Downtown Plan: Does City Council Have ‘Tunnel’ Vision?

There’s more to a view than meets the eye, according to Paulie Williams of Port Orchard, who says the home in which she lives will lose $100,000 in value (along with a 180 degree view of Sinclair Inlet) if the city council raises the height limit on downtown buildings to 55 feet.
The proposed height ordinance is part of the city’s Downtown Overlay District plan, which has been in the works since last year and is set for finalization within the next month.

Williams was among a crowd of downtown residents and property owners who spoke out against the plan (along with a couple of proponents) at a public hearing Monday. Several people at the meeting said higher buildings would give Bay Street a tunnel-like appearance. The plan’s provisions for parking also drew fire.
The hearing was to have been the final chance for the public to comment on the plan, which has undergone considerable revision since previous hearings. But a glitch in the mailing of notices to some downtown property owners forced the council to extend the hearing to their next meeting March 12. A decision on the plan is expected March 26.
Also speaking at the hearing was Jerry Childs, who, with other residents, is forming a neighborhood association to advocate for the rights of local property owners.
Childs and his wife Shannon moved from Bainbridge Island to Port Orchard in 2006 to be closer to her job at Kitsap Bank. They invested two times the purchase price of their Kitsap Street home in a complete remodel of the historic building from the 1930s. Childs said he values the “charm” and neighborhood feeling of Port Orchard, not to mention the waterfront view, all of which, he said, would be lost if the proposed plan is approved. In its place, he said, would be “an unsightly town with tall buildings and residences that are in the shadows. … There’s going to be a loss for anybody who has a building, the quality of life loss, a financial loss, and I think it’s a loss to the community.”

Learn about it: Read the complete draft of Port Orchard’s Downtown Overlay District plan at
Join in: A group of downtown Port Orchard residents is forming a neighborhood association to advocate for property owners’ rights. Call (206) 999-0548 or e-mail

Read the complete story later at

2 thoughts on “Downtown Plan: Does City Council Have ‘Tunnel’ Vision?

  1. Slightly off-topic, but I have to say that I sure do like the new City Hall and televised meetings. With a gaggle kids that have a variety of activities, I can seldom attend the meetings but I was able to watch it on BKAT last night. With several camera angles, the editing and production, it wasn’t nearly as dry as one might expect.

  2. Good reporting Chris. This story, its “preamble” and what is to come could be one of the more important evolutionary changes underway for how life in South Kitsap will develop over the next 10 years. As a broker involved in some of the transactions I know that there will be a lot of discussion about this and the stakes are high. It is my fondest wish for the the property owners, the merchants and the residents of Port Orchard to carve out a prosperous and inspiring future.

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