I’m Here to Bore You With Talks of Land Use Planning

Brynn Grimley writes:

I have to admit, I had hoped my first post to this blog would be much more exciting so that you all would fall instantly in love with me and adore my posts more than my competitor, oops I mean coworker, Steve Gardner. But alas I’m here to bore you with land use discussions.

I attended last night’s rural outreach meeting in Seabeck. Here’s my sum up of that meeting, and the larger rural outreach program the county is currently undertaking. While it might seem boring, if you live in Kitsap’s rural areas, this will impact you. Here’s the post:

Two down one to go.

The county’s Department of Community Development has held two of its three planned rural outreach meetings — one out at Long Lake in South Kitsap and one out in Seabeck for Central Kitsap.

The third meeting is scheduled for Tuesday March 30 in Port Gamble, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

The purpose of the meetings is for county planning staff to hear from rural residents about what they’d like to see in Kitsap’s rural areas in the future. Things they’re asking include:

– Are dog parks an appropriate use in the rural area? What about trails?
– Would you rather see housing developments clustered, where homes are built close together surrounded by more open space?
– Or would you rather see developments spread out with open space peppered between the homes?
– Do you want to see commercial uses, but ones that fit with the lifestyle — for example a small community grocery store over a large grocery chain?

These are the questions county planners are hoping to get answered as they complete an aggressive work plan to define Kitsap’s rural communities in time for an update to the county’s comprehensive plan by the end of the year.

At the meeting Wednesday in Seabeck, Community Development Director Larry Keeton told a group of about 40 people: “Kitsap County is not a rural county in the traditional sense of the word.”

Kitsap’s density per acre is higher than the average for most rural counties, he said.

There weren’t too many questions from CK residents in attendance; some concerns were aired about shoreline preservation and access being cut off to Stavis Bay because of a wrong shoreline designation. The county is updating its Shoreline Master Program presently so the residents hope to amend the problem during that process.

Another person expressed concern about too many people moving into Kitsap’s rural areas, stating effectively that she believes people don’t want to live in Bremerton so they’re moving out into the surrounding rural areas.

Keeton assured her any population changes — which could alter urban growth areas — won’t be done through this process. And more importantly, the county will not address its urban growth area boundaries until 2014. For UGA boundaries to be expanded the county has to prove there isn’t enough existing land to accommodate population growth in that area. Because the county can accommodate growth through increasing housing density by going up instead of out, it isn’t likely the boundaries will be altered significantly, Keeton said. The purpose of an urban growth area is to prevent urban sprawl, not contribute to it.

After the final community meeting Tuesday in North Kitsap planning staff will take the comments received from the community and analyze it. The hope is to have the rural element plan ready for county planning commission review by August and to have the planning commission’s recommendation before the Board of County Commissioners by October. Final approval by the board would come in December.

For those who were unable to attend the community meetings, but who have comments about what they want to see in their rural neighborhoods, you can contact county planner Katrina Knutson via email: kknutson@co.kitsap.wa.us; or by calling (360) 337-5777.

For more information on the rural project visit the county’s Web site.

3 thoughts on “I’m Here to Bore You With Talks of Land Use Planning

  1. Curious. Why no coverage about the South Kitsap meeting? I attended the meeting and it seemed there were at least 30+ people there. Questions were asked. Some answers were given. Yet I do not remember anything in the Sun about the meeting results. Do we in South Kitsap not register on the Suns radar? Did I miss the article or discussion about rural South Kitsap?

    I live over 10 miles away from the Long Lake area, what is called “West of Hywy 16”. You know the area that is rapidly being absorbed by Bremerton and Port Orchard. The area where between SKIA, McCormick Woods, and the shot down NASCAR track, Bemerton, and Port Orchard that is becoming the textbook case for “urban/rural/commercial/whatever the heck” zoning that our commissioners decide.

    I can not wait until the next public meeting on any issue that may affect the voter, taxpayers or citizens of Kitsap County in the South Kitsap area. If I can not make it I know the Sun will keep me informed and up to date. Now if only pigs could fly.
    Roger Gay
    South Kitsap

  2. Roger,

    I don’t believe that this is a deliberate slight on the part of the Sun – I think that the county’s schtick is the same for all three meetings based upon reports I am getting from attendees at the Long Lake meeting.

    I suggest that a more productive use of your energy is to let the county know how you feel about their lack of foresight in planning for urban expansion in SK.

  3. Roger – As Diane said it indeed was not meant as a slight to South Kitsap. North Kitsap reporter Brynn Grimley did a story on the NK meeting focusing on four industrial areas or LAMIRDs for which the county is considering changes.

    http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2010/mar/25/county-looks-to-protect-commercial-developments/

    We will do wrap up coverage once all the meetings have taken place and the county has analyzed public opinion.

    The area in which you live surely will be a focus of discussion and concern.

    Feel free to contact me directly at chenry@kitsapsun.com with specific concerns or other issues you’d like to see addressed.

    Chris Henry, South Kitsap/ government reporter

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