Two public hearings of note on Monday’s agenda for the Kitsap
County Board of Commissioners.
1. The board will hear an appeal by the Farmhouse Montessori
School in South Kitsap of the county hearing examiner’s denial for
a special permit that would allow the school/day care to operate in
a rural neighborhood.
2. The Board of Commissioners also will take up the issue of
whether to form a Local Improvement District to extend a sewer line
along Colchester Drive in Manchester.
Kitsap County planners recommended approval of the school’s
permit request, but when the project reached the Hearing Examiner
Ted Hunter, several nearby residents said they weren’t too keen on
the proposal, especially considering the extra traffic, noise and
potential damage to the environment.
Hunter denied the permit, saying the use would be detrimental to
the surrounding property owners.
“Educating children is an admirable profession and laudable
goal,” Hunter wrote in his findings. “Montessori schools offer a
unique perspective on the educational process and can provide a
valuable service to the community. (But) noise generated by
laughter and screaming of young children during outdoor playtime
and by up to 84 vehicle trips to and from the property would be
materially detrimental to single-family residential properties in
the immediate vicinity.”
Manchester Sewer LID 9
The Board of commissioners deferred a decision on the matter,
after testy testimony from area residents, who questioned the
accuracy of the costs and the process by which LID boundaries were
Ron Rada, chairman of the Manchester Community Council’s sewer
committee, is spearheading the LID process. After the previous
meeting in June, he submitted to the board a detailed response to
questions raised during the hearing.
Among other questions, Rada addresses a concern about LID
boundaries raised by Kitsap County Assessor Jim Avery, a Manchester
resident. Avery asked why some properties between the previously
formed LID 8 and the proposed LID 9 were not required to be part of
either district. Avery said it was unfair to other residents that
these folks weren’t obliged to pay their share of the cost.
Rada, in his letter, explained that some property owners joined
LID 8 as latecomers, a move approved by the board. The latecomers
and those who didn’t want to hook up to the sewer form a patchwork
of properties between LID 8 and 9, some with sewer service, some
The committee couldn’t legally require the unsewered properties
to be part of LID 9, Rada explained, because the sewer line had
already been extended to accommodate the latecomers in LID 8. The
law permits LID boundaries to include only properties without
current access to sewer. When and if the septic on the properties
in LID no-man’s-land fail, they will be required to either fix them
or hook up to the sewer, Rada said.
Rada also sent me an article by John Carpita, a public works
consultant, explaining how local utility districts are formed . The
title of the article, “Are We Having Fun Yet?” hints at the
complexity of the process, but Carpita spells it out in his
introduction, saying, “LIDs are more fun than root canals without
novocaine, a three-month visit from your in-laws, balancing city
budgets… (with) a reputation as difficult to administer, time
consuming and a public relations disaster waiting to
happen (my emphasis added).”
The article addresses the issue of proportionality of
assessments. “Statutes specify that the assessment per parcel must
not exceed the special benefit, which is defined as the fair market
value of the property before and after the local improvement
project,” Carpita writes.
Resident Tom Warren questioned whether residents were
proportionately represented. The petition approval was determined
by area of property, giving those with larger properties more
weight in the vote, yet the amount assessed per property is the
same, he observed. Carpita’s article confirms that the LID petition
“needs to be signed by owners of 51 percent of area within the
LID.” (The LID 9 petition just barely met this threshold.) Clearly,
Rada & company followed the statutes. However, the question the
commissioners need to answer (and one that perhaps Avery himself
could address) is whether having access to the sewer line conveys
equal value to each property regardless of its size.
I’m going on vacation next week, so will pass this off into
other capable hands. But I’ll be watching to see how the
commissioners rule and invite your comments of enlightenment before
or after the meeting. Cheers.