Category Archives: Kitsap County Government

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.

Party Time in South Kitsap

South Kitsap Schools Supporters, school district officials and community members gathered at The Clubhouse at McCormick Woods to await levy results. The before and after pictures below pretty much reflect reaction of the crowd of 150 + to the news that the levy passed with 56.7 percent voter approval in preliminary results Tuesday. Never mind that the measure would have failed had Washington voters not approved a simple majority for school levies in 2007 to replace the 60 “supermajority” previously required. Shawn Cucciardi, chairman of the School Supporters, said the handy margin represents a “cuture shift” in South Kitsap, which experienced multiple levy failures in the 1990s and failed to pass a bond in 2007. This is the first time since records began to be kept in 1973 that SKSD has had 12 years of stable levy funding (will be 12 years as of 2013).

The event, featuring music by the local rock ‘n roll band The Spenders, was not paid for on the taxpayers’ nickel, Cucciardi said. Community members pooled money to cover light hors d’oeuvres. Cucciardi donated the space. There was a no-host bar. And the band played for free … they weren’t bad either.

BEFORE (District representative Aimee Warthen and school board member Patty Henderson)

SKSD Levy Results Before
SKSD Levy Results Before

AFTER (Patty Henderson and Aimee Warthen. In Background board member Keith Garton and supporter Retha Civilla
SKSD Levy Results After
SKSD Levy Results After

County Responds to Funding Questions on Bethel Corridor

On July 29, I posted a blog entry on the county’s proposals for funding a major upgrade to the Bethel Corridor. Slated to cost $43 million with bonding, the project is needed to relieve traffic congestion on South Kitsap’s major commercial corridor. county officials say. Proposals to pay for it include tax measures potentially affecting those who live in the greater South Kitsap area. The county is conducting a survey to gauge voters’ support for such a measure.

Commenter Kathryn Simpson asked why South Kitsap should be the only area taxed in such a manner to fund road improvements. Eric Baker, director of special projects for the county, sent a response to Kathryn’s question, but as a county employee, he’s discouraged from posting to the blog. So I’ll cut and paste his response.

Kathryn wrote:

How did the road improvements in Central Kitsap (Silverdale) and North Kitsap (Poulsbo area) get paid for?

To my understanding, the county portion of these improvement were paid by county funds; which come from county-wide taxes. Now we have a project in South Kitsap (finally!) and the County Commissioners think that just South Kitsap residents should pay for it?

We, in South Kitsap, have paid a share of Central and North end projects. Why shouldn’t Central and North Kitsap help pay for this project?

Kathryn Simpson

Eric wrote:

The large projects in Silverdale and North Kitsap have been paid through several funding sources including federal and state, not just local dollars.

For example, the recently begun Waaga Way Extension Road has an estimated cost of $13M, but only $6-8M is from local funds. The other funds came from the state and federal allocations as well as funds received through a competitive process. The cost of the Bethel Corridor is over $25M ($43M if bonded for twenty years).

The County is actively pursuing such state and federal funding for Bethel, but has been unsuccessful to date. These efforts will continue, but the County needs to look at all options to alleviate the existing and future traffic issue of this roadway.

Additionally, the possible taxes and fees you referenced in your story (TBD and CRID) are not being considered only for Bethel and South Kitsap. Improvements to Bucklin Hill Road, Ridgetop Blvd., State Highway 104 and 305 will be looking at similar funding mechanisms, paid for by the citizens that benefit from them. You mentioned these but the blogs seemed to have missed this point.

On a related post, Bob Meadows had this question:

Is this the only explanation we will be given about the county’s decision to take back the funding from existing revenues which had been offered last spring and summer for the Bethel Corridor project?

“If people aren’t willing to pay anything, we don’t have a project,” Angel said. “A lot of people believe there is money to do this project. There is not.”

I guess I could take Angel literally — there is no funding at all, so we can never expect ever again another road improvement project anywhere in the county paid by our existing taxes, since there is no money.

I want to know when the memorial service will be held for the county’s road program. It would be a shame for it to go away with some little “good-by” from all of us.

It will save some of the commissioners’ time, though. They won’t have to update the road plan or do any of that stuff for any place at all in the county ever again, because there is no money.

If the county expects people to approve new taxes, the county leaders need to explain what happened between April and August 2007. It wasn’t a lack of county funds from existing taxes that caused the county to yank away the funds from the Bethel Corridor project.

To which Eric responded:

The size and cost of the Bethel Corridor project (twice that of the Waaga Way extension at $13M) makes it more complicated than other projects. There are road funds in the six-year transportation improvement plan (TIP), but unless a majority of these funds are dedicated to Bethel over the next 20 years the project cannot be completed. This would mean foregoing many other key projects throughout the County for a significant period of time.

The County has invested $4.2M in local money in the Bethel Corridor to date (already half of the $6-8M of local money invested in the completion of the Waaga Way Extension). These expenses include $1.5M for design and permitting and $2.7M in property acquisition. Both the CRID and TBD funding mechanisms have limited abilities to increase the funding as costs increase. If a CRID or TBD is approved, the cost estimated for the project is the generally the amount that can be collected. This would not cover increases in right-of-way costs and asphalt and other construction components that are likely to occur over the development of the project. As there can be no more money received from the TBD or the CRID after initial approval, the Road Fund will be expected to cover those increases.

With the local money already spent and the liklihood of increased costs, the local Road Fund contibution will easily be the equivolent of the Waaga Way Extension (between $6-8M), both which greatly exceed the contibution to any other County road project. The inclusion of additional local funding will greatly affect the ability for the County to fund many important projects in the rural areas such as culvert replacements (shown to be critically important by the December 3rd storm), bridge replacements and other life safety improvements throughout South Kitsap as well as the rest of the County.

With a project a cost of over $25M ($43M if bonded for 20 years), the County must look at other funding mechanisms such as the CRID and TBD if we expect to pay for the project and begin construction.

Port Orchard Issues Analysis of SKIA Sewer Plans

Following up on the story I wrote about the meeting between City of Port Orchard and Kitsap County officials, James Weaver, the city’s director of development, sent me its SKIA Infrastructure Assessment and Technical Memorandum. The 28-page document compares Bremerton’s analysis of its ability to provide infrastructure, including sewer service, to SKIA with Port Orchard’s ability to provide sewer. Bottom line, Port Orchard figures it can get the job done for 20 percent less than Bremerton. The report will be posted within a day or two on the city’s Web site.

Port Orchard Wants to Take $#!& From SKIA

It really does come down to sewers.

Port Orchard Mayor Lary Coppola, in his South Kitsap Industrial Area Multi-Jurisdictional Implementation Proposal, issued March 27, spoke in a general way of shared costs and revenues from the proposed industrial park. But the city’s primary claim to its piece of the SKIA pie is as a provider of waste water treatment, he told Kitsap County Commissioners Jan Angel and Steve Bauer at a summit with city council members Monday at City Hall. A 2003 memorandum of understanding between the city and the Port of Bremerton gives Port Orchard the legal backing to support its stance, Coppola said. At stake is substantial revenue from sewer service provided to SKIA, money the city will need as it is impacted by increased traffic from the area, Coppola said.

Coppola asked Angel, representing South KItsap, for an official statement of support for the city’s position. But Angel declined, saying, “I’m just going to put it on the table, the Port of Bremerton, part of the City of Bremerton and Port Orchard are all in my district. That’s why the county has stepped back and not taken a position, because we didn’t really feel it was our place to do so.”
Coppola said the city is prepared to dig in and defend its $21.5 million investment in Karcher Creek’s waste water treatment plant, made in large part with SKIA in mind.
“We’ve invested $4.5 million from our treasury and the balance in bonds, and we’re not walking away from that,” said Coppola.

Read the complete story later at Read Bremerton Beat reporter Andy Binion’s post on public perception of conflict between Bremerton and Port Orchard here.

Other issues of mutual interest discussed at the summit included:

McCormick Woods annexation: Angel said the county supports the annexation, even though it would mean reduced revenue for the county. Discussion centered on how the county and city would share responsibilities and revenues (in the form of impact fees) from the area.

Under an inter-local agreement between the county and Kitsap cities, transfer of revenue would be phased in over three years, with 75 percent going to the county in the first year of annexation, 50 percent the  next and 25 percent the next. Councilman John Clauson suggested responsibility for maintenance of roads to be assumed by the city could be similarly phased in.

Angel said the board of commissioners needs to discuss the annexation and make its recommendation.

Council members requested that the board put McWoods high on its list of priorities. “I would just comment maybe the sooner the better,” said Carolyn Powers. “We have a lot of people out at McCormick Woods chomping at the bit, and we can’t do it on our own.”

Bethel Corridor: The county is taking a survey to see if taxpayers would support any of several measures to fund major improvements to the 1.7-mile stretch of road that is South Kitsap’s major commercial thoroughfare. If not, the project that has been in the works since 2000 will be kaput.

“If people aren’t willing to pay anything, we don’t have a project,” Angel said. “A lot of people believe there is money to do this project. There is not.”

Coppola said that a number of Bethel property owners have approached the city about annexation. The city is likely to eventually annex the whole Bethel corridor.

Givens Center and Veteran’s Memorial Park: The county has offered the Givens Center to the City of Port Orchard, not as a gift. No suggested sale price has been mentioned. The city is analyzing the potential benefits and liabilities of the proposal, said James Weaver, the city’s director of planning and development. Jan Angel said she began talking with Copploa about the proposal when he took office in January.”I was hoping you were going to offer a price tonight,” said Angel, mostly in jest.

“I thought you wanted to give it to us,” said Coppola, also joking.

Angel said it would also be logical for the city to assume responsibility for Veteran’s Memorial Park, which is in city limits. The county understands that the city is working to create a parks department and that they would not be likely to take over the park until that had happened.

Depee Development: A Bird’s Eye View of Lake Emelia

A 28-acre proposed development near South Kitsap’s Lake Emelia – slated for 102 single-family homes – is on hold since Kitsap County Hearing Examiner Stephen A. Causseaux Jr. on June 27 sided with neighbors worried about run-off from the site polluting the lake. The parcel is located on the southwest corner of Phillips Road SE and SE Baker Road. In their appeal, the neighbors contended that property owner Fred Depee’s service on the county’s Planning Commission creates a conflict of interest. The commission advises the county’s board of commissioners on land use issues. Causseaux, in his report, said he did not consider the appellants allegations in making his ruling.

You can read the complete story tomorrow at Here’s a map of the area.

View Larger Map

Making Parks Grants “Sexy”

Kitsap County owns nearly 6,000 acres of park land, much of it undeveloped. And citizens of a growing Kitsap are clamoring for more recreational opportunities, even as economic uncertainty has slapped the county’s parks and recreation budget with the dubious “discretionary funding” label.
Parks and recreation staff have had to find creative ways to advance capital projects on the public’s (and county’s) wish list. By the end of the summer they will have applied for more than $3.5 million in grant funding from the state’s Recreation and Conservation Office. By September, they will know where they stand in relation to the hundreds of other jurisdictions competing for state recreation dollars. By March, 2009 — if all goes well — at least some of those dollars will start flowing in.
Applying for grants is nothing new, but this time around, parks and rec staff have done everything they can to ensure that the applications they submit have the fiscal equivalent of sex appeal.
“The term this time was, ‘How sexy will this grant be?” said parks and rec director Chip Faver.
The Kitsap County Board of Commissioners will vote tonight on resolutions in support of the department’s grant strategy.
Here’s a list of the grants (note: The West Peninsula Trails plan involves two grants, one for off-road vehicles, the other for equestrian and hiking trails. This document, sent by the parks department, contains a typo indicating both applications are for off-road vehicles. Presumably the grant applications themselves will be edited for such errors.)

PO Mayor-elect Plans to Stay on Planning Commission

Note: a copy of this blog entry appears on the Kitsap Caucus political blog.

Swearing in ceremony:
Port Orchard Mayor-elect Lary Coppola, along with newly elected city council members Jerry Childs and Jim Colebank, will take the oath of office at 2 p.m. Thursday at City Hall. Council member-elect Fred Olin is not available and will be sworn in at a later date.

Here’s the entry:

Tomorrow at 2 p.m. at City Hall, Lary Coppola will be sworn in as the new mayor of Port Orchard. Coppola wants to remain on the Kitsap County Planning Commission and says he can do it without conflict of interest.

South Kitsap Commissioner Jan Angel, who appointed Coppola to the commission, said she supports Coppola’s decision, at least for now. Angel said she is concerned about his ability to juggle running the city and a business, while serving on the planning commission.
“I just question whether he’s going to have the time to do that,” said Angel, who represents District 2. “It’s a bigtime commitment to the planning commission, and I want to make sure we’re adequately represented.”
Angel has advised Coppola to take some time in his new job to evaluate his ability to serve on the planning commission while meeting his other commitments.

Critical of Coppola’s plan to stay on the commission is fellow commissioner Jim Sommerhauser. He said it would create a conflict of interest for Coppola to represent the county by voting on land use issues regarding areas eligible for annexation into the city. Coppola, who believes he is in line for chairmanship of the commission, said he will only vote to break a tie, and will recuse himself from votes that involve a clear conflict of interest. Sommerhauser said that would leave South Kitsap poorly represented on the nine-member commission, with three representatives for each of the the county commissioner districts.

Sommerhauser said he is speaking as an individual and not as a planning commission representative.

Coppola also will continue to write his West Sound Politics blog and his column in the Kitsap Business Journal, both of which he suspended after announcing his candidacy. Now that the election is past, Coppola said, he will once again publish his opinions, with the disclaimer that he represents himself alone and no official position. The title of his column in the December issue is, “He’s baaack …”

“I don’t intend to use it as a tool for anything other than to express my thoughts,” Coppola said. “They won’t reflect any official positions.”

Your thoughts?

Salmon Recovery Funding Q&A

We recently received a comment on the Blogs and Budgets entry in which Blue Light questioned county funding for salmon recovery.

Here’s what the writer had to say:
This weekend I read an article in which the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office was bemoaning budgetary cuts. And then I came upon this document whereby our county salmon recovery officials are proposing $40 million in recovery projects over the next THREE YEARS for the EAST HALF OF THE KITSAP PENINSULA. According to the document, $25 million is to come from local sources. View the document here.

*****end Blue Light’s comment ***********

As it turns out, environmental reporter Chris Dunagan just wrote on this topic.

Dunagan was out of town when the question/observation came in, so prior to the article’s publication, I asked County Administrator Nancy Buonanno-Grennan if anyone there could provide some insight. Here’s what she had to say:

Chris – I asked staff the answer to your question. Here is their response:

Last year, the US NOAA Fisheries Service requested information on the 50-year Puget Sound Salmon Recovery Plan from all 14 Puget Sound salmon recovery/watershed planning areas. Two of those watershed planning areas are in Kitsap County.

NOAA specifically requested estimates of the costs to implement all of the salmon recovery programs and projects that were included in the Plan. These actions were to be prioritized into a 3 year list, which was then reviewed and approved (for consistency with the Plan) by federal scientists. This list of actions communicated to the state and federal governments are the estimated total costs of projects that would be needed in order to accomplish the goal of recovering federally-listed species of endangered salmon in the Puget Sound Region. The Washington State Salmon Recovery Funding Board (SRFB) will only fund projects on the 3 year list.

Project cost estimates include what other non-state SRFB funds could be expected if this list were fully funded. Other funds reflect no specific entity but rather a combination of federal, local, volunteer and private, non-profit levels of contribution.

Only a portion of this comprehensive Puget Sound-wide list of projects shows Kitsap County as the project sponsor. Of those, less than five include an estimate of potential County funds that would go towards the total funding needed.

We appreciate the interest and concern regarding plans, programs and projects dedicated to the recovery of our endangered salmon stocks. If there are any questions or if additional information is needed, please contact Patty Charnas, Natural Resources and Environmental Review Manager, Kathy Peters, of Community Development who coordinates work on salmon recovery for West Sound Watersheds or Richard Brocksmith, Lead Entity for Salmon Recovery, Hood Canal Planning Area. The Community Development staff may be reached at 337-7181.

Thanks –

Nancy Buonanno Grennan
County Administrator