Category Archives: Annexations

All PO Citizens Invited to Weigh in on McCormick Woods Park

Public Invited to Comment on McCormick Woods Park

Parks planning meeting set for Wednesday at City Hall.
By Chris Henry
Planning for a 63.5-acre public park in the McCormick Woods-Sunnyslope area advanced Tuesday, when the Port Orchard City Council approved a contract with a Seattle architectural firm that will help citizens develop a master site plan for the park.
Money for park development, including professional consultant services, came to the city as a result of annexation of the McCormick Woods urban growth area last year. The county had collected $643,732 in development impact fees to cover the planning and creation of the park, and the money was transferred to the city under an annexation inter-local agreement. The city now is responsible for developing and maintaining the park on Old Clifton Road.
Jones & Jones Architects and Landscape Consultants of Seattle will lead the planning process. A meeting with the McCormick Village Park subcommittee is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday at City Hall. The city is paying the award-winning design company $40,000 for its services.
Among the questions Jones & Jones staff will ask: “What makes the acreage of the proposed park unique in terms of topography and history?” “Who will be using the park, and what uses will it serve?” “What method will the city use to create the park?”
All citizens of Port Orchard, not only those on the park committee or in the McCormick Woods area, are invited to weigh in on planning for the park, said development director James Weaver.
Park committee meetings, listed on the city’s website,, are open to the public. The committee will meet through September. The city will conduct public hearings about the committee’s proposals through December and adopt the park plan before the end of the year. Construction on the park will likely begin in September 2011.
Information on the park can be found on the city’s website or call the planning department at (360) 876-4991.

McCormick Village Park (Proposed)

Bethel North Annexation Not Dead Yet

For a map of the area, courtesy of the City of Port Orchard, see below.

Proponents have strategy to extend the deadline for approval of the annexation petition.
By Chris Henry
Proponents of an annexation on the Bethel Corridor that would bring 387 parcels of property into the City of Port Orchard have not given up their plan, even though the original six month deadline for collecting signatures on the annexation petition has come and gone.
Joining the city would give property owners within South Kitsap’s main commercial thoroughfare the advantage of urban level services, said Gary Anderson of Kitsap Commercial Group. The city stands to gain increased revenue from the annexation, which includes the Safeway shopping complex at the corner of Bethel Avenue and Tremont Street, Walmart and the site of a future Home Depot.
The city has already annexed the Fred Meyer shopping complex at the south end of the corridor, as well as other properties at the intersection of Bethel Avenue and Sedgwick Road.
The total assessed value of properties within the 555-acre annexation area is $145 million. Property owners representing at least 60 percent of the total value must sign the petition for the annexation to move forward. Proponents have a six-month window within which to gather the required number of signatures.
The total assessed value represented by signatures collected to date is 53 percent, a mere 7 percentage points shy of the goal. The earliest signatures on the petition are dated July 29.
Although the six-month deadline is up, Anderson and others leading the annexation campaign have a strategy for staying in the game.
According to City Attorney Greg Jacoby, signatures older than sixth months are automatically invalid. However, nothing prevents those property owners from signing again.
“It’s as if those people have never signed,” Jacoby said. “All the other signatures on the petition though remain valid. So in effect you can have a rolling petition.”
Anderson’s plan is to revisit those who signed early in the campaign and ask them to sign again, with the new date recorded as the legal date of signing. Once the 60 percent threshold has been met, as long as all signatures are within a six month time frame, the petition is valid in favor of annexation.
The total assessed value required is just more than $87 million. So far just more than $77 million is accounted for (including signatures that are more than six months old).
“Trying to get that last 10 percent is always the toughest,” said Anderson.
Large retailers that have signed include Safeway and Rite Aid, Anderson said. Walmart and Home Depot are in the midst of processing permits with the county, and so have not signed. According to Anderson, representatives of those companies have said they’re not opposed to annexation but leery of affecting the permit process. If the annexation is approved, the Walmart and Home Depot properties would become part of the city regardless of if they’ve signed, because they are within annexation boundaries.

Bethel North Boundary Map

Port Orchard Council to Vote Tuesday on Tax Ordinance

The Port Orchard City Council on Tuesday will vote on an ordinance declaring substantial need to raise taxes up to one percent. In past years, the city has automatically been able to do so. But this year, an ordinance is necessary because of negative inflation and the fact Port Orchard’s population has increased beyond the threshold that triggers a vote in such a case.

Read the complete story here.

Also at the meeting, the council will issue proclamations recognizing November as Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month and recognizing Deliah Rene Luke for spearheading the Paint the Town event in August.

I’ll be at the meeting. Comment here, or e-mail me with your questions for the council,

McCormick Woods Voters: Size Matters

When McCormick Woods development was annexed into Port Orchard in July it added 1,280 parcels of property to city boundaries and increased the population from just more than 8,000 to more than 10,000. According to James Weaver, director of development, it was the largest annexation population-wise in the city’s history.

For city leaders, the increase in size means Port Orchard is in a better position to compete for state grants and other government funding.

The annexation also added more than 1,500 registered voters to the city’s rolls. The annexation was finalized too late for McCormick Woods to be included in the August primary, but now that the number of voters has been tallied for the general election, it’s apparent McWoods voters could carry significant influence in the Nov. 3 city council races (two of four contested).

According to Dolores Gilmore, Kitsap County elections manager, there were 3,602 Port Orchard voters before the primary. After the annexation, the number of registered voters has jumped to 5,150.

Gilmore has not researched the stats, but she’s confident McWoods was one of the largest annexations in the county’s recent history.

For candidates, it’s 1,500 more voters to hit with door-belling and campaign signs.

“They (McWoods residents) have a known track record, as I understand it,” said Carolyn Powers, defending her seat on the council against challenger Cindy Lucarelli. “They have a high number of registered voters and a high turn-out. It’s a whole new picture you might say for the City of Port Orchard.”

At the same time, said Powers, “we can’t forget about the rest of the people who have been the core of the city.”

Although the city now has more than 5,000 voters, candidates won’t automatically have to file campaign finance reports with the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission, at least until the next election. Candidates in cities with fewer than 5,000 voters only need to file if they are raising more than $5,000 in funding. Those in cities with more than 5,000 voters must file regardless of how much they raise. The PDC looks at the number of registered voters in the previous general election, so the old rules still apply to the Nov. 3 election.

Powers, Fred Chang and Amy Igloi Matsuno have filed this election with the PDC, raising to date $5,505.92, $7,886.90 and $19,290.27 respectively.

Look for coverage of contested city council races Saturday in the Kitsap Sun.

Find information on all candidates in the Kitsap Sun’s election guide.

McCormick Woods Annexation Results in Utility Rate Hike

Port Orchard officials have delayed implementing a rate increase related to sewer system improvements.
By Chris Henry
Port Orchard residents will see an increase of $11 bimonthly in their sewer and water bill as a result of the recent McCormick Woods annexation.
The city council held a public hearing on the impending rate hike Tuesday, but no one testified.
Before becoming part of the city in July, McCormick Woods was subject to a 50 percent surcharge on sewer and water services, which are provided by the city. Now that the annexation is complete, the surcharge goes away, and the entire city — including McCormick Woods residents — must absorb the loss of revenue.
The city’s financial department has calculated it will cost an additional $3.50 for water and $7.50 for sewer bimonthly per household to make up the utility shortfall totaling an estimated $280,000 to $300,000 per year. The actual amount depends on consumption, according to City Treasurer Kris Tompkins.
City residents currently pay $72 every other month for sewer. That will increase to $79.30 every other month with the change.
The city has a two tier system for water, charging $15 every other month for consumption of less than 3,000 gallons per month and $19 for more than 3,000 per month. The city also has an overage charge for people who consume more than 5,000 per month. The new water rates will be $18.50 and $22.50 every other month for the two tiers.
The city’s water rates are low compared to other cities and utility districts in Kitsap County, Dorsey told the council. Port Orchard is the only utility provider in the county that does not have a commodity charge, he said. Users are charged only the flat rate per tier, not per gallon.
The city’s utility committee decided that now is not the time to institute a rate hike to finance the city’s capital improvement program for sewers. The city and Westsound Utility District jointly own the wastewater treatment plant on Beach Drive. Port Orchard, as part of its comprehensive plan for sewers, identified work that needs to be done on the system over the next several years.
The utility committee felt that adding an additional $11.20 bimonthly for sewer system improvements would put too much of a burden on residents, especially given the economy, Dorsey said. So the city will have to wait to fund those repairs and improvements, at least through 2009. The city will revisit how to fund sewer system improvements in 2010.
The city has also had to impose other utility rates and rate increases over the past couple years, another factor in the committee’s decision, Dorsey said.
There was a water rate increase in 2008, and at the beginning of this year, the city instituted a new stormwater utility, in compliance with state and federal regulations on water quality. The money will be used to prevent pollutants from making their way into Puget Sound through stormwater runoff. Cities and counties around the state have had to comply with the state law.

Seattle Web Site Mistakes Port Orchard for Bremerton

It’s a common error. People hear “Bremerton” and they think “Kitsap County.” Hence the persistent perception that we are still the Bremerton Sun.

Check out the Seattle Web site urbanspoon, where Bert Chadwick gives the Koi Bistro a thumbs up in his “I Won’t Carp About Koi Bistro” post. Chadwick writes,”Koi Bistro is one of those that have taken the shell of a failed restaurant (Baja Outpost) and moved in like a hermit crab .” The site clearly lists the restaurant on Piperberry Way in “Port Orchard” under the heading of “Bremerton,” linking to a list of that city’s restaurants.

And check out the Stimulus Watch Web site, where you can browse by state/city. You’ll see the only Kitsap city listed is Bremerton. Well now doesn’t that make the rest of us feel special?

No doubt this is why writers of the Bremerton Beat have such a hard time getting over themselves. I was on vacation when typically mild-mannered Editor David Nelson became intoxicated with power and put Port Orchard back on notice.

Let me spell it out for those of you who can’t tell Port Orchard from Bremerton.

Bremerton, population 37,259 … Port Orchard, 8,500 (soon to be @10,000)

Bremerton, north of Sinclair Inlet … Port Orchard, south of Sinclair Inlet

Bremerton, medium-sized waterfront urban center with semi-deserted streets … Port Orchard, potentially charming waterfront village with semi-deserted streets

Bremerton, annexing the South Kitsap Industrial Area (effective April 1)

Port Orchard, annexing McCormick Woods (finalization expected in early August)

Bremerton: Wants to provide sewer to SKIA. The city is building a sewer line through Gorst that could be extended out to the SKIA area.

Port Orchard: Wants to provide sewer to SKIA. The city’s recently approved comprehensive plan update shows that the city plans to extend a sewer line out through the McCormick Woods/Sunnyslope area with the potential to serve SKIA. Bremerton challenged Port Orchard’s comp plan before the Kitsap County Boundary Review Board. The dispute between the two cities over Port Orchard’s plans to sewer SKIA have not been resolved.

Does that mean that all this rivalry between the two cities is about sewer line envy?

Bethel Annex: One PDF Worth 1,000 Words

A couple of comments on today’s story indicated confusion. My apologies. Here’s a map that hopefully will help clarify what’s going with annexation of the Bethel Corridor.

Red = Sedgwick Bethel Annexation, nearly complete, includes the Fred Meyer sales tax revenue cherry on top.

Yellow and Green = Geiger Road Annexations, in the works

Purple = Geiger North, yet to come; this is the piece the county would like to see in place to create a less “illogical” boundary between city and unincorporated properties. The county is not rushing to let go of the revenue from these mostly commercial properties, but sees the annexation into Port Orchard as inevitable and logical according to the Growth Management Act. The revenue sharing agreement between cities and county calls for revenue sharing of 25/75 percent (city/county) the first year, 50/50 the second, 75/25 the third, before the county loses the revenue altogether. But, as Councilman John Clauson points out, the city assumes 100 percent of the responsibility the first year. Eric Baker, director of special projects for the county, said of this consequence of the interlocal agreement it’s understood that the jurisdiction assuming responsibility for an area won’t realize a net gain within the first few years.

Enough words, here’s the map (Courtesy City of Port Orchard)


Port Orchard: Annexations Are a Hot Topic

Annexation, specifically of the Bethel Corridor, was the center of a somewhat heated discussion between City of Port Orchard officials and South Kitsap Commissioner Charlotte Garrido at a City Council work study session on March 17. (see below)

The city will hold public hearings forums on two pending annexations on both Monday and Tuesday.

The Planning Commission will meet at 7 p.m. Monday. On its agenda is the McCormick Woods Annexation and the Geiger Road Annexation, in the vicinity of the intersection of Sedgwick Road (Highway 160) and Geiger Road east of Highway 16. The City Council will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday to follow up with public hearings on both annexations.

The Geiger annexation is related to the Bethel-Sedgwick Road Annexation approved in February by the City Council. The Bethel Road annexation involves 39 properties worth a combined $42.4 million, including Fred Meyer, valued at $19.2 million, and representing about 45 percent of the total. The Bethel-Sedgwick annexation will be final March 29.

The Planning Commission will also discuss the Sidney & Sedgwick Corridor Sub-Area Plan.

The City Council will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday to follow up with public hearings on both annexations.

Garrido, at the work study meeting, said the county is concerned about the way annexation along the Bethel-Sedgwick corridor is progressing. The county recognizes the city as the appropriate jurisdiction to eventually serve the Bethel-Sedgwick corridor. But with annexations occurring piecemeal along the corridor, the Kitsap County Sheriff’s office and public works departments are running into some confusion and difficulty serving the area, Garrido said.

The city has so far taken the approach of waiting for property owners to take the lead on annexation. There has been some talk among city officials of running a ballot measure that would allow the city to annex the entire urban growth area at once.

At the meeting, City Attorney Greg Jacoby asked if the council would be interested in drafting a policy to define the boundaries of the area it wishes to annex. The alternative would be to remain with the property-owner driven method of annexation, Jacoby said.

The city has been approached by property owners in a large portion of Bethel Road, identified as the Bethel Corridor North annexation. If and when these parcels become part of the city, Port Orchard would have jurisdiction over the the entire Bethel Corridor from current city limits to just beyond Sedgwick Road.

“I don’t think we’ve made any secret of the fact we want to annex the Bethel Corridor,” said Coppola. “This should be our goal for this year.”

Other city council members, including John Clauson and Fred Olin, expressed eagerness to annex Bethel North and as much of the rest of the city’s urban growth area as possible.

Until that happens, said Garrido, pending annexations make for “illogical” boundaries between the city and the county, resulting in “unnecessary and costly law enforcement and transportation issues.”

“Citizens don’t know where we stop and the city starts,” Garrido said.

Coppola responded by criticizing the county for its lack of progress on the Bethel Corridor Plan. The cost of widening the road to accommodate current and future traffic in South Kitsap’s main commercial area has risen to $43 million since 2000, when the Bethel Corridor Plan was adopted by the county’s board of commissioners. The county has spent $1.8 million out of its road fund on design and permitting, but the project is essentially at a standstill. A survey conducted by the county last year showed a lack of public support for a special taxing district or other taxing mechanisms to pay for it.

“The county’s had 20 years to do this, and they’ve spent all their money in Central Kitsap,” said Coppola., apparently referring to the Waaga Way interchange. “The county has not demonstrated the first bit of interest in fixing this problem.”

“I didn’t come to argue with you,” said Garrido. “I did tell you when you came to my office (at a meeting earlier this year) that I had some difficulty with this.”

Garrido said she was looking for coordination between the city and county that would make for a “smooth transition.”

Coppola said Port Orchard has been trying to work with the county, but city officials are chafing at the delay on improving an area critical to the city’s economic development.

“We’re not blaming you,” he later said to Garrido.” Please accept my apology if it seems like we’re taking our frustration out on you. We are frustrated.”

John Clauson said the Bethel Annexation shouldn’t be made the “poster child” for annexations gone awry, when the interlocal agreement between the county and Kitsap cities – drafted about a decade ago in anticipation of annexations happening now – is proving vague on exactly what a smooth transition is supposed to look like.

Clauson suggested that the Kitsap Regional Coordinating Council, which includes all cities and the county, should look take a big picture look at annexations and the interlocal agreement. Part of the agreement calls for revenue sharing between jurisdictions for the first three years, with the city receiving 25 percent of sales tax revenue the first year, 50 percent the second and 75 percent the third. The purpose is to allow the county to make a gradual fiscal adjustment to the loss of revenue.

But Clauson pointed out an unintended consequence of the agreement. In the case of McCormick Woods, for example, the city will assume “100 percent” of the responsibility for road maintenance and law enforcement the first year, but they’ll only be getting 25 percent of the sales tax revenue

“From what we see, it’s going to cost us money to annex, but it’s what we’re supposed to be doing,” Clauson said.

But where McCormick Woods is almost entirely residential, the Bethel Corridor is mostly retail, including the heavy hitting Fred Meyer and Walmart, with Home Depot to come.

Loss of revenue from the area is sure to hit the already fiscally challenged county where it hurts, not matter how gradually it happens.

Councilman Rob Puutaansuu, who is on the city’s utility committee, addressed that issue, saying business owners along the Bethel Corridor have come to the city anxious to receive an “urban level of services.” He said the city will not just cherry pick the lucrative businesses on the corridor but will “do the right thing” and welcome residential property owners in the area surrounding the Bethel Corridor and beyond.

Garrido said she has approached state and federal legislators seeking federal stimulus money for the Bethel Corridor, which was not on the Puget Sound Regional Coordinating Council’s recommended list of projects for initial transportations stimulus funding.

McWoods: A Big Fish in Port Orchard’s Pond

The McCormick Woods Annexation Committee on Tuesday submitted to the City of Port Orchard its petition for annexation into the city. Owners representing 76 percent of properties within annexation boundaries have given their consent to the proposal. The law requires a 75 percent approval rate.

Given the required steps before the City Council can issue its final approval, the soonest the annexation could take effect would be in early August.

When the annexation is finalized, Port Orchard’s population — now at about 8,500 — will increase by about 2,000 residents. That will make the city a slightly bigger fish in the statewide sea of municipalities competing for funding and legislative clout.

Residents of the McCormick Woods area, now a relatively small fish in county waters, will, as city residents, potentially wield considerable influence over Port Orchard’s future, said committee chairman Dick Davis. They would make up about 20 percent of Port Orchard’s population.

Residents would be able to vote in the November, 2009 election if the annexation is finalized by Aug. 1 as expected. They would not be able to run for city offices, however, as the filing date is June 1.

Port Orchard, as a second class city, does not have any length of residency requirements for candidates, according to Delores Gilmore of the Kitsap County Auditor’s office. Bremerton’s is one year; so is Poulsbo’s.

Once Port Orchard does annex McCormick Woods its classification as a city could change and it could be subject to different rules. There’s a lot yet to be sorted out about how the annexation will affect the city. Presumably the issue of voting districts will resurface once the annexation is complete.

SKIA Annexation Part One

Over at the Caucus blog we’ve got a little ditty about SKIA anexation. You might not be surprised to hear that I’m seeing slightly different characterizations from Port Orchard and Bremerton. The official word from the board, for now, is the annexation of the northern property was accepted as submitted. A written decision will be issued later this month.