Weigh in Monday on Port Orchard’s Comprehensive Plan

At 7 p.m. Monday the City of Port Orchard Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on the city’s draft comprehensive plan update.

What does this have to do with you, the average Joe-PO (or Jane)? See the paragraph below regarding rezones.*

An update of the plan is past due. Mayor Lary Coppola and the city council have made the comp plan a priority this year because being in line with the state’s Growth Management Act will allow the city to apply for grants for which they have been ineligible.

The document, released to the public Sept. 15, contains proposed goals and policies that will affect where people live and work, how they get around the city, the services they receive and the taxes they pay. A copy of the draft comp plan is on the city’s Web site for your reading pleasure.

Port Orchard’s plan addresses land use, housing, parks, natural systems, economic development, utilities, transportation, shorelines and capital facilities. The plan is based on a forecast growth of 23,000 additional city residents over the next 20 years, including those in current urban growth areas and McCormick Woods, which is likely to be annexed within the next year.

* One issue that citizens should pay particular attention to is the potential effect of the proposed comp plan on taxpayers whose properties are rezoned to reflect revised policies on growth and economic development. Areas that bear a closer look are the Tremont Corridor and the Bethel Corridor.

A change in zoning — for example from residential to commercial — could trigger an increase in assessed value, Kitsap County Assessor Jim Avery said, but only if development in the surrounding area were to drive up the market value of the property.

“There is a potential effect,” Avery said. “Is it automatic? We like to think we use some rationale when we revalue.”

If the increase in assessed value was greater as a result of the zoning change than others in the county, then taxes would go up as that rezoned property would be assuming a larger share of the tax burden, Avery said.

At Monday’s meeting, the planning commission will listen to public testimony on the plan, deliberate and, in all liklihoos, make a recommendation to the city council, which will also hold a public hearing on the plan before voting on its adoption.

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