Port Orchard 98312

Bremerton Beat reporter Steve Gardner, who hosts the Kitsap Caucus blog, occasionally puts people “on notice” a la Stephen Colbert. Recent examples include “Republicrats,” “Demoblicans,” Port of Bremerton Commissioner Mary Ann Huntington, diapers (he has a new baby) and Port Orchard, although that has been replaced with Tori Spelling.

Well, Mr. Gardner, I think we’re going to have to put Bremerton on notice for exporting its ZIP code to a large chunk of South Kitsap. Home buyers at the new development The Ridge at McCormick Woods recently learned that they’ll have a Bremerton address because part of the development is zoned as a Bremerton urban growth area. Some of them are not pleased.

“I just moved out of East Bremerton, and 98312 is the worst part of Bremerton,” said home buyer Nicole Thomas. “There’s pawn shops and paycheck loans. There’s low-income housing. Every time you look at the Kitsap Sun, the Code 911 is always about Bremerton. We wanted to get out of there.”

I’m guessing we ain’t seen nothin’ yet. With the cities of Bremerton and Port Orchard both eyeing the McCormick Woods Sunnyslope area, things will get interesting as annexation becomes a pressing issue. All the various entities – city and county governments, school districts, developers, builders, emergency management folks – will have their own agendas, and so will the individuals already living in and moving to the area.

Fifteen years ago, Sunnyslope was a sleepy rural area. Today, there are 700 homes in McCormick Woods, 270 to be built in The Ridge, and a smaller number in The Rutherford, across the street from The Ridge. At complete “build out,” developments in McCormick Woods Urban Village will include about 4,000 housing units. Hmmm … maybe the “Village” will be come its own city and annex everyone else.

14 thoughts on “Port Orchard 98312

  1. Zip code class isn’t anything I’ve thought of before.
    Who would know that 98312 was a hotbed of crime or undesirable place to live? I was born in Bremerton and didn’t know. I have old friends who live in the 98312 zip code area… and have for over twenty years…maybe more.
    I don’t think they know either.
    Unless they read about it in the Kitsap Sun they’ll likely never know.
    For information on how life and progress and people change…when I grew up, Sunnyslope and Gorst were considered less than desirable places to live….whatever their zip code.

    I’m guessing that families such as yours, Nicole Thomas, move into quality homes and reinvent the neighborhood and shift the zip code into the same good quality of crime less life.
    Best wishes…Sharon O’Hara

  2. For your information Nicole, the 98312 zip code covers a large area. I live on Provost Rd just of Eldorado and I’m inside the 98312. This is almost Silverdale.
    “the Code 911 is always about Bremerton” please pull your head out of the sand. Seeing that Bremerton is the largest city in Kitsap County it is going to get the most press. They don’t publish every 911 call that comes into the facility. I for one will keep my eye out for the P.O. entries to keep you informed.
    4,000 housing units and you folks were worried about NASCAR traffic once or twice a year. Have fun with each family having two cars going and coming from work five days a week. I hope thier driving hybirds. Keep it green.

  3. Frank, I’ll gladly put up with taxpaying neighbors as opposed to free-loading corporations. The comparison to NASCAR is just stupid.
    I also put “Port Orchard” on my address, even though I live in Sunnyslope. Personally, I don’t want anything to do with Bremerton. I say this with all due respect, Screw Bozeman.

  4. I totally understand where Nicole is coming from. When I lived in King County, I was stereotyped by my zip code. I even found, in some situations, that I received a different level of service than others. My daughter was somewhat embarassed to tell college acquaintances where she’d attended high school. That zip code was 98040, Mercer Island, erroneously reputed snobbery and wealth. I like my present zip code, 98312, and the diversity it represents.

  5. The sad part of this story has nothing to do with the zip code. The piece of land on which these houses are being built was home to a beautiful wooded watershed that had a salmon creek run through it. I monitored that creek along with others who lived on Anderson Hill. We walked through that watershed and it was gorgeous.

    The City of Bremerton, however, didn’t see the need to safeguard this pristine source of water for the future. Instead they sought a buyer. They found one, who promised that he will build a beautiful low impact high tech park that would employ hundreds of people.

    I attended the meetings in which the citizens of that region questioned and requestioned why the watershed needed to be sold with emphasis on the value of the salmon creek.

    The citizens raised funds and spent their own personal money to fight the sale. The City of Bremerton prevailed. They sold the land.

    The developer shortly thereafter went bankrupt, but not before he had all the huge trees on the forest cleared and removed. The citizens wept.

    The land sat until another developer saw the potential in doing a high impact housing development. More trees were stripped from the land and the wildlife in the area were displaced. I am not sure if anyone monitors the stream anymore.

    I think it is too much to ask the citizens who pleaded with the City of Bremerton not to destroy that watershed to cry over the fact that people who are buying those houses are upset over their new zip code.

    It’s only fitting that they belong to the City of Bremerton and not to the people of Anderson Hill.

  6. I am a future homeowner at the Ridge, and I’m not sure how Chris Henry determined that the Ridge is located within the designated City of Bremerton watershed. That is incorrect. The maps I have reviewed (including the plat map at the County Assessor’s Office) clearly indicate that the Ridge is located in the McCormick North Urban Growth Area. My property is recorded as “Port Orchard, WA 98367”. It has not yet been annexed by either Bremerton or Port Orchard, but both municipalities are eager to collect my new property tax dollars. I am fairly certain that they are still negotiating future annexation alignment – in fact, I believe the County is currently conducting a study to determine the costs and benefits of each annexation option.

    I would like to retain the right to decide (by vote) which municipality annexes my property. I like the Urban Village model that is detailed in the McCormick North Master Plan, and would also like to retain the option to form a new city (separate from both Bremerton and Port Orchard) based on the urban village concept. If I have to make a choice between annexation by Bremerton or Port Orchard, I’ll choose Port Orchard – a community I love and have lived in for nearly 10 years.

    The ridiculous notion that my concern about the Bremerton zip code designation being “all about status” or a reluctance to associate with “those people” in Bremerton is nothing but absurd. This fabricated notion was reinforced by an offensive column by Torie Brazitis last week. I balked at the mention of Bremerton as my zip code only because it seemed like a premature statement about future annexation – in the near future it may be more than a postal delivery designation. If my property was, indeed, within the City of Bremerton watershed boundary, a “Bremerton” zip code would kind of be a no-brainer – I’d have no reason to question what being designated as “Bremerton” might imply. But that is not the case, and I found it in my best interest to ask what it really meant.

    I have no reluctance to associate with “those people” in Bremerton, but I’m reluctant to pay “those taxes”. I’m already paying the hefty Port of Bremerton tax, and I don’t think any more of my tax dollars need to go to the City of Bremerton. I’d rather see them go to Port Orchard. If that makes me an elitist snob, so be it.

    As a homeowner in this new development, I’m already “not the most popular kid on the block” out there. I’m now aware that there was considerable resistance to implementation of the development plan by local residents, for environmental and other reasons. I accept a big mea culpa for not being more informed about the development planned for the area I bought in before signing on the dotted line. Had I been more informed, the mention of having a “Bremerton” address wouldn’t have caught me so off guard. I’m informed now, and I hope that the home I purchased will remain a part of Port Orchard.

    I’m hoping that Chris Henry will help to clarify the true nature of my “concern” about this whole zip code issue. It’s only about annexation and taxes. The negative characterization of me that this and Torie Brazitis’ columns have created has spread like a virus throughout the Sun’s blogs. And it needs to stop.

  7. Michelle – I spoke with our environmental reporter Chris Dunagan, who is familiar with zoning. He said the term “watershed” can be misleading, because it can refer to an actual water system, or, as in the case of The Ridge, is refers to property owned by the City of Bremerton. A portion of The Ridge is within the City of Bremerton, while another portion is, as you point out, within the urban growth boundary. That’s why some of the home within the development have Bremerton Zip codes and others have Port Orchard Zip codes.

    I agree that annexation is at the heart of this issue, as I mentioned in the original post above.

  8. Thank you for that clarification, Chris. I appreciate any and all assistance with interpretation of this zoning/annexation issue. I’m drowning in a sea of new acronyms, and reading County documents makes my head hurt. It really is all Greek to me.

    I’m still confused about the “city line” vs. watershed issue, but certainly defer to Mr. Dunagan. I know that both of you cover all of this stuff routinely, and I appreciate your responses. I’m not sure who made the decision to split a new residential development, but it seems unnecessarily problematic in the long run.

    Hello once again,

    I would like to clarify something. In my initial conversation re: The Ridge at McCormick Woods being a Bremerton 98312 zip code and not Port Orchard, there were many topics that did not get published. I would like to include those below.

    Downtown Bremerton is on the way to becoming a great area. The condos being constructed on the waterfront are gorgeous and are bringing a lot of value to the community. People once from Seattle are living there now and commuting to work. The Harborside Park that was recently opened is beautiful with the fountains, the unique sculptures, and the site furnishings colored “Bremerton Blue.” I work for the company who provided these furnishings, along with the ones along the ferry and walkways, and am very proud of these contributions. The new Kitsap Credit Union is a grand building and quite an attraction. The Harborside Museum will be an attraction for years to come. The stores downtown are making a come back. There is soon to be a new family fun center at the old JC Penny parking lot. Everything is close to the ferry.

    I have lived with my family in East Bremerton in the Narrows Condominiums and it was a lovely area to live. We had friendly neighbors and great schools. It was a nice, quiet and safe community.

    I know of many families in West Bremerton. One family lives toward the Bremerton Yacht Club in a beautiful home on the water. Another lives past Crown Hill Elementary in a lovely home with a spectacular view. My real estate agent lives in a brick home that has had a lot of improvements and has a lot of value. She was certainly not offended by my comments, as she shared the same concerns.

    So, no, I am not an Uppity Snob who looks down her nose at those who live in West Bremerton. I lived in an 814 square foot condo, not an estate. I have no boat, no yacht. I drive a Honda Civic, not a Mercedes or a Porsche. I am not a doctor, lawyer, or politician. I am an average working class lady with a great family. We are down to earth people.

    HOWEVER, my initial concern as well as others at The Ridge regarding the 98312 zip code being West Bremerton was for the following reasons: where would our children go to school? Would they have to be bussed to and from Bremerton? How would we participate in school sports? Where would our tax dollars go? Would we be able to locally vote for Port Orchard or would it be Bremerton? Who would eventually annex us? Where would our packages be delivered to, a post office in Bremerton?

    So please don’t take my words to mean anything different than what I have just stated. I have included all the areas I spoke of above that were not included in the original article. There are 2 sides to every story, and unfortunately only a quarter of my discussion was publicized.

    Happy Fourth of July,

    Nicole Thomas

  10. I need to clarify my response to Michelle.

    I just spoke to Jim Avery, Kitsap County Assessor, about another story, and he told me that most property owners within Kitsap County live within an average of 6 taxing districts: schools, ports, city government, fire districts, county, water districts, sewer districts … each of which has its own map. No wonder it gets confusing.

    According to my notes for the original 98312 story, the postmaster at the Bremerton Post Office that will deliver mail to The Ridge said the decision to designate a portion of the development with a Bremerton ZIP was made by U.S. Postal Service administrators in Seattle. They looked at the fact that a portion of the property is within City of Bremerton boundaries, and at the fact that “historically” the area was part of the Bremerton watershed (as in part of the forestland within Bremerton boundaries, not referring to the source of water).

    Currently, according to environmental reporter Chris Dunagan, Bremerton gets 60 percent its water from the Union River reservoir. The rest is from wells.

    So much for watershed. Now about the Urban Growth Area boundary: Post Office administrators looked at the UGA to which you refer, and, seeing that it was adjacent to Bremerton land, they said, “Well let’s just make this Bremerton,too.” That refers only to a designation for the purpose of mail delivery. That area could be annexed by either Bremerton or Port Orchard.

    And, to make things more complicated, a part of that UGA on the other side of Old Clifton Road is designated 98367, South Kitsap. As McCormick Woods Land Company president Brad Skrobut pointed out, that’s likly to make for some real confusion when talk of annexation becomes more substantial.

    To further complicate the situation, part of the development is unincorporated land with a 98367 ZIP. So part of The Ridge will have a Bremerton ZIP, part will have a Port Orchard ZIP. Potentially two next door neighbors could live in different Zip code zones. Goofy, huh?

    I hope to do a follow up later this summer with a focus on how the situation at The Ridge could play out when annexation becomes a reality.

    I predict plenty of confusion all around.

    Chris Henry

  11. Chris,
    It was more than just forestland. I guess it comes down to the definition of a watershed. There was an article in the Sun a few years back that discussed the worries of Bremerton City leaders over water supplies. So, the irony still exists over why the land was sold, especially against the wishes of local citizens.

    Relating this story, however, in no way is meant to attack those who are purchasing houses on the hill. It was meant as a historic reference.

    From what I understand the citizens who live along Berry Lake Road and Anderson Hill haven’t been interested in being annexed by Port Orchard (and certainly not Bremerton, which would confuse everything).

    The sad part is that citizens end up with so little say sometimes. So, we’ll see how it turns out.

  12. Chris,

    I’m wondering if you can tell me if I’m making a correct assumption regarding municipal taxes. I’m assuming that my neighbors at the Ridge who own property that is technically within the designated City of Bremerton territory are therefore liable for municipal taxes? (I’m not sure why they wouldn’t be.) That might be an issue for some homeowners. That entire area is called the “Northwest Corporate Campus” in the City of Bremerton Comprehensive Plan. It’s intended to be developed as “a well integrated mixed-use Employment Center” and might see substantial growth. That might mean substantial taxes. Isn’t the City aggressively marketing this new area for business development? (I guess I can’t act surprised when a Taco Bell, three Starbucks and some Office Space sprout up there.)

    I really hope you’re able to follow up on this later this summer. It keeps getting more and more interesting.


  13. I moved to beautiful Sunnyslope, with hopes of getting away from the troubles of Bremerton, to include not being part of Port Orchard as well. Well folks, it looks like I messed up and didn’t move far enough away. Maybe my next step, in a few years or so, should be to get out of Kitsap County entirely and finish the rest of my senior years in the “outback” of Mason County and living in a log cabin. All I see, when I look at these new housing projects being built, is a human form of beehives. What I don’t want or need are more neighbors in expensive homes that are tightly packed like sardines in a can.

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