Kitsap Caucus

A blog about politics and government in Kitsap County as well as Washington state political news as it relates to Kitsap County.
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County Official Contemplates “Land Use Court”

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

To put this post in perspective, I had a casual conversation the other day with Larry Keeton, director of Kitsap County’s Department of Community Development. Usually, when I interview Keeton, I’m peppering him with questions related to sticky land use issues. But on Monday, I was there on other business, and Keeton was in a chatty mood.

He happened to mention a random (or maybe not so random) idea he has, i.e. that there ought to be a land use court. Just as there’s a separate court for bankruptcy, Keeton said, there should be a court in which judges are versed in the intricacies of land use.

As someone who has at times struggled to understand land use documents and rules, I can attest to the fact its a complicated field, especially if you don’t deal with it routinely. Most of the stories involving land use at the Kitsap Sun end up on the desk of our environmental reporter Chris Dunagan. But every now and then one comes my way. Most recently I wrote about the controversial Woods View development in South Kitsap. Dunagan followed up with a story about tighter controls on sewer systems in rural areas that resulted in part from Woods View.

The legal entity that owns Woods View is suing Kitsap County on behalf of the former owner, who has declared bankruptcy. County officials won’t comment on the case, which revolves in part around an on-site sewage system proposed for the stalled development.

Keeton was going to pitch the idea of a land use court to fellow planners from around the region Wednesday. He’d be willing to shepherd the idea along but hasn’t got the time right now. Maybe it will be a project for retirement, he said.


Heads Up: On The Agenda

Monday, June 14th, 2010

Brynn Grimley writes:

Here’s the what’s happening in Kitsap politics this week:

Kitsap County Board of Commissioners (meet at 619 Division Street)

Meeting dates:

Monday, June 14: 2 p.m. The board will meet for an hour with Tom McBride to discuss its 2011 legislative objectives. At 3:05 the board will recess into closed session for an hour, followed by two executive sessions to discuss potential litigation. Adjournment will follow around 4:35 p.m.

Monday, June 14: 7 p.m. The board’s regular business meeting has the following public hearing items on the agenda: A resolution authorizing the county treasurer to sell used, surplus equipment; an ordinance to repeal the Rural Wooded Incentive Program and Kitsap County Code Section 17.301.080 in its entirety; an ordinance developing regulations for the application of community sewage disposal systems and large on-site sewage systems in rural Kitsap County; an ordinance regarding the re-establishment of the Planning Commission; a resolution updating the rules rules of procedure for the Planning Commission.

Wednesday, June 16: 8:30 a.m. The board will hear a natural resources update that will take just shy of an hour, a wastewater infrastructure
task force presentation will follow and take an hour. After a five minute break there will be a wastewater facility plan update, also slated to last an hour. The board will then recess into executive session from 11:30 a.m. to noon to discuss real estate issues.

City of Bremerton (meet at 345 6th Street, Norm Dicks Government Center)

Meeting dates:

Wednesday, June 9: 5 p.m. The City Council will start with a 30 minute briefing upstairs before heading to council chambers for the regular meeting at 5:30 p.m. The agenda includes acceptance of a Department of Commerce Energy Efficiency Conservation block grant for lighting and window upgrades at five city facilities; discussion of an ordinance to amend “disabled parking” under the city’s municipal code; and another ordinance dealing with “separate general business license required” withing the city code. The Council will recess into executive session for 20 minutes to discuss “potential litigation” and “pending litigation.”

City of Port Orchard (meet at 219 Prospect Street)

Meeting dates:

Tuesday, June 15: 7 p.m. The Port Orchard City Council will meet for a work study to discuss a developer’s agreement with Gem 1 LLC, in charge of McCormick Woods development; sewer rates; the Bay Street Pedestrian Pathway; designated parking permits for law firms of Dwight Street; Business and Professional District revisions; and more. Also, Mary McClure of the Kitsap Regional Coordinating Council will present on non-motorized transportation.

City of Poulsbo (meet at 19050 Jensen Way)

Meeting dates:

Wednesday, June 16: 7 p.m. The City Council will decide on a resolution for ALEA grant funding; hear a presentation on the Liberty Bay Restoration Project; a presentation on pet waste and the Mutt Mitt program; and a presentation from Mary McClure from the Kitsap Regional Coordinating Council on trails.

Kitsap County Consolidated Housing Authority

Meeting dates:

Tuesday, June 15: 8 a.m. KCCHA is calling a special meeting to discuss legal matters. It will include an executive session to discuss litigation.

Now here’s the test: How many of you really read all of these agendas? Notice anything? I’m not trying to connect the dots for anyone here, but three of our government agencies have called executive sessions this week to discuss “litigation.” If you’ll notice, the three recessing into executive session also happen to have a possible lawsuit floating between them. Hmmm…stay tuned.


Notes on the Coppola DUI Case

Thursday, June 10th, 2010

Readers commenting on today’s story about Lary Coppola’s court appearance Thursday in Pierce County District Court on DUI charges had questions I will attempt to address, having spoken with DUI defense attorney Linda Callahan.

Callahan has offices in Seattle, Shelton and other Puget Sound locations, and she is the author of the Washington DUI Practice Manual, a tome that is updated annually and referenced by defense attorneys, prosecutors and judges.

Callahan, obviously, could not comment on Coppola’s case specifically. Her responses were to my questions about DUI law in general and a “hypothetical case” (my quote marks).

Mojo7 asked, “Had the police officer actually SEEN him DRIVING or had he just been walking outside his parked car?”

As reporter Josh Farley wrote on May 3, “Shortly after 1:30 a.m., officers found Coppola seated in a silver Mini Cooper, according to Port Orchard police reports.”

The underlying question seems to be, “Is it a crime to be sitting in one’s car in an intoxicated condition?”

“It depends. It can be,” said Clallahan, spoken like a true attorney. “It depends on whether a person is in actual physical control of the car.”

Questions attorneys on both sides might ask to prove or refute the question of control: was there a witness? Was the car running? Was the transmission engaged? And so on.

On one point Clallahan was clear: simply the fact of being in one’s driveway does not put you in the clear of being charged with DUI. Conceivably, she said, one could have attended a party, had a few drinks, driven home without incident, realized one forgot one’s cell phone in the car, went to fetch it, the law pulls up for whatever reason, and, depending on other circumstances and evidence, one could be charged with DUI.

Several people, commenting on the story, suggested Coppola was getting off easy, despite repeated protests he expected no special treatment as a public official.

To recap, the hypothetical defendant I described to Callahan has no criminal history or prior driving offenses.

The defendant pleaded not guilty to the DUI charge but agreed to a “pretrial diversion,” which is an agreement between the prosecutor and the defendant.

Under conditions of the diversion, the defendant agreed:
1. To undergo a chemical dependency evaluation, attend a drug and alcohol information class and listen to a DUI victims’ panel.
2. He must pay $866 in court costs, a $200 bench probation fee and $150 to the Washington State Patrol for its emergency response the night of the incident.
3. The defendant is to remain clear of any violations for two years, at which time the charge will be reduced to first-degree negligent driving (that’s why he’s not pleading guilty to the DUI).
4. The judge did not require the defendant to have an interlock device on his car.
5. His not prohibited from drinking, but the judge advised the defendant to “be very careful about any use of alcohol.”

In a case like this, Callahan said, “That is a standard disposition. That is not a special case scenario.”

Clallahan specifically remarked on the standard-ness of a couple aspects of the judge’s ruling, including the diversion itself for a first-time offender and the lack of an interlock requirement.

The hypothetical defendant, as court records showed, had already completed several terms of the diversion agreement, including the chemical dependency evaluation. If the evaluation had shown the subject was an alcoholic or had a problem with alcohol, an interlock device unquestionably would have been required, Callahan said.

As for condition 5, allowing for reasonable alcohol consumption, Callahan said that, too, was typical in a hypothetical case like this. The prosecutor would have been able to review results of the drug and alcohol evaluation before refraining from adding a total prohibition on consumption. If the assessment of a defendant shows they have a problem with alcohol, such a prohibition is a given, Callahan said.

On a final note, the diversion is an agreement between the prosecutor and the defendant; it is the judge’s role to accept or reject it.

Chris Henry, reporter


Candidate Update

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

In Tuesday’s story you’ll find that the complaint against Doug Richards for having a fire helmet in campaign ads appears to be a done issue. County Democrats filed the complaint, arguing that Richards’ South Kitsap Fire & Rescue helmet qualifies as a “public facility” under state law, and candidates can’t use public facilities in their ads. The state rule, however, states if the candidate owns the piece disputed, then it’s usable in an ad. Richards said he owns his helmet.

Jay Inslee, Democratic U.S. congressman from Bainbridge Island, is expected to have two Republican opponents. So far, however, only David Schirle has filed to run against him. He lists himself as an independent. Assuming he’s the same David Schirle, he ran as a member of the Patriot Party in 1994 for U.S. Senate, a party partly spawned by Ross Perot’s bid for the presidency. Schirle didn’t expect to win then, and he didn’t. Schirle is inviting people to local Starbucks to meet him. He’ll be at the ones on Bainbridge Island and Poulsbo on June 23..

Running against Democrat Tim Sheldon in the 35th District Senate race is someone we’ve mentioned before, but now she’s got a nickname. Nancy “Grandma” Williams is running as a Republican.

The Washington Secretary of State’s office posts updated candidate information here.


Heads Up: On the Agenda

Monday, June 7th, 2010

Brynn Grimley writes:

Here’s what your local elected officials are set to discuss this week:

Kitsap County Board of Commissioners (meet at 619 Division Street)

Meeting dates:

Monday, June 7:

10:00 a.m. Board information sharing will consume 1.5 hours of the meeting. That will be followed by 30 minutes of reviewing calendars and agendas.

2 p.m. There will be a 30 minute update on resource conservation, then a 10 minute presentation on the Sheriff grant approval request. At 2:45 p.m. the board will recess into a 2 hour closed session to discuss collective bargaining.

Wednesday, June 9: 8:30 a.m. The board will begin the meeting by reviewing the agenda for its June 14 public meeting, it will then spend 45 minutes sharing information. After a five minute break the board will hear about the Risk Management budget and work plan for an hour and then recess into executive session from 11:30 a.m. to noon to discuss real estate matters.

City of Bremerton (meet at 345 6th Street, Norm Dicks Government Center)

Meeting dates:

Wednesday, June 9: 5 p.m. The City Council will start its study session with a presentation about a Department of Commerce Energy Efficiency Conservation block grant for lighting and window upgrades at five city facilities. Discussion items include an ordinance to amend “disabled parking” under the city’s municipal code; another ordinance dealing with “separate general business license required” withing the city code and lastly a proposed ordinance to create a new chapter in the city code that deals with “rental license and inspection.”

City of Port Orchard (meet at 219 Prospect Street)

Meeting dates:

Tuesday, June 8: 7 p.m. The city council will hold its regular business meeting, starting with comment from citizens. The public hearing section of the meeting will be on a Byrne Justice Assistance Grant for Evidence Management System; business items include approval of a change order dealing with the contract with Berger/Abam Engineers, Inc., regarding the Tremont widening project. Council committee reports will be heard, Mayor Lary Coppola will give a report and then department directors will give their reports which will include an update on annexations and the Tremont widening.

City of Poulsbo (meet at 19050 Jensen Way)

The weekly meeting has been canceled because of a lack of agenda items.

And that’s all I’ve received for the week.


Attention Port of Illahee Tax Payers: Meeting Tonight

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

Brynn Grimley writes:

Time to clear the three-day weekend cobwebs from the brain, the work week has started again.

For those of you who read the story I wrote May 18 about the Port of Illahee having the option to buy 15 acres of land from local developer Jim James, you may want to attend a meeting tonight that the port commissioners are hosting. (Especially if my story resulted in more questions than answers).

The details of how the Port of Illahee wound up in this position — with the option to stop a 110 single family home development from going into Illahee — is complicated. I explained it (for the most part) here, and recommend you read the story for background that I won’t go into.

One thing not included in the story is this:

If the port were to buy the land, it wouldn’t keep it. Instead commissioners would likely look to sell it with the intent that homes would be built. But the number of homes would be significantly less — instead of 110, the development would likely have somewhere around 30 homes because that’s what is allowed under current zoning (1-4 dwelling units/acre). The Timbers Edge development had higher density because when plans were submitted the zoning in place at the time allowed for more homes per acre.

If homes are developed, the port would make sure they are built using green practices and with the intent to reduce the impact to Illahee Creek (i.e. using rain gardens, septic systems, low density housing).

I’m guessing port commissioners will go into more detail about their plans for the land, and the financing side of the deal at the meeting tonight.

But to make it clear, the commissioners will not make any decisions until they hear from voters in the taxing district. If a majority of the people are against the purchase, the commissioners won’t support it, according to commissioner Dennis Sheeran.

The port has a larger goal of protecting Illahee’s natural systems through its habitat conservation plan. This plan will also be a part of the discussion at tonight’s meeting, along with information about the Illahee Community Club’s petition that they’re trying to get at least 1,000 people to sign. (The taxing district has roughly 2,000 registered voters, Sheeran estimated, and about 1,500 people voted in the presidential election in 2008. On average during non-presidential election years about 1,000 people vote, he guessed.)

So if you have questions for port commissioners, or you want to hear them explain the settlement option they’ve reached, I’d recommend attending the meeting. It starts at 5:30 p.m. at the Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue station 41 off Old Military Road. (If you can’t make tonight’s meeting, they’ve scheduled a second one for June 14, same place, same time.)


Will Brownsville Port Commissioners Make a Decision?

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

Brynn Grimley writes:

Tonight I’ll be attending a special meeting that was called by the Port of Brownsville commissioners. I was told the meeting was called to specifically discuss the vacant fire hall building they own and the possibility they could have an interested tenant.

It wasn’t that long ago that the commissioners voted in favor of the conversion of the building into a pub/small-scale brewery that the restaurateur hoped would become a happening gathering place. But alas the conflict between commissioners ultimately resulted in the business partners deciding they wanted to locate elsewhere.

I’ve only been covering this potential decision for a few months, but it’s been an ongoing discussion between the commissioners and the community for the last couple years. From where it stood at the end of 2009, two of the commissioners (Bob Kalmbach and Allen Miller) supported the transformation of the building into a brew pub, while the other commissioner (Jack Bailey) was vehemently against the idea.

I’m not sure where they stand on the latest proposal, to transform the building into a marine/kayak supply store. At an April meeting the commissioners didn’t say much about the idea because they hadn’t received an official proposal from the business owners. I wasn’t able to attend the May meeting, but followed up with Port Manager Jerry Rowland who said nothing was decided.

That’s why this special meeting has been called for tonight — for a discussion to take place. I know everyone is getting anxious to see something happen, including the commissioners — Miller said he’s pretty tired of seeing that building sit empty while the port pays for it.

Lets hope all goes well tonight and I return Wednesday with something to report on.


Heads Up: On The Agenda

Monday, May 24th, 2010

Brynn Grimley writes:

Here’s the agendas for the week of May 24:

Kitsap County Board of Commissioners (meet at 619 Division Street)

Meeting dates:

Monday, May 24: 2 p.m. After approval of minutes there will be a 30 minute update about resource conservation which will include the review and approval of key measurable goals for developing an Energy Efficiency & Conservation Plan for Kitsap County. This includes a status update on the Kitsap Green Jobs initiatives. From 2:35 to 4:05 p.m. the board will hear from Mark Abernathy about the risk management department’s budget and work plan (remember last week they heard from Information Services about that department’s budget). Then from 4:05 to 4:35 p.m. they’ll hear a budget update from Amber D’Amato and adjourn following.

Monday, May 24: 7 p.m. This is the board’s regular night meeting. After various appointments and recognitions and the approval of the consent agenda the board will vote on some of the following “big ticket” items: they’ll vote on two contracts for medical coverage of county employees, the first with Group Health Cooperative is estimated to have an approximate $5,402,208 impact to the General Fund under the 2010 budget. The second with Premera Blue Cross goes from Jan. 1, 2010 – Dec. 31, 2010, and is estimated to have an approximate $6,259,154 impact to the General Fund under the 2010 budget.

The agenda also calls for the approval of a resolution authorizing the sale of three condominium units from the Bremerton Harborside Condos. Total revenues before brokerage and other fees is listed at $894,000.

Lastly there are a series of items on the public hearing agenda for the night. They include:

  • Enacting an Ordinance amending Kitsap County Code Chapter 2.104 regarding Emergency Management.
  • Enacting an Ordinance reaffirming the Kitsap County Health District.
  • A Resolution temporarily closing Stottlemeyer Road NE at Dogfish Creek Middle Fork in North Kitsap for culvert replacement.
  • A decision only (no public testimony allowed) on an administrative land use appeal filed by Jackie W. Stanfill and the Citizens of Chico Creek Water Basin of the Hearing Examiner’s decision to grant a Conditional Use Permit application for the Ueland Tree Farm Mineral Resource Development, as well as an appeal of the Hearing Examiner’s decision to deny an appeal of the adequacy of the Environmental Impact Statement for that project pursuant to the State Environmental Policy (SEPA).
  • A public hearing to consider nine current use open space and timber use applications.

The meeting will adjourn following this hearing.

Wednesday, May 26: 8:30 a.m. The board will approve minutes then review for 30 minutes “Westbury Section 108″ (I assume this relates to the Westbury business that wanted to move into North Kitsap just outside of Poulsbo, that was awarded Section 108 monies with conditions. Here’s a recent story I wrote on where everything stands between the county and company executives). The board will spend 30 minutes on “Boards Agenda Briefing” which I’m not quite sure what that means and the link didn’t work for me to try and figure it out. The next hour starting at 9:35 a.m. will be dedicated to the Public Facilities Financing Options/Debt Policy (this was on the agenda last week, then got bumped to this week. They could make a decision on the funding at this meeting. Here’s the last story I wrote on this topic). After a five minute break the board will spend almost an hour on information sharing, before recessing into executive session until noon to discuss real estate matters.

City of Bremerton (meet at 345 6th Street, Norm Dicks Government Center)

Meeting dates:

Wednesday, May 26: 5 p.m. The City Council will hold a study session. The following items are on the discussion agenda: proposed public hearing to hear Local Solicitation 2010 Justice Assistance grant application; proposed resolution in support of the Belfair Bypass Project; approve parking enforcement service contract with Diamond Parking LCC; proposed public hearing and ordinance to amend Chapter 17.04 titled “State Building Code Adoption” of Bremerton Municipal Code, to repeal the adoption of the Washington State Ventilation and Indoor Air Quality Code and to adopt the 2009 editions of the various building codes; proposed public hearing and ordinance to amend Title 18 titled “City Fire Code” of the Bremerton Municipal Code and to adopt the 2009 changes to the International Fire Code; contract award for construction of the Lions Park renovation project; update on the Evergreen Rotary Park expansion. The meeting will conclude following council committee chair reports and other general business.

City of Port Orchard (meet at 219 Prospect Street)

Tuesday, May 25: 7 p.m. City Council will announce committee members chosen to write “pro” and “con” statements for the Port Orchard Library annexation measure to be on the August primary ballot. (Chris Henry wrote about this on the Peninsular Thinking blog, you can see that post here.)

Port of Brownsville (meet at the Brownsville Yacht Club, 9756A Ogle Road NE)

Tuesday, May 25: 6 p.m. Port commissioners have called a special meeting to discuss the vacant fire hall building they own and are hoping to find a tenant to lease the facility. (Here’s the latest story I wrote on this subject).

That’s all I got for the week.


Employee Wellness Programs, Do They Work?

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

We all know what we should do to take better care of ourselves — eat healthier, exercise more, reduce stress (good luck on that last one). Employee wellness programs aim to get workers practicing better self care, but are they actually effective? And in the long run will they save companies, agencies or government entities money on health care benefits and reduced sick days?

If one goal of health care reform is to promote wellness, when and how will implementation of such programs be mandated?

The Kitsap Sun is doing an article on the effectiveness of employee wellness programs. We hope you’ll take part in our online survey. Click here to take survey.

Also, let us know if your company has some innovative ideas on promoting employee wellness.

If you have any questions about the story or about how your responses will be used, or if you’d like to comment on your company/agency’s employee wellness program, call reporter Chris Henry at (360) 792-9219, or e-mail chenry@kitsapsun.com.

Thanks for your help. Chris Henry, reporter


Heads Up: On The Agenda

Monday, May 17th, 2010

Brynn Grimley writes:

Here’s what’s on the agenda for the week of May 17 for Kitsap’s various governmental agencies.

Kitsap County Board of Commissioners (meet at 619 Division Street)

Meeting dates:

Monday, May 17: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. The board will recess into executive session to review performance of public employee.

Monday, May 17: 2 p.m. The meeting will begin with the approval of minutes, followed by a expected two-hour review of information services’ work plan and the 2011 budget, presented by Bud Harris. From 4:05 to 4:50 p.m. the commissioners will review the debt policy/public facilities financial plan presented by hired financial consultant Susan Musselman (the last discussion on this resulted in this story). From 4:50 to 5:05 the board will recess into executive session to discuss existing litigation.

Wednesday, May 19: 8:30 a.m. The board will be in executive session until 9 a.m. to discuss real estate issues. It will start the meeting at 9 a.m. with the approval of minutes, followed by a 45 minute review of the agenda for its May 24 nightly meeting. Information sharing will follow from 9:15 to 9:55 a.m., followed by a five minute break. The meeting will resume at 10 a.m. with a 30 minute presentation on pet licensing by county administrator Nancy Buonannon Grennan. The board will recess into executive session at 10:30 until noon to discuss real estate matters.

City of Bremerton (meet at 345 6th Street, Norm Dicks Government Center)

Meeting dates:

Wednesday, May 19: 5 p.m. The City Council will hold a briefing until 5:30 p.m. Its regular meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m. in council chambers. The agenda includes a report from Mayor Patty Lent, public recognition, general business to be discussed includes a grant agreement with the state and the recreation and conservation funding board for Kiwanis Park improvements; a resolution establishing conditions for the limited tax general obligation bonds for the Park Plaza project, the Lions Field renovation and for the purchase and renovation of a building to be used as a Municipal Court building. Council members will give their respective reports and the council will then recess into executive session to discuss existing litigation and the acquisition/sale of real estate for about 30 minutes. Action is anticipated, the agenda states.

City of Port Orchard (meet at 219 Prospect Street)

Tuesday, May 18: 7 p.m. There is a work study scheduled, however no agenda is available on the city’s website, so I don’t know what they’ll be discussing. The website to download the agenda (if it’s posted) is found here.

City of Poulsbo (meet at 19050 Jensen Way)

Meeting date:

Wednesday, May 19: 7 p.m. The meeting kicks off with a report by Mayor Becky Erickson who will be giving a regular city hall update. The business agenda includes a special event approval for the Americana Music Festival, approval of draft vision for the city’s Shoreline Master Program update, review of a contract for ASP service with SunGard public sector, approval of a services agreement with Right Systems, Inc., a joint meeting with the Port of Poulsbo commissioners — expected to last one hour. The meeting will conclude with committee reports from council members.

That’s all I have for the week (note: The Kitsap County Planning Commission had a meeting scheduled for Tuesday, May 18, but that meeting has been canceled).


Commissioners Review County Administrator’s Performance

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

Perhaps, like Vivian Henderson, you noticed this item on the Kitsap County Commissioners’ weekly schedule, “May 10, 9 a.m., Executive Session – Review Performance of Public Employee.” Time allotted, 2 hours.

Vivian asked me to do a reality check, since the executive session, to which the public is not allowed, was to take up such a large chunk of the commissioners’ time.

I heard back from the county’s personnel director, Bert Furuta, as follows, “The executive session is directly related to a comprehensive performance evaluation process that the board is currently completing for their County Administrator. Nancy Buonanno Grennan has been employed in her position for 3 years and the board had determined that Nancy and the public is appropriately deserving of a formal and in-depth review of her performance.”

The board at the executive session discussed Buonanno Grennan’s responsibilities and measures of her performance on the job.

Furuta clarified that Buonanno Grennan’s evaluation, as a personnel matter, is exempt from public records request “unless misconduct is involved and let me assure you that is not the case here.”

Furuta said his reference to “public” was related to the board’s intention “that the evaluation process should promote productivity and accountability to the board as elected representatives of the public.”


Port Orchard Chamber to Host Legislators, State Chief Economist

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

Heads up on two events this week hosted by the Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce.

At 7:30 a.m. Wednesday (May 12) the chamber will host 26th District Legislators Sen. Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor, Rep. Jan Angel, R-Port Orchard, and Rep. Larry Seaquist, D-Gig Harbor at its monthly community affairs forum. The event will be held at City Hall, 216 Prospect St. Get coffee and muffins at 7:30 a.m. Program begins at 7:45 a.m.

The chamber’s legislative committee and board of directors have approved the following legislative priorities, including more efficient ferry service, low cost and flexible health care options for small businesses. In one proposal, the chamber would have the state freeze the minimum wage, which the committee and board say “was never meant to be a living wage.” Instead of increasing the minimum wage, they suggest creating a training wage and tip credit for workers who fall into those categories. Click here to see a copy of the Chamber Priorities 2010 document.

On Thursday (May 13) the state’s chief economist willl speak at the chamber’s monthly General Membership Meeting. The event is at 11:30 a.m. at the Clubhouse at McCormick Woods, 5100 St. Andrews Drive, Port Orchard. Dr. Arun Raha will speak on “Economic Outlook – What Will the Recovery Look Like?”

Raha is chief economist for the State of Washington and Executive Director of the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council. He is responsible for preparing and presenting quarterly forecasts of Washington’s economy and general-fund revenues. He also advises state legislative committees and other government agencies regarding economic and revenue activity in the state.

So, a few questions. What do you think about the chamber’s minimum wage proposal? … and … What signs of economic recovery (if any) have you seen? What indicators are you looking for that will signal Kitsap is in economic recovery?


Is Bremerton That Bad?

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

Brynn Grimley writes:

I promised last week a blog post on the potential move of the Kitsap County Consolidated Housing Authority from its Silverdale location to Bremerton’s Norm Dicks Government Center.

At last week’s KCCHA board of directors meeting the board once again discussed the move. As noted in a small story I wrote up, County Commissioner Steve Bauer questioned why the board was still talking about the move. He wants a decision now. (Here’s that story.)

Out of courtesy to the new director Tony Caldwell, the board conceded in March to give him until April to find a potential new location, or someone to fill the Norm Dicks space the authority is currently paying for, but not using. The April meeting came and they postponed a decision based on a discussion had in executive session. (Here’s the story about the March postponement, and here’s the story about the April meeting).

At the May meeting, commissioner Bauer asked again why a decision wasn’t being made. Poulsbo Mayor Becky Erickson, also a KCCHA board member, asked why housing authority staff was so reluctant to move to Bremerton.

Here’s some of the reasons listed:

- The building doesn’t fit the agency’s operations and would also need tenant improvements to accommodate staff

- KCCHA doesn’t offer programs in Bremerton, so why locate in a city where it doesn’t have a presence?

- Clients would have to pay to park to come to the office or to participate in services/programs offered

- Staff would have to pay to park

- There is a perception staff morale would go down if they moved to Bremerton

- Some employees expressed concern about safety and leaving the building after night meetings or events

Bauer came to Bremerton’s defense as it relates to safety.

“Hearing the concerns about safety truly distresses me,” he said. “It says something about the perception of Bremerton that I don’t think is true. I don’t think this is an unsafe environment.”

As reported last week, KCCHA has until July to find an alternative. If no new tenant for the building can be found, or if an alternative home for the society isn’t located, they have to make the move — this time for real.


Heads Up: On The Agenda

Monday, May 10th, 2010

Brynn Grimley writes:

Well it’s been a busy weekend being the lone weekend reports, so forgive me but I’m going to cheat this week on the agenda write up. Instead of writing up what each jurisdiction is set to review this week, I am going to post the links to their websites where the PDF files of the agendas can be found.

Kitsap County Board of Commissioners (meet at 619 Division Street)

Meeting dates:

Monday, May 10:  9-11 a.m. (this meeting is entirely an executive session to “review the performance of a public employee”)

Monday, May 10: 2-4:50 p.m. (the last hour of this meeting is executive session to “discuss collective bargaining”)

Monday, May 10: 7 p.m. Regular nightly meeting

Wednesday, May 12: 8:30-9 a.m. (this meeting starts with an executive session to “discuss real estate issues.”) It opens up at 9 a.m. for the public and will recession back into executive session at 10:45 a.m. to “discuss real estate matters.”

The website to see the agendas for each meeting can be found here.

City of Bremerton (meet at 345 6th Street, Norm Dicks Government Center)

Meeting dates:

Wednesday, May 12: 5 p.m. Study session open to the public

The website to download the agenda for the meeting can be found here.

City of Port Orchard (meet at 219 Prospect Street)

Meeting date:

Tuesday, May 11: 7 p.m. City Council meeting

The website to download the agenda is found here.

City of Poulsbo (meet at 19050 Jensen Way)

Meeting date:

Wednesday, May 12: 7 p.m. City Council meeting

The website to download the agenda is found here. (Note: As of Sunday night the agenda listed is from the May 5 meeting.)

Okay folks, again sorry about the brevity, but I’m flying solo here and it’s nearing 9 p.m. on Sunday night. I promise to do better next week.


Kitsap County Consolidated Housing Authority Wrap Up

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

Brynn Grimley writes:

A lot was discussed at Tuesday’s meeting of the Kitsap County Consolidated Housing Authority, and as you may have already read, the biggest thing to come out of the meeting was discussed primarily in executive session. (The second part of the meeting detailed the move from Silverdale to Bremerton. That will be a separate blog post to come.)

The authority’s board, with the three county commissioners recusing themselves, voted unanimously to pursue litigation against the city of Bremerton in an attempt to get the city to pay the authority $2 million. The money is a loan the city said it would give the authority under a contingent loan agreement it entered into on Aug. 30, 2005. The details around the agreement and who owes what are in my story. (Read it here).

I want to use the blog to share part of what didn’t fit in the story.

Bremerton Mayor Patty Lent wasn’t surprised to learn that the housing authority board took up the discussion in executive session. The county (which would be the lead agency if a lawsuit is filed) gave the city a heads up that this could be coming. The only surprise was the approval of the resolution to seek legal remedy, she said. Lent called the resolution the equivalent of the authority board putting its foot down on the matter.

She also said she understood why the authority was trying to get the money.

“We’re all at a situation where we have no money,” she said. “I think every jurisdiction is at a position where they can no longer function and are grasping at straws. I have to say I would be doing the same thing.”

Lent is willing to meet to try and find a solution, she said. But, she also said the city’s position is that it does not owe the $2 million. City Attorney Roger Lubovich didn’t want to get into the legal details for publication, but said the city and authority have met over the past few months to talk about this. However, based on the board’s vote Tuesday, it’s clear the authority was not satisfied with those talks, he said.

County Commissioner Josh Brown hopes the county, city and authority can come to a resolution on the disagreement without spending the time and money involved in legal proceedings.

It’s been one year since commissioners voted to take out $40.5 million in debt to back the authority’s loans with Bank of America, so I asked why is this coming up now? Why not last year when the city and county were going back and forth on who owed what?

The delay was because the authority and county realized the city was not equipped to handle the discussions with former Mayor Cary Bozeman leaving his term early to join the Port of Bremerton, Brown said. Bozeman announced his departure around the same time the county took on the housing authority debt. It would have been unfair and potentially unproductive to try and negotiate a deal, or file a lawsuit against Bremerton, at that time, Browns aid. With Lent now in office for about six months, its an appropriate time, he said.

Brown reminded Lent was a county commissioner at the time the county and city entered into the 2005 agreements with the authority.

The county and housing authority believe they have upheld their legal obligations set out under the contingent loan agreements, Brown said. He added he finds it discouraging that the city isn’t living up to the responsibilities of its contractual obligations for an economic development project that clearly benefits the city.

The city says there is more to this discussion that could come out during litigation, but until then those issues will be handled behind closed doors between the agencies.

Below you can read the resolution passed by the housing authority board Tuesday.

KCCHA Resolution


Revenue Sharing: Some Examples

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

Brynn Grimley writes:

At the end of last week I wrote about a meeting held between Port Orchard city officials and Kitsap County officials, at the request of Mary McClure, executive director of the Kitsap Regional Coordinating Council. The topic: a revenue-sharing agreement in place that dictates how annexation or incorporation should proceed between the county and the surrounding four cities. (Read that story here).

A revenue-sharing agreement has been in place for almost a decade through the KRCC. The county and the four cities all agreed to adhere to the rules of this document. It spells out how an annexation or incorporation should proceed by way of sharing the cost of services and revenues. Under the agreement the transition takes three years and goes as follows: Year One: the city takes 25 percent of revenue, the county 75 percent; Year Two: it’s a 50-50 split between the entities; Year Three: the city takes 75 percent of revenue, the county 25 percent.

The city of Port Orchard has made its intention known that it no longer wants to be a part of this agreement. Under the laws of the agreement it states a city or the county wanting out may request an immediate reevaluation of the agreement by the KRCC’s revenue sharing policy committee. If a resolution/reevaluation is not agreeable to the requesting party within six months, the party can initiate the steps to get out of the agreement. That’s what Port Orchard has done at this point.

Termination is a 12-month process, and Port Orchard has about five months to go before its free and clear, Mayor Lary Coppola said last week.

But just because the city asked to get out of the revenue-sharing agreement doesn’t mean they will, he said. Ultimately the city feels a “one size fits all” approach to handling revenue sharing is not the answer. Port Orchard learned this after annexing McCormick Woods last year, Coppola said.

That’s why they’ve proposed some alternatives. Those alternatives were presented in a letter written by Coppola to McClure. I’ve attached them below through Scribd. As you read through Coppola’s proposal, remember he wrote this letter to get the conversation going about changing the agreement. What is detailed in the letter IS NOT what the final agreement will look like. As Coppola says in the letter this is “boiler plate” language to give the county and future annexing cities a place to start the conversation.

You’ll note his letter includes suggestions for annexing Port Orchard’s Bethel Corridor from the county into the city. One example gives a one-year transition period, where the city and county split everything 50-50 the first year; while the second example suggests a two-year transition period starting with a 50-50 split the first year, following by a 75-25 split the second year in favor of the city.

It sounds like from last week’s meeting the city, county and KRCC folks realized this was a good thing to start talking about. No one was against it, and everyone (at this point at least) sounded ready to work together on a solution that would benefit the county and cities.

This makes sense when you look at state law. As much as some people don’t agree with it, the law is written so that urban growth areas will annex into neighboring cities (or in Kingston and Silverdale’s case they’ll incorporate). As a result the county will lose a significant portion of its tax base, and will be forced to reduce the services it provides from a more urban level to a regional level. (Regional services include: assessor, auditor, prosecutor, district and superior courts, and coroner).

Below you’ll see Coppola’s letter to McClure (again remember this is just a letter to get a conversation going); and if you really want to geek out, I’ve attached a KRCC analysis titled “KRCC Urban Services Delivery Project” from 2007. I found it interesting and easy to understand. (While it was written three years ago, it does a good job of explaining what needs to be done when looking into annexation/incorporation).

Coppola Letter

KRCC Annexation Report_07


Heads Up: On the Agenda

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

Brynn Grimley writes:

Starting a new month, which means another go-round of meetings. Here’s what’s slated for this week:

Kitsap County Board of Commissioners (meet at 619 Division Street)

Monday, May 3

10 a.m.: The board will be in executive session until 11 a.m. to discuss the performance of a public employee. The open part of the meeting will kick off with the approval of minutes, following by information sharing and then board review of calendars and agendas. Meeting should adjourn around noon. (Sounds like there won’t be much information to share this time around…)

2 p.m.: Following minute approvals the meeting will get started with an hour-long legislative debrief from Tom McBride; Eric Baker (special projects manager) will follow up with his 15-minute economic stimulus update; then Angie Silva (also a special projects planner) will discuss a Port Orchard stormwater inter-local agreement for roughly 30 minutes; the board will consider a resolution authorizing the condemnation of private land and adjourn shortly after 4 p.m.

Wednesday, May 5

8:30 a.m.: After approving minutes the board will review the agenda for its May 10 regular meeting (this usually takes about an hour); they’ll do information sharing from roughly 9:20 to 10:05; then hear from Maxine Schoales about open space classification and forest land classification for the next hour. Shortly after 11 a.m. they’ll take a five minute break, then discuss planning commission rules of procedure with DCD planner Scott Diener for 20 minutes. The meeting will end with the board recessing into executive session at 11:30 a.m. until noon to discuss real estate matters.

City of Bremerton City Council (meet at Norm Dicks Government Center, 345 6th Street)

Wednesday, May 5

5 p.m.: The council will hold a 30-minute briefing to discuss general council business before heading downstairs for their regular meeting which begins at 5:30 p.m. On the agenda for the night the council will hear the regular report from Mayor Patty Lent, followed by a briefing from Bill Stewart, executive director of the Kitsap Economic Development Alliance. The council has no general business items for the night, but its public hearing docket is as follows: public hearing and release of easements to Harrison Medical Center; public hearing and ordinance amending Bremerton Municipal Code Title 20 of the zoning code related to the comprehensive plan/zoning code consistency and community facilities; a proposed public hearing and resolution adopting the 2011 CDBG/Home Policy Plan. The meeting will adjourn following council committee reports.

City of Port Orchard: No meeting this week.

City of Poulsbo (meet at Poulsbo City Hall, 19050 NE  Jensen Way)

Wednesday, May 5

7 p.m.: The meeting will kick off with a regular report by Mayor Becky Erickson and will be followed by the business agenda, which includes an Olhava development update by Mark Zenger; the request for contract approval for ASP service with SunGard HTE; the acquisition of right of way at the Lincoln Well site for the planned Noll Road roundabout, followed by the approval of a contract amendment in place between the city and Parametrix for the Noll Road roundabout work; a public hearing will be held on the Gaines Annexation (this is set to start at 7:15 p.m.); following the public hearing the council could vote on an ordinance authorizing the annexation.

Kitsap County Consolidated Housing Authority (meet in suite 100 at Norm Dicks Government Center, 345 6th Street)

Tuesday, May 4

1 p.m.: The meeting will likely immediately recess into executive session following approval of the consent agenda. The session will be closed to discuss real estate and potential litigation. The meeting will reopen with reports from the organization’s executive director Tony Caldwell, as well as update reports from the organization’s management team; the relocation of the agency to the Norm Dicks Government Center is next (although last time they didn’t say much here because they already discussed it in executive session); and the meeting will end with an update from Kitsap County on the status of KCCHA properties listed for sale. Adjournment should happen around 3:30 p.m.

Kitsap Regional Coordinating Council (meet in main chambers of Norm Dicks Government Center, 345 6th Street)

8 a.m.: The meeting will start with a study session looking at projections of population / housing units and distributions from the state’s Office of Financial Management. The regular meeting will begin at 9 a.m. with citizen comments.

On the agenda: a public hearing on the Community Development Block Grant Program regarding the 2011 application and policy plan; the work program report includes an update on the revenue-sharing/Urban Growth Area discussion (Read the story about a meeting of the minds on this between Port Orchard and Kitsap County here); followed by a report on transportation that is scheduled to take 40 minutes — the report includes recommendations from TransPOL on 2009 “left over” ARRA funding, PSRC rural corridors program project applications; it also includes information on non-motorized facilities and recommendations from the ad-hoc trails committee and information on the project selection process to receive transportation enhancement funds for FFY 2010-11; the next work program report is on city and county roles and a report from the Kitsap Economic Development Alliance/Kitsap County Community Development Corporation.

After all that the member agency’s will be able to give their comments, citizens may or may not get the chance to comment again (agenda says “as time permits”) and adjournment should fall around 11 a.m.

Alright folks, my brain is mush after translating/transcribing all those meeting agendas, so I’m signing off. Hope I didn’t miss anyone and I can’t wait to do it all over again next Monday morning. See ya then. Au Revoir.


Silverdale Incorporation Debate Sparks Up, Again

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Brynn Grimley writes:

Here I am, yet again writing a blog post about Silverdale incorporation. I’ve been reading the comment thread on the story I wrote last week about a yet-to-be-formalized incorporation effort that will likely become the real deal later this summer. (That story is here).

The comments range from supportive, to cautious, to outright against incorporation. They also raise the big question: Will taxes go up, or down, if Silverdale incorporates?

While everyone wants an answer to that question, the reality is it’s unknown. (I know, not what you want to hear right?) During the meeting last week Silverdale CPA Randy Biegenwald told the group he couldn’t say one way or the other if taxes will go up or down. Ultimately the cost will depend on the structure the public votes to have in place.

I’m resurrecting a blog entry I wrote in October 2007, after the last incorporation talks fizzled. In the entry I sent 10 questions to Tacoma attorney Jennifer Forbes, who works for the firm McGavick Graves. She lives in Poulsbo and was asked by Hank Mann-Sykes back in August 2007 to attend incorporation meetings to offer a legal perspective to the discussions. (Read the complete blog post, formerly on the CK Beat, here.)

Here are the questions and Forbes’ responses:

My Questions:

1. Will water or sewer rates increase/decrease/stay the same?
2. Will the cost of utilities like garbage collection or electrical service change?
3. What will happen with the cost of television, satellite TV and phone service, will it change?
4. Will the cost of fire/police protection change, and if Silverdale became a city would it have to establish its own fire/police departments?
5. Will property taxes costs more/less?
6. Will the sales tax rate change?
7. If a city government is established along with a court system, will that cost more money and what are the pros and cons?
8. How will the road maintenance be handled?

Jennifer’s Response:

Questions 1-8 can generally be answered in the same manner – No one at this stage can guarantee what taxes will or will not be imposed or increased by the City. The City would have the authority to impose or increase certain taxes but they are not required to do so. What this means is that the answer to the questions will depend heavily on who is elected to the governing body (City Council) of the City of Silverdale. Citizens can participate in that decision through their votes and by participating in City Council meetings.

The City can initially contract with the County, other Cities, or Districts for nearly all government services, such as police, fire, road maintenance, and the court system. Once again, this is a decision that would be made by the governing body of the City. The governing body may decide that they do not want to contract for some or all of these services. That being said, however, the typical way most recently incorporated Cities address these issues is by contracting for a period of time for the provision of these services and then slowly taking them over themselves. This provides a somewhat seamless transition of services into an incorporated City.

There are certainly pros and cons to having a City municipal court system versus contracting with the County. This is something that many existing cities struggle with. I cannot speak to the financial costs or benefits, as I think this varies widely from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. I will say that it appears to me that most jurisdictions choose to have their own court system for a variety of reasons including but not limited to: providing a better level of service to citizens, having a better sense of the issues that are facing the community, and providing a more convenient forum for those who are parties to the court system.

As you can see, there isn’t one clear answer to the questions. But, I think as talks kick up again an answer might be more definitive once the public weighs in on what type of city government it wants to see.

If I look only at the comment thread on my story, I also think incorporation proponents are in for a fight. I haven’t been here to cover previous incorporation efforts, but in the four years I have covered CK for the Sun it has been easy to see there is some serious baggage tied to the idea of incorporating Silverdale. (The baggage falls on both sides of the aisle).

I hope that as this new effort kicks off all sides come to the table with open minds and leave history where it belongs — in the past. I know that might be wishful thinking, but it’d be nice to see people engage in a discussion on what’s proposed, instead of heading into a debate with their minds already made up based on what’s been proposed in the past.


Heads Up: On the Agenda

Monday, April 26th, 2010

Brynn Grimley writes:

Here’s what’s coming up this week by way of government meetings.

Kitsap County Board of Commissioners (meet at 619 Division Street)

Monday, April 26

2 p.m.: The meeting will kick off with the approval of minutes from 04/12/10; a legislative update from Tom McBride will follow and last about 15 minutes; Eric Baker will then discuss two items with the board for the next 45 minutes, the first being an economic stimulus update and then a review of a draft Memorandum of Understanding between the county and Olympic Property Group regarding the North Kitsap Legacy Partnership (read about that partnership here, here and here.); the meeting will end with an hour-long budget update from Stephanie Pinard, resulting in adjournment around 4 p.m.

7 p.m.: The board’s nightly meeting will kick off with a number of presentations, recognitions and board appointments. A contract for $358,907 with Freeman Bell, LLC will be voted on. That contract is to “mitigate flooding during severe storm events in the Converse Avenue area by constructing a regional storm pond and a closed stormwater conveyance system in South Kitsap, Commissioner District #2.” The money will come from the SSWM Construction Fund. The only public hearing is on a resolution amending the first quarter of the 2010 Annual Budget.

Wednesday, April 28

8:30 a.m.: The board’s regular work study will be a joint meeting with county planning commissioners, scheduled to last two hours. At 10:30 a.m. the board will have information sharing until 11:30 a.m.

City of Bremerton City Council (meet at Norm Dicks Government Center, 345 5th Street)

Wednesday, April 28

5 p.m.: The council will meet in a study session. The first three items on the agenda say no discussion and indicate they may appear on future agendas for action, but no action will be taken on the items at the work study. The items include: a proposed resolution approving the first phase of the Bay Vista Final Plat in the area formerly known as Westpark; an interlocal agreement with the city of Shelton for interim traffic signal repair and maintenance services; and a proposed public hearing and release of water easement for Harrison Medical Center.

Items on the agenda up for discussion include: authorizing expenditures for legal services agreement with Gordon Thomas Honeywell; a proposed public hearing and ordinance amending Bremerton Municipal Code Title 20 of the zoning code related to the comprehensive plan/zoning code consistency and community facilities; a proposed public hearing and resolution adopting the 2011 CDBG/Home Policy Plan; approving the Highway 303/Manette Bridge bridge replacement city construction support cooperative agreement; a proposed resolution authorizing the local agency agreement for Pacific Avenue improvements (6th to 11th Streets).

The meeting will end with general business and updates from the council’s committee chairs.

City of Port Orchard (meet at 216 Prospect Street)

Tuesday, April 27

7 p.m.: The city council will hear a presentation about municipal clerk’s week and the Silver Star Service Banner Day before going into its business agenda. The business agenda includes the following: adopting a resolution authorizing the purchase of a 2010 Ford Escort for the storm drainage utility from Bay Ford; adoption of an ordinance that amends the city’s code regarding the parking of boats and recreational vehicles; adoption of an ordinance that request an election set for Aug. 17, 2010 regarding the annexation of the city of Port Orchard into the Kitsap County Rural Library District; approval of a contract authorizing the mayor to enter into a contract with Henderson Construction for the Bay Street seawall construction project; approval of a contract that authorizes the mayor to enter into a contract with Krazan and Associates for materials testing; approval of an event application for the “World’s Biggest Disc Golf Weekend.”

And I believe that is all that’s going in this week in Kitsap by way of city/county meetings.


Who Cares About Port Orchard’s Annexations?

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

If you’re a property owner/taxpayer in unincorporated Kitsap County, you may want to be heads up — regardless of what area of the county you live in — about a meeting on April 29 between city of Port Orchard and Kitsap County officials on an inter-local agreement regarding annexations.

The meeting does not, to my understanding, involve a quorum of either government, so may not be open to the public. I will be following up on the results.

The long-standing agreement between the county and Kitsap’s cities addresses how transfer of responsibility (and tax revenue) will take place when unicorporated areas are annexed into cities. Port Orchard, which has had a number of significant annexations over the past year or two, is particularly interested in the aspect of the ILA that involves revenue sharing.

The city wants immediate access to tax revenue from annexed properties, especially businesses along the Bethel corridor. The ILA now states that the revenue will be shared over a period of three years after annexations, with the county getting 75 percent, 50 percent and 25 percent in each year before all of the revenue goes to the city in the fourth year and thereafter. City officials have given formal notice that they would opt out of the ILA if negotiations don’t meet their desired result.

The county has been analyzing the potential impact of the loss of revenue on the county’s budget. The question county taxpayers’ may ask themselves is, “How will this affect me?” Will my taxes go up, down, sideways or what? Hopefully all that will be clarified by county officials in the upcoming weeks and months.

Even if you’re not a property owner, you may want to know how the potential loss of revenue will affect the county’s ability to deliver services, including the building of roads and other infrastructure, law enforcement and so forth in all areas of the county.

From the city’s perspective, they say access to the full amount of revenue is needed if they are to provide adequate police patrols, roads and other infrastructure to the newly annexed areas.

Port Orchard’s annexations have recently drawn some interest from outside Kitsap County. I got an e-mail from Thomas W. Bradbury, a real estate analyst with Private Valuations Inc. of Bellevue, who asked how the Bethel North annexation is progressing.

I asked Tom what was his interest in the Bethel Corridor. He told me, “I’m appraising some proposed improvements on Bethel Road and needed to know if the parcel would be part of the city for the appraisal date.”

If you remember, Bethel North was the humongous proposed annexation representing the largest part of the Bethel Corridor. The total assessed value of the land in the 555-acre annexation area is $145 million.

After checking with Port Orchard’s development director James Weaver, I reported to Thomas that the Bethel North annexation was dead in the water.

On Feb. 5, annexation backers were still hopeful they could get enough signatures for the required 60 support, even though they had only collected 53 percent as of that date. They had six months to gather enough signatures for approval, with the first signature dated July 29. Their strategy was to “roll-over” signatures in order to keep the annexation petition alive, basically approaching those who had already signed and asking them to sing again once their signatures had expired, all legal according to the city attorney. They collected signatures representing 57 percent of the property but were unable, however, to bring the last 3 percent on board … at least at this time.

The largest (and key) hold-out property owner was Walmart, which is part-way through permitting for an expansion, Weaver said. According to Weaver, the company did not want jeopardize the forward movement of permitting by switching horses in mid-steam, so to speak. This does not preclude another attempt at annexation some time in the future, however.

Weaver said the “silver lining” for the city in the annexation failure is that if the Bethel North folks want to try again later, the effective date of the annexation would likely be after Port Orchard pulls out of the revenue sharing agreement (PO has until November to decide if they will do so). Hence the city would have immediate access to what’s sure to be a honking big chunk of sales tax revenue (my words BTW, not Weaver’s).

This is not to imply that city officials did anything other than comply with state statutes and the GMA in accepting the Bethel North annexation proposal, Weaver said.

The Bethel North annexation, sweet as it would be for the city (my words/ not Weaver’s), is “citizen driven. It’s citizen initiated,” Weaver said. “If the citizens don’t have the desire to continue it, it’s out of the hands of the city.”

The latest annexation in the works in the Blueberry Road annexation consisting of 57 parcels on 49 acres. The city council recently accepted property owners’ notice of intent to annex. Now they have to gather the required signatures in the required time frame.

Here’s the city’s map of annexations completed, in the works and possible future annexations.

Bethel North Boundary Map


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