Tag Archives: Bethel Corridor

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

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)


Bethel Widening Not on PSRC’s Short List

Transportation reporter Ed Friedrich is working on a story for tomorrow about recommendations from the Puget Sound Regional Council for how $136 million in Federal Transportation Funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 should be allocated and how that affects Kitsap County. At issue is how the money should be divvied up among transportation projects around the state. Kitsap projects making the cut are improvements to Viking Way totaling $3,800,000 and the Bainbridge Island Core 40 Shoulder Widening Program at $150,000 (both described below post).

The largest project in South Kitsap, the $26 million widening of Bethel Road, is among projects that did not make the list. According to reporter Steve Gardner, the Kitsap Regional Coordinating Council made its recommendations to the PSRC weighing heavily whether the candidate projects were “shovel ready.” It’s safe to say Bethel Corridor is far from shovel-ready. Gardner spoke to Central Kitsap Commissioner Josh Brown, who said the proposed South Kitsap Industrial Area connector road did not make the cut for the same reason.

From the PSRC Web site:

Agency Title Recommended ARRA Funds
Poulsbo Viking Ave Improvements Phase II (McDonalds to SR 305) $ 3,800,000
Bainbridge Island Core 40 Shoulder Widening Program – Blakely Non-Motorized Project Phase II $ 150,000
Total Kitsap Co. ‘Top Priority’ $3,950,000

On PSRC’s interactive map of recommended projects, see:

Bainbridge Island

This project proposes to improve non-motorized access around Blakely and Wilkes Elementary Schools. Both schools are in the less developed areas of the island where adjoining roads have generally substandard improvements for walking or bicycling to school, but have enough surrounding homes to allow a student population to walk if facilities were available.
This project will provide non-motorized improvements around both schools. It will provide detailed planning and beginning of a safe non-motorized route to both schools. The facilities will allow elementary school students to walk and bicycle to school who are not comfortable doing it now. Walking or riding bikes to school will improve the health of the students doing it, and reduce vehicular trip to school thus improving air quality. ARRA Funds $150,000.


The proposed project will improve mobility and safety along this corridor. Phase II of the project consists of the intersection of NW Lindvig Way and Viking Avenue, and the segment of Viking Avenue from the McDonalds restaurant to SR 305. The improvements along Viking Avenue include a continuous two-way left turn lane, bike lanes, drainage improvements, and curb and sidewalk on both sides of the road. The improvements at the intersection consist of improved channelization by adding a left-turn lane westbound on NW Lindvig Way and a right-turn lane northbound on Viking Avenue.
ARRA funds $3,800,000.

Matthes, Garrido Weigh in on Bethel Corridor

While Democrat Charlotte Garrido maintains a small lead over Republican challenger Tim Matthes, the final result of the race for South Kitsap Commissioner won’t be official until the election is certified Nov. 25. At last count, Tuesday, Garrido had 50.59 percent of the vote; Matthes had 49.14 percent.

When Port Orchard Mayor Lary Coppola announced that the city hopes to move forward with an annexation of Bethel Corridor sooner rather than later, I called both candidates to see where they stand on the city’s proposal.

One hitch for the county would be that the city is asking for a suspension of a revenue sharing agreement between the county and Kitsap cities that allows the county a “soft landing” revenue-wise when an annexation occurs. The interlocal agreement calls for the county to receive 75 percent of tax revenue from the annexed area in the first year, 50 percent in the second year and 25 in the third.

Kitsap County is doing with half a million less and dipping into its reserves to balance its 2009 budget. Given the economy, it hardly seems like an opportune time for the county to pursue development of the corridor, the plan for which has become something of an albatross around the county’s neck.

The cost, with bonding, to implement the whole plan (with design standards) would be $43 million, and the city had considered asking taxpayers and businesses to foot the bill. A recent survey shows, not surprisingly, lack of support for the various mechanisms (including increased property taxes) proposed to fund the project. Coppola has said the city could fund infrastructure on the corridor through a variety of sources, including grants, development fees, revenue and more, without having to increase individual taxes. What would have to go are the plan’s exacting design standards.

Both candidates said they would support the city’s desire to annex the corridor.

Tim Matthes pointed to the plan’s design standards as an example of the county’s “onerous regulations” that have stymied development. Matthes has said, if elected, he would work to ease the burden on developers by simplifying county code. Matthes said South Kitsap Industrial Area’s impending annexation into Bremerton is another example of how Kitsap’s cities are better at putting out the welcome mat to new and growing businesses than the county is.

Matthes said he would support Port Orchard assuming responsibility for the corridor as long as it makes sense for taxpayers.”It should go to whoever would do the most for it, and the city appears to be in the best position to do that,” Matthes said.

Garrido, who served as SK Commissioner through 2000 took part in the process through which the Bethel Corridor Plan was developed with input from citizens, businesses and other interested parties. Asked if she had any concerns about the city implementing a modified plan, she said, “Everybody is going to have some concerns about it.” That being said, the economic times dictate some degree of expediency.

“I’m willing to work with the city in any way we need to to address that issue as well as anything else,” she said.

And what about the prospect of altering the revenue sharing agreement and the county’s dispensing with the soft landing?

“We have to be creative in ways we’ve never had to be,” said Garrido. “I don’t throw anything off the table.”

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.