Tag Archives: McCormick Woods

McCormick Woods Park: Corrections and Clarifications

I apologize for the confusion created by an inaccurate statement in the story on a proposed public park at McCormick Woods (the online version of which has been corrected): “The city also will assume responsibility for an existing 1-acre park within McCormick Woods, a trail head and a partially built trail system that connects to the county-owned Coulter Creek Heritage Park.”

This is inaccurate on several counts.

1. The City of Port Orchard will not as a result of the pending inter-local agreement between itself and Kitsap County have any responsibility for parks, other than the 63.5-acre McCormick Village Park, either within McCormick Woods residential area or The Ridge at McCormick Woods.

2. The park, trailhead and partly developed trails I mentioned in the original story are in The Ridge (also known as McCormick North) and belong to The Ridge’s homeowners’ association, not the McCormick Woods homeowner’s association.The trails connect The Ridge with the proposed McCormick Village Park.

3. The agreement between the city and the county simply states that if, in the future, the Ridge homeowner’s association wants to enter into negotiations with a local government entity on a potential sale of its park, trailhead and trails, or an agreement about upkeep or development of same, that government entity will not be Kitsap County but the City of Port Orchard.

4. The Ridge is McCormick North, which is partly built out. McCormick West is yet to be built.

5. Finally, to reiterate, the McCormick Village Park will be open to the public.

For more information on the McCormick Woods annexation, the McCormick Village Park and the City of Port Orchard parks survey (for all city residents) visit the city’s Web site.

Friday Afternoon Club: When Halloween Costumes Go Bad

Many of you know that I live in McCormick Woods, but you may not know the reason we moved here is for Halloween. The streets are wide,the houses close together and the neighbors (usually) generous, making it a great place to trick-or-treat. And I’m not telling you what hundreds of families in South Kitsap don’t already know.

We came to McCormick Woods many a Halloween before moving here in 2002. But I was especially excited to make great costumes for the kids our first year in the neighborhood. (Cue ominous music here.)

Now, I’m no good with a sewing machine, but I do have an active imagination. The martian costume I made out of a cardboard box, worn on the head, had holes for the eyes and pipe cleaners for antenae. Who needs Walmart? I’ve got the recycle bin.

Then there was the eyeball costume I made out of a plastic garbage bag filled with crumpled newspaper. I drew veins and lashes on the plastic with a felt-tip pen. The costume, inflicted on … uh, worn by my youngest, was effective, but he rustled loudly as he walked.

The year we moved into McCormick Woods, I decided said youngest son should be a mummy. My material of choice … toilet paper.

My son is 14 now and trying to make a good impression on his junior high friends. He gave me permission to relate this story if I made it clear he was an innocent bystander in the whole affair and had nothing to do with it other than a mad desire for candy.

So I wrapped him in the toilet paper head to toe. It took three rolls. For added effect, I drizzled him with red food coloring. Ta-da! I put Martha Stewart to shame.

Off went said youngest son among the prim hedgerows and manicured lawns of McWoods looking for all the world, I realized in horror, like a … well, lets just say it was far from tasteful.

Too late, and anyway, at 7 he was oblivious to anything but rushing to ring the next doorbell. Then it began to rain. My son continued his quest, leaving wads of gory toilet paper in his wake.

The moral of this story is: next year, use two-ply.

Oh, wait, he’s too old to trick-or-treat. I need more victims … uh, grandchildren.

Happy Halloween. Stop by and visit me if you dare!

Chris Henry, South Kitsap reporter and costume maker extraordinaire

McCormick Woods Voters: Size Matters

When McCormick Woods development was annexed into Port Orchard in July it added 1,280 parcels of property to city boundaries and increased the population from just more than 8,000 to more than 10,000. According to James Weaver, director of development, it was the largest annexation population-wise in the city’s history.

For city leaders, the increase in size means Port Orchard is in a better position to compete for state grants and other government funding.

The annexation also added more than 1,500 registered voters to the city’s rolls. The annexation was finalized too late for McCormick Woods to be included in the August primary, but now that the number of voters has been tallied for the general election, it’s apparent McWoods voters could carry significant influence in the Nov. 3 city council races (two of four contested).

According to Dolores Gilmore, Kitsap County elections manager, there were 3,602 Port Orchard voters before the primary. After the annexation, the number of registered voters has jumped to 5,150.

Gilmore has not researched the stats, but she’s confident McWoods was one of the largest annexations in the county’s recent history.

For candidates, it’s 1,500 more voters to hit with door-belling and campaign signs.

“They (McWoods residents) have a known track record, as I understand it,” said Carolyn Powers, defending her seat on the council against challenger Cindy Lucarelli. “They have a high number of registered voters and a high turn-out. It’s a whole new picture you might say for the City of Port Orchard.”

At the same time, said Powers, “we can’t forget about the rest of the people who have been the core of the city.”

Although the city now has more than 5,000 voters, candidates won’t automatically have to file campaign finance reports with the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission, at least until the next election. Candidates in cities with fewer than 5,000 voters only need to file if they are raising more than $5,000 in funding. Those in cities with more than 5,000 voters must file regardless of how much they raise. The PDC looks at the number of registered voters in the previous general election, so the old rules still apply to the Nov. 3 election.

Powers, Fred Chang and Amy Igloi Matsuno have filed this election with the PDC, raising to date $5,505.92, $7,886.90 and $19,290.27 respectively.

Look for coverage of contested city council races Saturday in the Kitsap Sun.

Find information on all candidates in the Kitsap Sun’s election guide.

McWoods Sewers: Residents with “STEP” Systems Likely to See Surcharge in 2010

The city inherited responsibility for the systems under a development agreement.
By Chris Henry
The Port Orchard City Council is contemplating what to do about 605 homes in McCormick Woods whose septic systems the city services.
The cost of the the service, formerly covered by a 50 percent surcharge on McCormick residents’ sewer bills, fell onto the city’s plate when McCormick Woods was annexed in July and the surcharge went away.
McCormick Woods was not alone in paying the sewer surcharge, and the extra 50 percent was not directly tied to the septic servicing. All South Kitsap residents who live outside Port Orchard but receive sewer and water service from the city pay a 50 percent surcharge on those utilities.
The city council in 2010 will likely add a new surcharge applying only to those 605 homes to cover the cost of inspecting and pumping the septic systems.
The homes in question have a type of sewer system — called STEP for “septic tank effluent pumping system”— that includes an onsite septic with a connection to the city’s sewer line. Solids are processed in the septic tank; liquid waste is pumped to the sewer line and delivered to the treatment plant operated jointly by Port Orchard and Westsound Utility District.
Before the sewer, effluent from the STEP systems was pumped to a community drain field.
An additional 30 homes yet to be built are also vested to have STEP systems.
The remainder of homes in the McCormick Woods annexation area have grinder pumps that deliver liquid and solid waste to the sewer line.
Like any septic system, the STEP systems need periodic maintenance and repair. The city inspects each system every three years. While most people with septics are responsible for servicing their own systems, the city inherited responsibility for the McCormick systems under a development agreement that existed when the sewer line went in.
Before the annexation, revenue from the sewer surcharge paid by all McCormick residents more than covered the cost of servicing the STEP systems. The current annual cost is about $72,000 per year.
Public works director Mark Dorsey gave a summary of the STEP system and its financial implications for the city at a work study meeting Tuesday. According to John Clauson of the city’s public utilities committee, the council plans to address the STEP service cost in its 2010 budget.
Before the end of the year, city utility customers — including those in McCormick Woods —will see an increase in their bimonthly water and sewer rates to make up for the loss of McCormick Woods’ utility surcharge revenue. The increase — $3.50 for water and $7.50 for sewer — will replace an estimated $280,000 to $300,000 per year in revenue lost through the annexation.
While the McCormick Woods surcharge was in effect, the revenue generated more than made up for the septic service cost, in effect subsidizing service for other city sewer customers to the tune of about $128,000 per year, Dorsey said. That helped keep rates down. Now everyone, including those in McCormick Woods, have to share in making up that lost revenue, but only those who have the STEP systems will pay the additional charge for that service beginning in 2010.
Also in 2010, the city must address revenue needed for improvements to the sewer system. Considering the poor economy, the council deferred a rate increase in 2009 that would have funded those capital improvements.

More on What Runs Downhill in McCormick Woods

I thought I’d call out a comment on my recent story about Port Orchard’s sewer and water rate increases related to the recent McCormick Woods annexation.

BlueLight said:
Here’s the way I understand it: The houses in McCormick Woods are on a “stepped” sewer system, which is – basically – a hybrid between onsite septic and municipal wastewater. Each home has a septic tank, but instead of drainfields these tanks pump to the municipal system. Prior to annexation, the City of Port Orchard serviced this system; responding to pump failures, etc. The City also pumped each holding tank – I believe – every five years. This is what the surcharge paid for. Obviously, this design is is more labor and cost intensive to operate than the purely municipal type system throughout the rest of the city. One could easily say that – as a result of annexation – the homeowners in McCormick Woods managed to have residents in the other parts of P.O. assume the cost of pumping their septic tanks.

I replied:
BlueLight – Regarding your comments on McWoods STEP (septic tank effluent pumping system), it is not correct to say the surcharge was assessed to pay for the pumping/maintenance of septic systems in McCormick Woods. What I apparently did not make clear in the article is that all South Kitsap residents who live outside Port Orchard but access its sewer system pay the 50 percent surcharge, not just McWoods residents. The McWoods sewer surcharge, totaling about $200,000 a year, goes (or went) toward the city’s total sewer budget.

You are correct that the city is responsible for inspecting and (if needed) pumping the septic tanks of McWoods homes, under an agreement between Kitsap County and McWoods developers when ULID 6 was formed.

Since the sewer line went in, liquid waste from McWoods has been diverted from a communal drain field to the sewer line that runs along Old Clifton Road and eventually to the sewer treatment plant operated jointly by Port Orchard and Westsound Utility District. The solid waste is processed through on-site septic tanks that, like such tanks everywhere, require periodic inspection and maintenance.

Under the ULID 6 agreement, the city inherited the responsibility for maintaining those septic systems. That is unique to McWoods. The city takes care of 605 McWoods septics; that’s 133 per year on a rotating basis, which costs the city $72,000 a year.

While the surcharge was in effect, the revenue generated ($200,000) more than made up for the septic service cost ($72,000), said Public Works Director Mark Dorsey. So in essence, McWoods residents, while they were paying the surcharge, were subsidizing city residents’ sewer service to the tune of $128,000 per year.

Dorsey said the McWoods surcharge, which was significant, actually helped keep rates down for city residents. Now everyone, including those in McWoods, have to share in picking up that lost revenue.

The council will be discussing McWoods sewers at its work study meeting, Tuesday. The meeting is open to the public, but comments from the audience are taken at the discretion of the council, unlike at a regular council meeting, where the public always gets a chance to speak.

Hope this helps. Chris Henry, SK/ Government reporter

About Those McCormick Woods Sewer Bills

See the last paragraph on how the annexation will affect not only McCormick Woods residents’ sewer and water bills, but those of all city residents.

By Chris Henry
The Port Orchard City Council has approved an ordinance outlining how McCormick Woods will be annexed into the city. The matter now moves to the Kitsap County Boundary Review Board. City officials expect finalization in midsummer.
The council on Tuesday gave their unanimous approval to the ordinance after the second of two public hearings, moving the two-year annexation process closer to consummation.
The proposal has been routed to Kitsap County, the Kitsap Regional Coordinating Council, and all other local cities and tribes. Recommendation from the Boundary Review Board is the last formal hurdle to be cleared before the city council can issued its final approval.
The annexation will become effective on the first day of the month after the BRB makes its recommendation, presuming that body rules in favor of the proposal. James Weaver, the city’s development director, estimates that could be as soon as July 1 or possibly on Aug. 1.
Once the annexation is complete, McCormick Woods residents will no longer pay a 50 percent surcharge on sewer and water service provided by the city. To accommodate the loss of revenue, the city will increase its rates on all citizens, including McCormick Woods residents, by 10 percent.

McWoods: A Big Fish in Port Orchard’s Pond

The McCormick Woods Annexation Committee on Tuesday submitted to the City of Port Orchard its petition for annexation into the city. Owners representing 76 percent of properties within annexation boundaries have given their consent to the proposal. The law requires a 75 percent approval rate.

Given the required steps before the City Council can issue its final approval, the soonest the annexation could take effect would be in early August.

When the annexation is finalized, Port Orchard’s population — now at about 8,500 — will increase by about 2,000 residents. That will make the city a slightly bigger fish in the statewide sea of municipalities competing for funding and legislative clout.

Residents of the McCormick Woods area, now a relatively small fish in county waters, will, as city residents, potentially wield considerable influence over Port Orchard’s future, said committee chairman Dick Davis. They would make up about 20 percent of Port Orchard’s population.

Residents would be able to vote in the November, 2009 election if the annexation is finalized by Aug. 1 as expected. They would not be able to run for city offices, however, as the filing date is June 1.

Port Orchard, as a second class city, does not have any length of residency requirements for candidates, according to Delores Gilmore of the Kitsap County Auditor’s office. Bremerton’s is one year; so is Poulsbo’s.

Once Port Orchard does annex McCormick Woods its classification as a city could change and it could be subject to different rules. There’s a lot yet to be sorted out about how the annexation will affect the city. Presumably the issue of voting districts will resurface once the annexation is complete.

McCormick Woods Annexation Gets Green Light From Property Owners

Correction 3/5: I originally listed Doug Skrobut’s first name incorrectly.

Annexation “Pretty much a done deal,” committee chairman says.

By Chris Henry
Property owners in McCormick Woods have given the green light to an annexation of the residential development into the City of Port Orchard, the McCormick Woods Annexation Committee announced today.
The committee has collected signatures on the annexation petition representing slightly more than 75 percent of the assessed value of property within annexation boundaries. That’s the threshold of approval required by law. The committee will now forward the petition to the Port Orchard City Council for approval.
It will be an easy sell.
City officials have been working with McCormick Woods residents for more than a year on the annexation. It would add roughly 2,000 new citizens to the city, whose most recent population count stands at just over 8,000.
Committee members have been working since October to collect the required number of signatures on the petition. The recent addition of Feigley Road Partners LLC and Chaffey Corporation added roughly $12 million to the assessed value of properties approving the annexation. The total taxable value of properties to be annexed is $374,970,745.
One large property owner than has not yet signed the petition is Gem I, the corporation that oversees McCormick Land Company holdings. With property valued at $17.9 million, Gem I was seen as a potential kingpin in the annexation. But the company was leery of signing on the dotted line until an interlocal agreement between Kitsap County and the City of Port Orchard had been completed, said spokesman Brad Doug Skrobut. The company’s vested interest in how the transfer of responsibility would be made results from development agreements Gem I made with the county long before the issue of annexation came up.
The annexation committee has purposely avoided relying on corporate-owned properties to achieve the 75 percent goal, said chairman Dick Davis. Instead, they focused on gathering signatures from individual homeowners, because they wanted to show that there is widespread support for the annexation.
‘While we did get a developer and a builder to push us over the edge, it was mostly individual homeowners,” Davis said, “We’re still hopeful Gem I will jump into the pool with us.”
The committee has gathered 550 signatures out of approximately 800 individual households or property owners. The Kitsap County Assessor’s office has been validating signatures as they come in, and committee members will continue to gather signatures as “insurance,” Davis said.
Although the numbers could change slightly if the assessor finds questions on some properties, “it’s pretty much a done deal,” Davis said.
Once the petition has been approved by the city, it will go before the Kitsap County Boundary Review Board then back to the city council for final approval.

Addendum 12:43 p.m. Wednesday:
Dick Davis just sent me this information.
Total assessed value is $379 million; 75 percent of this is $284 million and they have surpassed that by a bit.
Total taxable assessed value is $375 million. According to Kitsap County assessor Jim Avery the committee only needed to get 75 approval for taxable properties, but Davis said the committee chose 75 percent of the total value as their goal to leave nothing to uncertainty.

McWoods Annexation: For the Record

For the Record
As the McCormick Woods annexation committee continues to gather signatures on the petition to make McWoods part of the City of Port Orchard, I feel the need to address the suggestion made more than once by the person who uses the screen name “Gumshoe” that I have a conflict of interest in reporting on this subject because I am a resident of McCormick Woods.

I’ve previously addressed (comments 13 and 22) whether I can fairly and accurately report on the community where I live, shop, play in the parks, pay bills and where my children attend school.

Gumshoe says that my right to “vote” in the annexation process contributes to the conflict.

Signing the petition is a “yes” vote. Not signing is a “no” vote. So there is no way for me to abstain on this issue.

Because of my position as South Kitsap reporter and my role in covering the annexation, my husband, Michael, and I will refrain from taking any action on the petition. The threshold for acceptance is 75 percent, and the committee already has roughly 50 percent approval. It appears that the committee will meet its goal before the six month time limit expires.

In the extremely unlikely even that our property, valued at $379,120, becomes the pivotal property out of the roughly $256 million required to certify the annexation, we will re-evaluate the situation and act as our conscience dictates.
Chris Henry, SK reporter

McCormick Annexation Money Matters

For anyone who may have missed last night’s meeting between McCormick Woods residents and city of Port Orchard officials, I will tack on at the end of this post a “Property Tax and Franchise Comparison” prepared by the city treasurer that answers the question:

What’ll it cost me?: Basically it’s a wash. City calculations based on 2008 numbers, show that the owner of a $350,000 home who as a county resident currently pays a total of $3,805.46 in taxes and fees would pay a total of $3,798.55 as a resident of Port Orchard. This does not include a storm water utility fee to be introduced in 2009 (approximately $90 annually).

McWoods residents in Port Orchard would pay a city property tax, which goes into the general fund and the city road fund, in addition to their county property tax, but they would no longer have to pay into the county road fund. And McCormick Woods residents would no longer pay the 50 percent sewer surcharge they now do as part of unincorporated Kitsap County, saving each household an average of $300 per year. (“Who would pay for that loss of revenue?” city resident Genevieve Hall asked me this morning. My notes from the meeting show the difference would be distributed among all city residents as a 10 percent increase in sewer fees.)

Will my property taxes go up?: In a word, no, at least not as a result of the annexation, according to Kitsap County Assessor Jim Avery. “We look as the whole urban growth area as one for our valuation purposes,” Avery said. Besides that, Avery pointed out, assessed values are trending downward at this time.

Will the city pay for streetlights?: (McWoods residents currently pay for their own streetlights in their dues.) The city would pay for any streetlights on public roads within McCormick Woods and The Ridge. Residents who live on private roads will continue to pay for streetlights.

Will properties in McWoods be rezoned, and therefore subject to a possible tax increase, as a result of updates in the city’s comprehensive plan?: Because McWoods is a planned development, no rezoning of properties within the annexation boundaries is expected or planned, Mayor Lary Coppola said.

How is the city doing financially?: Port Orchard has a long history of fiscal conservatism. Only within the last few years have they started including return envelopes with their utility bills, and city hall visitors must pay a penny a sheet for toilet paper if they have to use the restroom. (I made up the toilet paper thing, but it would be very much in the old PO spirit.) While the city expects 8 percent less in sales tax revenue in 2009 as a result of the economic downturn, it is also expecting to annex a considerable amount of commercial property, including Fred Meyer, which could offset the loss. The city’s budget is tight, and they will balance it by making adjustments, but they are in better shape than most of their neighbors (except Poulsbo), reported John Clauson, who chairs the finance committee.

So what’s in it for Port Orchard?: City officials have said the annexation, while it would provide increased property tax revenue and a small amount of sales tax revenue, would financially be “a wash” for the city. Six additional staff members would be needed to provide services to the area. As a larger jurisdiction, however, the city would be better eligible for state and federal grants and other funding, Coppola said.

Aside from any financial incentives, city officials say, they want McCormick Woods as part of the city because they see them as an asset. Coppola, last night, noted that with its many retirees, McWoods represents a new pool of potential representatives on the city’s volunteer boards or as elected officials. Somebody out there could even replace him, Coppola joked. He added that unincorporated McWoods is a small fish in a big pond (he didn’t exactly put it that way). As part of the city, however, they would be a big fish in a smaller pond and have better representation in their local government.

If this annexation fails, would Port Orchard try again by initiating an annexation itself? This could happen in theory. One method of annexation allows a city to initiate an annexation; then residents in the area to be annexed must vote on it. Would Port Orchard actually do this? probably not, said John Clauson. “Why would we fund an election if you’ve just told us no?” he said. If you choose not to, we’ll shake your hands and we’ll still be your neighbors.”

Here’s the line item financial comparison.