McGlothin, the float was then rented to Kingston Adventures for two years and business grew as a result of the float’s availability. The port claims the float was never rented to her.
According to the port, the float was moved near the kayak storage facility so it could be refurbished. The work was done by the port, not the city, because the work required an overwater maintenance permit, according to Port Commissioner Walt Elliott.
Poulsbo Parks and Recreation plans to resume its sailing program this year, according to Parks Director Mary McCluskey.
Poulsbo’s Parks and Rec recently agreed to let Brewster operate from the relocated float, according to the port. That offer was not accepted — it would require Kingston Adventures to work around the sailing program’s schedule.
An offer to rent a moorage site adjacent to the kayak facility was made to Kingston Adventures, at a cost of about $150 per month during the business’ main operating season, according to the port. That was rejected, too, according to the letter from Malone.
According to Malone’s letter, Kingston Adventures is operating from the kayak storage facility, which is a violation of the storage agreement. In section 6 of the lease agreement obtained by the Kingston Community News, and signed by Brewster and her husband Rob, “the lessee shall not assign or transfer this Agreement or any interests therein, or use it for any commercial purpose, without the prior written permission of the Port.”
The business is also operating without a commercial use agreement, according to the port.
The most recent use agreement between the business and the port was signed Jan. 26, 2011. The agreement was valid for 12 months and OKd by the commissioners at the time.
The new commercial use agreement Brewster was given is “filled with restrictions,” she said. The old one was six pages; the new one is 13 pages, she said. Brewster was given the new lease on April 22 and told she could take as long as she needed to review it, she said. She paid rent through May, she said.
Brewster said she is allowed to store her equipment in the small watercraft facility through June, but if she operates her business from it, she will be fined, she said.
“I am the victim here,” she said. “They’re pushing out the last female-run business on port property.”
Elliott disagrees. He said Kingston Adventures cannot operate from the small watercraft storage facility, and cannot operate at the marina without a use agreement.
“If a building inspector says you’ve got a problem, you can’t say, ‘Well, I’ve been doing it for years,’ ” he said.