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.