Manette Residents Skeptical About Planning

Waldorf: You know, the opening is catchy.
Statler: So is smallpox.

The Manette Senior Center didn’t have enough chairs Wednesday to accommodate all the people who turned out.

The crowd came for a meeting, not a Death Cab For Cutie concert.

The meeting intended to share and gather public input on the Manette Sub-Area plan, a 20-year road map for development in one of Bremerton’s most scenic and close-knit neighborhoods, called for by the city’s 2004 comprehensive plan.

But like the ads for monster truck shows say, the crowd didn’t need the whole seat, just the edge.

Estimates ranged from 120 to 220. It was packed, and it wasn’t a passive crowd, and it wasn’t a crowd in the mood to listen to presenters from Makers Architecture. It was a crowd skeptical and vocal, unafraid to interrupt with a question or a smart allecky remark.

“Is it redevelopment or improvement?” asked Colin Morrison.

“It’s up to you,” responded Manette City Councilman Adam Brockus, in some of the spontaneous and unscheduled give and take.

The more vocal attendees expressed concern that their views would be blocked by development, namely, five-story mixed use buildings like those across the Port Washington Narrows. Presenters said they heard them loud and clear, and most alternatives up for discussion did not include raising the height restriction from 35 feet.

Many in the crowd didn’t believe it.

“What you’re saying is you are going to lose your view,” said one man in the audience.

There were several who pleaded for silence, to let the presenters talk. The city is paying Makers Architecture $50,000 to complete the plan, not including city staff time.

There was also talk about how to configure the streets for when the Manette Bridge is rebuilt by the state Department of Transportation.

Some said the city has already planned for that. One option for incoming and outgoing bridge traffic is a roundabout, an alternative to a traffic signal. Some doubted there would be enough room to construct a roundabout without taking more land.

John Owen, of Makers, was one of the presenters who struggled to talk above the crowd, which appeared to lose interest half-way into the meeting and in addition to shouting out questions started talking amongst themselves.

He said there would be chances for further public input, and further revisions.

“If you don’t like it you can throw at us whatever fruit you have on your person,” he said.

Owen showed a photo of a house with a “Save Manette” sign in front, one of many blue campaign signs popping up all over the east Bremerton enclave.

Owen said he wanted one of the signs for himself.

Jane Rebelowski, a Manette resident who has helped organize neighbors against what they see as an overture to developers, said she would sell Owen one of the signs.

The city will hold a “stakeholder” meeting Thursday, and another public meeting will be held in October.

“I knew this was going to happen,” Brockus said after the meeting, noting Manette’s reputation as one of the most engaged areas of the city.

For more information on the sub-area planning process, click here for the city’s page.

And stay tuned for more Manette planning fun from your friends at the Kitsap Sun!

7 thoughts on “Manette Residents Skeptical About Planning

  1. Well, I hoping this got in the dead wood edition, but you can’t have it all.

    Back in February when we were interviewing architects, I got the sense they didn’t believe Manette Citizens were so active in planning. Well, now they do, but I will say that just about everyone handled it well in a packed and hot room.

    I’m nickaniming the meeting the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch, because the Monty Python relates to what I heard in the room about the number of stories to be allowed.

    “And the Lord spake, saying, “First shalt thou take out the Holy Pin, then shalt thou count to three, no more, no less. Three shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, neither count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out. Once the number three, being the third number, be reached, then lobbest thou thy Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch towards thy foe.” (1)

    To the all of the folks who came, thank you for your paticipation and your comments. They will be compiled and the results available to both the city and the architects. And the community concensus will be borne out in the 3rd and Final Workshop in October. I hope to see all of you there, and FIVE IS RIGHT OUT!

    (1) John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin, “Monty Python and the Holy Grail: The Screenplay”, page 76, Methuen, 2003 (U.K.) ISBN 0-413-77394-9

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  3. Go fellow neightbors! Rather than the Monty Python reference, I see this as more of “I love you, you’re perfect, now change” scenario. Manette is fine. Re-direct the Manette sub-area planning resources to Wheaton Way or Anderson Cove.

  4. Its unfortunate that the citizens do not want to see any improvements – from the tone of this blog it appears as though people didn’t even know what was going on – do they realize that the city staff and elected officials are trying to preserve the ‘charm’ of manette by not allowing ugly, dense, large block style apartments in there core area. (ie. bremerton gardens), wiht the current zoning of manette right now – bremerton gardens could grow — as gardens most often do…

    Perhaps without regulation and a good strong crossing of the fingers manette will survive. It sure is doubtful without a legally binding document supporting the neighborhood.

  5. The \charming\ proposals I heard at the consultants directed \developers forum\ do not suggest that the city or out of town real estate speculators even understand what or where the Manette community is! Urbanhiker if you attended any of the \stakeholders\ meetings please share your true name. I was there, heard what the City’s consultants discussed (we resident \stakeholders were told via e-mail we could only observe meeting) Too bad the city decided to use their budget on consultants and not on informing Manette residents that these meetings were taking place! The only developer that discussed logical proposals for mixed use was the only local developer who attended.

  6. The misconception in this whole thing is that the REAL stakeholders in all this, the property and business owners in Manette don’t wish to see change in the community.

    What the citizens of Manette would like to see are improvements such as paving of the streets, filling of pot holes, conservation of the present charm and architectural integrity of the area. Not the sanitary and bland looking mixed residential/commercial style buildings. Or eating up space for a roundabout which serves no purpose that a stop light wouldn’t do. Leave the people from Bellevue and Seattle out of our business and lets profit the local expertise. Lets get some people in council that do more than come to witness the show.

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