McCormick Woods Annexation Meeting set for Jan. 10

Dick Davis, a former South Kitsap School District bond booster, and other McCormick Woods residents have taken the first steps toward a possible annexation with the City of Port Orchard. The group has formed committees to handle tasks involved, namely setting the boundaries of the areas to be annexed and collecting signatures petitioning the city to consider the annexation.

To get the ball rolling, 10 percent of property owners within the designated area would need to sing the preliminary petition. The petition would be reviewed by county and city staff before moving to the City Council for action. To finalize the annexation, 75 percent of property owners must approve it in a separate petition. An annexation would take an estimated six to nine months, City Attorney Greg Jacoby said.

Areas eligible for annexation include McCormick Woods and two new developments, The Ridge and The Rutherford, as well as McCormick West, an area yet to be developed.

The annexation group has scheduled a public meeting for 7 p.m. Jan. 10 at the Clubhouse at McCormick Woods. According to Davis, the meeting will bring folks up to date on the annexation boundary effort and the petition drive progress. Anyone so inclined can sign the preliminary petition that night.

The City of Port Orchard recently sent a mailing to residents of the area eligible for annexation with a lengthy Q&A from the first public annexation meeting Nov. 15. In case you missed it, I’m pasting a copy below.

Once you’ve had a chance to read the fine print, so to speak, let me know what you think about the proposed annexation and if your mind changed as a result of reading the city’s information.


The City of Port Orchard and the McCormick Woods Association jointly sponsored an informational meeting regarding opportunities for annexation of the McCormick Woods area to the City of Port Orchard. The following is a summary of the questions and ideas shared at the meeting.

Will the zoning laws change or stay? Will there be commercial or industrial land uses next to McCormick Woods?
The policy of the City is to locate compatible uses next to each other. That means, unless requested by nearby residents, commercial or industrial uses would not be located next to McCormick Woods. Certain commercial uses in the McCormick “village” area are already approved by Kitsap County and would be allowed. Rezoning requires a public process and may also need a separate comprehensive plan amendment. There is land to the southwest of the existing Industrial Park close to the Old Clifton off ramp that has annexed into the City as industrial land but it does not “touch” the McCormick developments.

Can the City increase the densities in McCormick Woods?
McCormick Woods is approved for 1139 units through Kitsap County. That can only be changed through an application and public hearing process and this applies whether McCormick Woods is in the County or in the City.

The City suggests that an additional 6 FTEs (full-time-equivalents) would be required to service McCormick Woods? How would the City pay for these positions?
The City is committed to maintaining the same level of service for all areas of the City, including any new areas annexed. Current projections of that include McCormick Woods as a neighborhood within the City show a balance between costs and revenues. Besides property taxes, other sources of revenue are sales tax, utility taxes, building and land use fees, state shared revenues, and court fines. All of these revenue sources would be used to pay for the increased costs that come with adding a new area to the City, including the FTEs.

As described, annexation requires a “yes” by 75% of the property (assessed) value within the annexation area. How does this work within McCormick Woods? How does the developer’s ownership figure in?
The City has not analyzed the property values to see how this would work out. It appears, however, that the assessed value of over 700 homes is greater than the assessed value of the undeveloped land owned by the developer. Ultimately, it will depend on the boundaries of the area that is proposed to be annexed.

What is the extent of the property proposed to be annexed? Couldn’t the developer run the process?
The boundary of any area to be annexed depends on the wishes of the residents. There is no proposed boundary at this time. The developer of this area is GEM 1 LLC. The City has not calculated the role of the developer, nor has the developer at this time expressed any interest in annexing to the City.

Does the City have impact fees?
No, Port Orchard does not have impact fees. The City Council could adopt them in the future but it is important to remember that impact fees are levied on new development, not on the existing property owners.

Where have the annexations been asked?
No annexations have been “asked” to date. In the early 1990’s, it was anticipated that McCormick Woods would become part of the City of Port Orchard. Then there was a period of about 10 years when nothing could happen until the Kitsap County Comprehensive Plan (under the State’s Growth Management Act) was finally adopted. Now, McCormick Woods is adjacent to the City of Port Orchard “urban growth area”. This means that, if the residents want to, McCormick Woods could be annexed into the City.

If we annex, will we have influence on land uses in and around McCormick Woods?
Yes, you would be residents of the City. As residents of the City, you have a greater voice with City Council than you do as County residents.

If we annex will the “urban ills” identified in the police statistics follow?
McCormick Woods has one of the lowest crime rates throughout the entire county and that includes the City. There are about 600 911 calls per year. This pattern should remain the same. The City is committed to maintaining their quick response times as McCormick Woods may annex.

What would happen to the trail system in McCormick Woods?
The trail system in McCormick Woods is owned and maintained by the McCormick Woods Association. This would be the same if McCormick Woods annexes to the City. There is a public easement over the westernmost trail at McCormick Woods. This public easement would also remain in place. There is an agreement between the McCormick Woods Association and The Ridge Association whereby The Ridge homeowners will pay a fee to help maintain the trails in McCormick Woods; with the anticipation the residents will use the trails. This agreement will remain in place.

Will a new stormwater management fee be added by the City?
The City does not have a fee at this time. However, the City probably will adopt a fee in 2008 to fund its obligations under the Clean Water Act. City residents will not, however, have to pay the County fee in place now, so the costs will likely balance out.

Are there “hidden costs” that residents of McCormick Woods would have to pay, such as City debt or other “improvement district” costs?
The City is not aware of any “hidden costs”. This is a thorough analysis and we have not uncovered anything else than the costs presented.

How does the McCormick Woods “vote” measure up with the current City resident vote?
Approximately, 1,575 residents of Port Orchard voted in the November election. Dick Davis, a McCormick resident, estimates that the McCormick Woods portion of registered voters is about 1,104 and the percentage of those voting is high.

What is the impact of the elimination of sewer and water surcharge? Will the rates go up?
The surcharge would be removed as soon as the annexation was effective. Next, state law requires that each utility be self-funding. That is, dollars paid to utilities cannot go into the general fund and the general fund cannot be used to pay for utilities. In order to maintain the water and sewer systems at the current level, while experiencing a decrease in revenue, the rates will need to be reviewed, and likely, some level of increase will be needed to cover all the costs of these utility systems.

What is the history of the water and sewer services to McCormick Woods?
This is a long history and cannot be easily summarized here. We have made an effort, however, in the brief summary attached. Today, the City of Port Orchard supplies both water and sewer services to McCormick Woods. For The Ridge, sewer is from the City of Port Orchard; water is from the City of Bremerton.

What is the impact of the proposed “Bethel Corridor” improvement district?
As currently being proposed by Kitsap County, the “transportation benefit district” would include McCormick Woods. This would apply whether McCormick Woods was part of the County or part of the City.

What is the exact location of the property that results in a connection between the City of Port Orchard and McCormick Woods?
Please see the map enclosed with this letter. The connection is shown with a circle around the area of the connection. (My note: I don’t see the circle in this map, but the connecting property in question is the small, darker yellow piece to the right of the large, bright yellow area that makes up McComrick Woods, The Ridge, The Rutherford and McCormick West. To orient you, the red area at the center of the map is the Sedgwick interchange on Highway 16)

Download file

Will other residents of Port Orchard start coming to McCormick Woods and start using the facilities – the trails and parks – if this annexation occurs?
The private parks and trails owned and managed by the Association will remain as private parks and trails. There is a trail that has a public easement over it that will continue to have a public easement. The roads in McCormick Woods are public roads.

Does Kitsap County concur with the annexation? It will cost the County revenue. Does the County support the annexation?
Kitsap County worked with the several cities, including Port Orchard, to establish “urban growth boundaries” as required by state law. To make up for lost revenue, the City must pay the County part of the property, sales, and admissions tax from the annexed area each year for 3 years: 75% in year 1, 50% in year 2 and 25% in year 3.

Where are we in the process?
At the very beginning! This was an “information only” meeting. If there is continued interest by the area residents, the next step is probably more information through a variety of means. After that, it takes a group of residents to design an area, set up a petition and submit it to City Council. After that, there are other steps. See the step by step process outlined in an attachment.

How does the McCormick Woods Association figure in the process or any land use process?
The Association’s role in land use and annexation focuses on providing the opportunity for public information only. The Association is limited by the CC&R’s for McCormick Woods to “the duties and powers of owning, maintaining, and administering the Common Areas and related facilities, administering and enforcing covenants, conditions and restrictions, and collecting and disbursing the assessments and charges hereinafter created, except as to certain duties and powers reserved to either Declarant or its successor.”

Is the City of Port Orchard going to maintain the 1% property tax limit?
The City has already adopted its property tax rates for 2008, which included a 1% increase. The City also receives the additional levy from new construction plus any increase in the value of state-assessed property and annexations that have occurred. In future years, the City will be required to follow whatever law the State Legislature may adopt regarding property tax limits.

How will the City upgrade downtown Port Orchard? What impact would that or any City project have on McCormick Woods?
The City is very excited about its plans to upgrade Downtown! As of 2007, the City used property taxes to pay for planning the undergrounding of utilities and for identifying parking needs. The 2008 budget identifies the implementation of the some undergrounding of utilities using property taxes. If the City finances infrastructure improvements or new public facilities through a Local Improvement District, it would be assessed on the properties receiving the benefit. If a General Obligation Bond is used, it would affect all property owners in the City. Many of the improvements to the downtown area will be the result of the efforts of the private property owners and developers.

How does the City pay for the transition cost – the 75%, 50% and 25% of taxes?
The City of Port Orchard, along with the other cities in the County, signed an interlocal agreement with Kitsap County to share lost revenue from local retail sales tax, property tax and admission tax. In its analysis of the costs of annexation, the City accounted for these costs. The revenues and the expenses about balance out.

What change can happen during the process – can the boundaries change, the vote required? What can change?
State law sets the requirements – the percent to petition, the percent to vote and so on. See the information attached regarding annexation steps. Once an initial or preliminary petition is filed, there are limited opportunities for change in the boundaries, depending on public hearings and actions by the residents and City Council.

What is McCormick Land Company’s position on annexation?
According to Doug Skrobut, President, there are a number of questions that need to be answered before the company can commit one way or the other. These include such matters as the status of existing land use agreements between the developer (GEM 1 LLC) and Kitsap County, status of applications in process such as those for McCormick West and road improvement agreements.

In the meantime, based on a back-of-the-envelope preliminary calculation, it appears that the assessed value of the developed homes outweighs the assessed value of the undeveloped property in McCormick Woods. This means that since the petition is based on assessed value the homeowners’ value outweigh the developers’ value.

In any event, according to Skrobut, the developer has no interest in either driving or preventing annexation. The leaders and decision makers are the residents.

Is Bremerton interested in annexing McCormick Woods?
While some Bremerton City Council members say there is still that right and possibility, the Mayor of Bremerton has stated that this area appears more geographically aligned with Port Orchard than it does with Bremerton and that annexation to Port Orchard appears to make sense.

How does annexation get started?
Well, the current discussion has historical roots: back in the early 1990’s it was assumed that McCormick Woods would be a part of Port Orchard; during the mid-90’s many years were spent in law suits over the growth management act; recently the growth management act resulted in the fact that eventually all urbanizing areas will be annexed to cities; and, here we are today, full circle back to a conversation about the future.

Literally, it gets started with 10% of the residents of an area filing a petition (please see the attached information). Since the meeting a group of homeowners has started to plan the next steps. If you are interested, contact Dick Davis, by email: rldjld1959@wavecable.com or phone: 895-4029.

75% PETITION ANNEXATION METHOD

Step 1:
A petition annexation is initiated by written notice to the city council of the intention to commence annexation proceedings. This notice must identify the proposed annexation area and may be signed by either:
Not less than 10% of the residents of the area proposed to be annexed; or
Owners of not less than 10% of the value of the property proposed to be annexed.

Step 2:
Upon receipt of a written notice, the city council sets a date for a meeting with the initiating parties to determine:
Whether the city will accept, reject, or geographically modify the proposed annexation
Whether the city will require the simultaneous adoption of a comprehensive plan for the annexed area; and
Whether it will require the assumption of all or any portion of existing city indebtedness by the area to be annexed.

Step 3:
If the city council accepts the annexation proposal, the initiating parties may draft and circulate a petition for signature. The petition must:
Be in writing and be addressed to the city council;
Describe the area to be annexed according to government legal subdivisions or legal plats;
Be accompanied by a map that outlines the boundaries of the property to be annexed;
If the city is requiring the assumption of all or any portion of city indebtedness and/or the adoption of a comprehensive plan for the area, state those facts, with a quotation from the meeting minutes where the council imposed such requirements;
Be signed by the owners of not less than 75% in value, according to the assessed valuation for general taxation, of the property for which annexation is petitioned;
Comply with the rules for petitions set forth in RCW 35.21.005; and
Be filed with the city council.

Step 4:
The city transmits the petition to the county assessor for a determination of the legal sufficiency of the petition.

Step 5:
The petition is also transmitted to the Boundary Review Board. If the BRB does not invoke jurisdiction, the annexation is deemed approved after 45 days. If the BRB invokes jurisdiction, then a public hearing is held and the BRB may either approve, reject, or geographically modify the proposed annexation.

Step 6:
If the BRB approves the annexation, the city council holds a public hearing and then votes whether to adopt an ordinance approving the annexation.

Step 7:
The annexation is effective on the date set forth in the annexation ordinance (typically, 5 days after publication).

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