Category Archives: Manchester Community Plan

Planning Consultant Undaunted by Spruce House Denial

The Kitsap County Hearing Examiner has denied a conditional use permit application for Spruce House, a proposed three-story development in Manchester. Planning consultant William Palmer says his client, John Park of BJP LLC, Gig Harbor, will likely appeal the decision.
Some of the town’s residents were unhappy with the scale of the building, plans for which received preliminary approval before the 2007 Manchester Plan limited building heights to two stories. But Hearing Examiner Kimberly A. Allen, in her ruling Nov. 11, said the project meets requirements of the Kitsap County Comprehensive Plan and Kitsap County Code in effect at the time Park first applied.
Allen rejected the application on the basis of stormwater plans deemed inadequate by county staff, who testified at a public hearing Oct. 22.
Another problem stems from an easement dispute between Park and the owner of a neighboring property. The neighbor’s property encroaches on the Spruce House site, and the two parties are involved in a suit and countersuit.
Since the project is in legal limbo, Allen wrote, her hands are tied for ruling in favor of Park’s application.

Palmer, who typically withholds his opinion on land use rulings, weighed in on Manchester’s potential for development vis a vis the resistance of some residents to the size and scope of Spruce House and three other retail-residential projects grandfathered in at three stories.
“I still think Manchester is the place for the kind of development proposal that is represented in Colchester Commons, Spruce House and Frank Tweten’s Project,” said Palmer, adding The Anchors at Manchester to his thoughts. “ All four, if allowed to go forward, would make Manchester a really special place to be.
“Obviously there are some who like the run-down nature of the buildings in the area and would like to see it stay that way.”

Here’s a link to a story on the one three-story project that has been built in Manchester.

Three-Story Project in Manchester Comes Before Hearing Examiner

County development staff have withdrawn their support of the Spruce House project.
By Chris Henry
Manchester residents had their say Thursday on a three-story development project some claim is out of scale and character with the town. Critics of the project say plans to accommodate stormwater are inadequate and pose a danger of flooding from site run-off.
Spruce House, a 54,777 square-foot residential-retail complex, was the subject of a public hearing at the county administration building. The complex is proposed on a .53 acre site at the corner of Colchester Drive and Spruce Street in downtown Manchester.
Spruce House is one of four projects allowed at three stories before a revision of the Manchester Community Plan in 2007 limited building height in the downtown area to two stories. The Anchors at Manchester is the only one of the four that has been built.
Plans by Gig Harbor developer John Park of BJP LLC call for 11 condominium units on two stories above 7,455 square feet of retail-office space and 19 parking spaces on the ground floor. There’s also a 40-space underground parking garage.
Written testimony the county received in an earlier phase of permitting showed a number of residents displeased with the size and appearance of the building. An Oct. 12 report from the county’s Department of Community Development says Park has made adjustments to the design in response. But the report raises issues with stormwater treatment and landscaping in its recommendation against approval of the permit.
The DCD had earlier recommended approval of Park’s application, said Senior Planner Dennis Oost, but staff withdrew their support in November, 2008, when neighbors of the proposed project complained drainage from the site would be directed at their properties.
DCD contends Park’s current plans don’t meet the county’s requirement that 15 percent of the project area be covered in landscaping. And a neighbor, whose garage encroaches on the site said the design would block his access, Oost said.
Resident Carrilu Thompson testified that flooding is a problem in the town, which is at the bottom of a hillside.
Planning consultant William Palmer said his client has proposed several stormwater alternatives. The preferred design would be to collect run-off and direct it via underground pipes to a county-maintained manhole on Spruce Street. From there stormwater enters a pipe with direct discharge to Puget Sound.
The pipe passes through private property, and the owner will not give permission for its use, Palmer said. He argues that since the county once owned the property is has a historic right to use the pipe and so could grant Park permission to use it.
Project engineer Nels Rosendahl said the pipe would have enough capacity to handle the added run-off from the site, even in the event of a “hundred year storm.” But Douglas Frick, the county’s manager of development engineering, said his department has not yet verified the capacity of the pipe. Nor have possible problems created by additional flow at the pipe’s outfall been addressed, Frick said.
Palmer listed several other alternative plans, one of which would direct stormwater from the site to a nearby creek. Another alternative required Park to get permission from seven other property owners, which proved prohibitive, Palmer said.
On the issue of landscaping, Palmer argued the project more than satisfies the county’s 15 percent requirement. By including plantings on the building itself, the total landscaped area is 4,083 feet or about 17.7 percent of the total site area, he said.
The report submitted by Oost states landscaping on buildings should not be counted in the total. But Palmer said precent for doing so was set by the hearing examiner’s approval of another three-story project in Manchester. The Kitsap County Board of Commissioners overturned approval of Colchester Commons, but Park challenged that decision and prevailed on April 7 in Kitsap County Superior Court.
As for the easement issue, Park and his representatives are negotiating with the neighbor, who claims access to the site through historical use. They hope to come to a resolution, Palmer said. In the meantime, Park has filed suit to gain access. The neighbor has filed a counter suit.
The fourth three-story project, Manchester Place, at the corner of Spring and Main Street, is owned by Frank Tweten of Gig Harbor. He has until Oct. 6, 2011 to move forward before a preliminary permit on the project expires.

Heads Up Manchester: Hearing Set for Oct. 22 on Three-Story Project

Correction: The date of the is meeting was incorrectly listed. It is next Thursday, Oct. 22.

The Kitsap County Hearing Examiner will hold a public hearing on a conditional use permit application submitted by Tri Hutch for the proposed Spruce House project in Manchester. The hearing will be at 10 a.m. Thursday Oct. 22 in the Port Blakely Room of the county administration building, 619 Division St., Port Orchard.
The owners seek to build a three-story, retail-residential structure within the Manchester Village Commercial Zone. Spruce House is one of four three-story projects approved by Kitsap County before revision of the Manchester Community Plan in 2007. Previously, county code allowed buildings up to 35 feet or three stories in downtown Manchester. Although the revised plan limits buildings in the downtown core to 28 feet or two stories, the four projects were allowed at 35 feet.
Spruce House includes below ground parking, with 7,455 square feet of retail and office space on the ground floor, and two stories above consisting of nine condominiums. The total square footage is 54,777. The .53-acre site is located at the corner of Colchester Drive and Spruce Street.

Friday Afternoon Club: Your Chance to Tour Manchester Condos

The Anchors at Manchester will hold a Grand Opening ceremony from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

The complex features 11 luxury condos that have been at the center of a controversy over building height in Manchester.
The condos boast “unobstructed, panoramic views of Seattle, Bainbridge, Vashon & Blake Islands, Mount Rainier & the Cascades create a one-of-a-kind living opportunity … custom design interiors … boat launch, pier/dock, park & beach at your doorstep and elevator access to single story living with commercial space on the ground floor,” according to a press release from Windermere.

“Priced from the $500,000’s.”

Location: 8075 East Main Street, Manchester WA 98353
Directions: From Westbound on HWY 16 take Sedgewick exit; R on Sedgewick; L on
Long Lake; R on SE Mile Hill; L on Colchester; R on Main; Anchors at Manchester
on Left

For more information contact Aisha Hopkins, Windermere RE/GH 253.606.0701, or visit

Speaking of South Kitsap: Week in Review

Note 7/14: Lary Coppola informed me that the links on this post don’t work. So I’m reposting them. As we/I get used to this new system, please let me know of any glitches. Thanks, Chris

Yes, I’m talking about last week. The blog was in transition, and it was an interesting week – testy testimony, teed off officials and a nod to Port Orchard in Seattle Magazine. I thought I’d better play catch up.

July 8

Bremerton and Port Orchard recognized by Seattle Magazine (scroll down to July 8 entry; Bremerton blog in transition; thanks)

Yes, it’s true. Intrepid Bremerton reporter Andy Binion made this post on the Bremerton Beat blog. The magazine noted Bremerton among “best up and coming” neighborhoods. Port Orchard came in at #9 among the “top 10 best neighborhoods.” Miracle #1: that it happened at all. Miracle #2: that PO got props from a Bremerton beat reporter. Thanks Andy.

July 8

Port Orchard Council chooses roundabouts for Tremont Street project over protest from some citizens and safety officials.

July 10

Port Orchard officials vie for a piece of the SKIA pie.

July 11

Habitat for Humanity is set to build a neighborhood of affordable homes in Port Orchard.

County Commissioners Shoot Down Colchester Commons

My note: It appears that Manchester residents who favor restricted heights in the downtown area have the ear of the county’s Board of Commissioners. The board recently ruled against Colchester Commons, a controversial development project (see below). And from their comments on a proposed revision of the Manchester Plan, it appears the commissioners are about to uphold a 2-story maximum height limit in plan, set for adoption at the board’s Dec. 17 meeting. The board earlier this year approved and extended a temporary two-story limit that blocked new applications for three-story projects while residents and county staff hammered out the details of the revised plan.

Some residents who favor height restrictions are still smarting, however, from the fact that another three-story project, approved before the two-story rule went into effect, managed to proceed and is now under construction. Opinions on The Anchors at Manchester are mixed. Doug and Cerissa Holme, who brought the appeal against Colchester Commons, said they think The Anchors will be a tasteful addition to Manchester, but at a public hearing on the Manchester Plan, resident Stu Lombard compared the building to ” a giant index finger in the face of Manchester.”

Here’s the story on the Colchester Commons appeal.

Jan Angel says the project is not “compatible” with Manchester

By Chris Henry
The Kitsap County Board of Commissioners has ruled that a proposed residential-retail development in Manchester is incompatible with the town’s character and should not be allowed to proceed.
Colchester Commons, with three stories above ground plus an underground parking garage, was approved for a permit in 2006 before rules went into effect restricting building height in Manchester’s business district to a maximum of two stories.
But Doug and Cerissa Holme, who own a restaurant across the street from the site, challenged the project in April, saying it was grossly out of scale with surrounding buildings.
The board of commissioners agreed and in May sent the project back to the county’s hearing examiner for review. Hearing examiner Stephen Causseaux, however, stood by his findings that the project should be allowed.
The Holmes and property owner B.J. Park engaged in a series of counter appeals, bringing the matter back before the commissioners in early November. The commissioners ruled on the latest appeal Nov. 26, once again striking down the proposed project.
“The appellants argued, among other things, that the hearing examiner erred in finding the project harmonious and compatible with future development in Manchester. I agree,” said South Kitsap Commissioner Jan Angel.
Angel said Causseaux had only to look The Anchors at Manchester, another three-story project approved prior to the height restriction, for an example of a project that will complement the quaint waterfront town.
“This is not a height issue. This is a compatibility issue,” Angel said.
The board also objected, as they had in May, to a part of the plan calling for a 5,000-square-foot “courtyard” that the owner said might someday be converted to retail or office space. By billing the space as a courtyard and not clearly disclosing future plans, Park was trying to avoid applying for a conditional use permit, which would be required for retail space, the appellants argued.
Angel again agreed. “In my view, the applicant has deliberately remained vague on the use to be put in that open area, and he has created a conflict between two applicable code provisions,” she said.
The board, including commissioners Josh Brown and Steve Bauer, voted unanimously to deny the project.

County Commissioners Hear Impassioned Testimony on Manchester Plan

Written testimony on the draft Manchester Community Plan will be taken until 4:30 p.m. Dec. 13 via e-mail to Katrina Knutson, The Board of Commissioners will deliberate on the proposed plan at its meeting Dec. 17.

By Chris Henry
Kitsap County Board of Commissioners on Monday heard more than an hour of public testimony on a proposed revision of the Manchester Community Plan.
Building heights and noncomforming lots were hot topics, as they have been throughout the vetting process for the plan, which began in January. Many who testified recalled past history, when in 2002 community members drafted a plan that “encouraged” a maximum building height of 28 feet and no more than two stories within Manchester’s commercial core.
Language in the 2002 plan proved sufficiently vague, however, to allow four projects at 35 feet and three stories to enter the permit approval process. Of those projects, one has been approved and is under construction, one is under appeal and two are in the preliminary stages of application.
The update of the Manchester Plan and its related design standards, also under review by the board, more clearly specify the 28-foot, two-story limits. Approval of the plan would set those limits into Kitsap County’s code and impose them on the more than 30 other buildable lots in the Manchester Village Commercial Zone.
These lots — and what they might look like in the future — were the subject of much impassioned testimony at Monday’s meeting.
Stu Lombard was one of several Manchester residents who supported revised plan. Lombard said he worries about what the town would look like if all eligible lots were developed on the scale of The Anchors at Manchester, the three-story project now taking shape near the Manchester waterfront.
“It looks like a giant index finger in the face of Manchester,” Lombard said.
Lyle Burbidge also spoke in favor of the new plan’s language, saying that it would promote “reasonable and responsible development.”
But William Palmer, a land use consultant who represents several developers with property in Manchester, said the proposed plan is prohibitive. Palmer has submitted a lengthy critique of the proposed design standards, which limit height and density, and call for numerous amenities to be provided by developers.
“You probably won’t have to worry about other development happening on other lots, because provisions of the design guidelines absolutely preclude it,” said Palmer.
Katrina Knutson, associate planner with the Department of Community Development, spoke on the issue of non-conforming lots, which are properties purchased legally in the past but which, because of their size, do not meet current standards for development and so are subject to different rules.
Some citizens have complained that the language in the draft plan does not treat owners of all such lots equally. Under the proposed plan, owners of contiguous lots would be required to combine their lots before developing, while others owning separate lots would be allowed to develop on less space.
Knutson said the county’s planning commission had recommended replacing language in the proposed plan with language from the 2002 plan, which was deemed less confusing. County planning staff, however, recommended language from the county’s 2006 Comprehensive Plan update instead.
The planning commission also recommended a change in language regarding how building height is established under the proposed plan. But because the issue affects property owners throughout the county, the commission will likely amend its recommendation to table discussion of the issue to 2008, during the county’s overall look at updating its development codes.

Manchester Plan to Have Public Hearing Before Commissioners Nov. 26

On Nov. 13, the county’s Planning Commission approved reccommendation of the plan to the county’s Board of Commissioners.

A public hearing before the commissioners is set for Nov. 26. This is the public’s last chance to give testimony about the plan. Katrina Knutson, who is in charge of shepherding the plan through the public vetting process, is currently accepting written testimony. E-mail her at

Mike Valentino commented on an earlier story about the plan:
I would like to respond to the November 14th article: Manchester Plan Approved by Planning Commission. Please approve me so my comment will appear.
Answer: Mike, sorry I didn’t get a blog entry up sooner. Comment away. You can now also leave comments right at the bottom of stories, which hasn’t done much for the blog numbers, but it doesn’t matter to me, as long as people get a chance to have their say.

Coppola Critical of Manchester Plan Process

Correction, noon Oct. 25: This posting has been corrected due to a wrongly attributed quote. Bill Bellman did not make the statement that the proposed plan had been “rammed through “ by a small group of people. The quote should have been attributed to Linda Jacobs.
Mr. Bellman did make a comment about the process by which property owners were notified via post card about meetings of the design standards committee. He said, “You might have gotten two postcards, but you were limited in what you could talk about at the meeting.”

Note: Maps of Manchester’s commercial core and view protection overlay zone are pasted at the bottom of this entry.

At last night’s planning commission meeting, people who testified about the proposed update of the 2002 Manchester Plan had almost more to say about the way it was drafted than about the plan itself.
On the one hand were people like Linda Jacobs, who felt the process was dominated by a small group of people on the citizens’ committee.
“I don’t think that the community has been informed,” he said. “I think a small group made the decisions. … I just think this has been rammed through.”
On the other hand, were people like Ray Pardo, who said, “I’d say overall the process has been fantastic,” said Ray Pardo.
The discussion was set off by a comment made at a Sept. 11 planning commission meeting by Lary Coppola, who is on the commission and also owns property in Manchester. Coppola has moved to Port Orchard to establish residency for a run for PO mayor. He complained on Sept. 11 and last night that he didn’t get any notification of meetings of the design review committee, which examined the controversial issue of building height. He called the process “bogus and fraudulent,” and said,
“I don’t question the outcome, but as someone who owns two properties in Manchester, I can say I never received any notification. If I had not served on this commission, I would not have heard of it.”
To which Pardo replied, “If you didn’t know what was going on in Manchester for the past nine months, Lary, you weren’t living in Manchester.”
And Lary shot back, “In case you haven’t read the papers, I haven’t been living in Manchester.”

One last note, at the Sept. 11 planning commission meeting, several of the commissioners, including Coppola, grilled planner Philip Fletcher to about medium rare. One could see Fletcher’s blood pressure rising.
At last night’s meeting, Fletcher, appearing quite upbeat, announced his resignation from the DCD. He said he’ll be moving to Montana soon (apologies to Frank Zappa, this is true.) Fletcher, addressing the board, said, “It’s actually been fun coming before you. I like eccentrics.”

I’ve pasted the story below, as it won’t be posted on the Web site until later. CTH

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Commissioners Extend Interim Zoning for Manchester

The temporary rules will cover the appeal period for the new Manchester Plan.

By Chris Henry
The Kitsap County Board of Commissioners today approved a six-month extension of interim zoning rules that limit building height in downtown Manchester to 28 feet, two stories, buying time for county officials to approve an update of the 2002 Manchester Plan.
The temporary zoning ordinance was approved May 14 by the commissioners to enforce a portion of the 2002 Manchester Plan calling for buildings to be limited to 28 feet, two stories. The ordinance was set to expire Nov. 13.
The Manchester Plan is being updated, and is expected to be approved by the Board of Commissioners — with a provision for a two-story building limit — sometime in December. Staff from the county’s Department of Community Development requested the extension to allow time for the plan to be passed and to cover the period of time during which it could be appealed.
Without the extension, said Jim Bolger of the DCD, there would be a lapse of zoning rules, and developers could apply for buildings of greater height and density than the plan would allow.
Building height has been a controversial issue during discussions about updating the Manchester Plan. A citizens committee working with county staff on an update of the 2002 Plan arrived at the two-story limit as part of a set of design standards that will be incorporated into the updated plan.
Although the 2002 Manchester Plan included a two-story limit, three projects have been approved at three stories, because of a discrepancy between county code and the 2002 plan. The interim zoning ordinance was intended to address that discrepancy and honor citizens’ wishes while the plan revision was being hammered out, Bolger said.