A Bird’s-Eye View of Walton’s Pond: Open Space in City Limits

Laurie Walton, the owner of a 10-acre property on Melcher Street, could be the first City of Port Orchard resident to receive a tax break through classification of her land as open space.

View Walton’s Pond in a larger map
Walton’s property, which she and her late husband Bob bought in 1972, is zoned for eight dwelling units per acre, but she wants to leave it undeveloped.
Walton’s is the first application to cross the city council’s path. The council will hold a public hearing and vote on her request May 26.
The city is likely to see more such applications as land within Port Orchard’s urban growth area becomes incorporated, said Development Director James Weaver. Walton’s case sets a procedural precedent for the city, he said.

The property includes five wooded acres with a pond and wetlands. Down the hill is another five-acre parcel of old pastureland, with a small pond frequented by ducks and frogs. Coyotes, deer and numerous birds are frequent visitors, according to Walton and her neighbors.
State law provides that, as a trade off for leaving the land as is, Walton’s property taxes would drop by 60 percent, more than $2,500, based on 2009 values and tax rates.

Walton welcomes the tax break, but it’s not just about the money, she said. As development in the neighborhood has occurred over the years, the property has become an oasis for wildlife and a place for neighborhood children to explore nature.
Walton plans to leave the property available to casual visitors and groups of school children, as she has in the past. She wants to dedicate ”Walton’s Pond” to Bob’s memory.

Read more later at kitsapsun.com – Do you know of parcels in the UGA? that might qualify for open space tax classification?

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