Manette Sub-Area Plan Gets Bad Reception

Photo Credit: Abigail Hamilton

Mayor Cary Bozeman told the City Council Wednesday night that an effort to draw up a 20-year plan for growth in Manette may be abandoned.

It may be “the action of no action would be the preferred action,” Bozeman said.

What remains of the $50,000 to pay for the Manette Sub-Area Plan could be used to prepare for growth in another neighborhood. Charleston and Anderson Cove were named as possible beneficiaries.

“Manette is not one that seems to be interested,” Bozeman said.

However, abandoning the plan would leave unanswered concerns, namely about parking, sidewalks, crosswalks and preparing for a new bridge across the Port Washington Narrows.

Bozeman told the council he instructed his staff to meet with council members to decide if the process should go forward or stop dead in its tracks.

The plan to steer development in the tight-knit neighborhood has endured severe criticism from quarters of its resident population.

Campaign signs that read, “Save Manette/ Community Character Counts” have popped up. Not only do the ideas of raising building heights or increasing density been contentious, but also the charge that a city “stakeholders” committee doesn’t have enough property owners and residents, among others, have drawn ire.

At an overcrowded meeting last week to explain the results of an earlier meeting and to take more input from community members, the architecture firm employees hired by the city were talked over, interrupted and ultimately flustered by members of the crowd. Some audience members pleaded for quiet, to let the firm members talk. One man who spoke up in support of development, saying condo high-rises were a natural fit for Manette, was shouted down.

The call for suggestions drew such numbers the city postponed a meeting and kept the comment period open until after Manette Fest this weekend.

Councilman Adam Brockus, whose district includes Manette, said he opposed pulling out of the plan. He said the issues of sidewalks, parking and cross walks were unresolved. There is also the bridge.

The aged Manette Bridge is scheduled to be replaced, with construction running from 2010 to 2012. One of the suggestions offered by planners was a roundabout as an alternative to stop signs or traffic lights.

Laura Lyon, city financial services director, said she did not have exact figures, but estimated about $25,000 of the $50,000 for Manette had not been spent and could be redirected to planning in another neighborhood.

The city’s comprehensive plan calls for sub-area plans, which are detailed growth plans for neighborhoods expecting more people over the coming decades. Bozeman has said he would ask for money in the budget to pay for a Anderson Cove Sub-Area Plan. Lyon said a draft 2009 budget would be ready near the end of October.

23 thoughts on “Manette Sub-Area Plan Gets Bad Reception

  1. I feel sickened.

    But from I’ve heard about the rude behavior of too many of the residents at the meeting, I can’t fault the city for looking elsewhere than Manette.

    It may be that the seed of decay (loss of the mainstay residents) has already set in.

    The old time residents would NEVER have caused such unruly rude behavior. They would have listened.
    Sharon O’Hara

  2. Manette area residents may be missing an opportunity to have a master plan that controls development over the next 20 years in a way that the community wants. If the idea of a plan is abandoned, development will instead be governed by money, not the wishes of our community. The alternatives presented at that meeting were not cast in concrete, they were designed to stimulate discussion and provide input. The crowd just said no to everything. To expect no change over the next 20 years is a pipe dream. I, for one, would like to see some semblence of order to that change.

  3. Behavior aside, as I wasn’t there I can’t comment on it, I think the wondrful success of the Bremerton Waterfront, should have been incentive enough for the residents of Manette to jump on the Band Wagon. Why wouldn’t a tight knit, small artsy community, not unlike Fremont in Seattle, want high rise condo’s that aren’t selling and are blocking everyone elses view of the water? Ingrates!

  4. How can you throw the plan away if the majority of the public hasn’t heard it. I live in Manette I didn’t hear of the meeting until after and was planning to go to the next one for sure. Progress always doesn’t have to be bad, I agree that west Bremerton needs serious attention. I certainly dont want my neighborhood to look like it, and some parts of Manette is starting to resemble it. People dont be so affraid of a little progress look at the plan and make an informed decision after you get the facts. Too bad so many loud mouths out there that take away from others because they were born and raised here.

  5. The problem moosette is that nobody at the meeting was proposing high rise condos. Quite to the contrary the proposals included definite height restrictions and explicitly ruled out high rise condos. The planners stated right up front that they had heard the objections to high rises and they were off the table. Without a master plan I am afraid that high rise condos will simply be put back in the mix by default and the opportunity to preserve a “tight knit, small artsy community” will be lost.

  6. “…tight knit, small artsy community…”
    Since when?

    The artists I know aren’t fools – they enjoy people actually buying their art and encourage growth.
    They would not bite off the hand reached out to communicate.
    Without community controlled growth and interest…Manette becomes just another place with land for sale to the highest bidder.

    If the Manette residents truly want no growth at all, what is the point of spending money to replace the Manette bridge when it comes down? If another bridge is needed, it could be located in another place.

    Funny how such a small group of people can destroy what others work hard to build.

  7. Sharon, I don’t think the people of Manette are against growth entirely. I don’t think that at all. They banded together and spoke out against some proposed height increases and building types that they feel would not fit in with their community. I agree with them. Character counts. Maybe a few of them got overly passionate about their beliefs. There are other areas of the city and community that would be more accepting and benefit more from the type of development suggested in the plan. Even though I don’t live in Manette, I have a partial view of it from my house. I live in an area of older homes. Mine was built in 1913. I am thinking if the city steamrolls over Manette and it’s very definitive character to get their way 100%..Who is next…possibly my neighborhood? Will they bulldoze my home for a more modern condo? Does that make me against growth to be concearned about this type of thing and question it?

    I feel that it is a knee jerk on the City’s part to suggest that they will remove themselves entirely. I feel that it is a very transparent attempt to scare Manette residents into being more agreeable to the city’s way of thinking. I have faith that both sides would be able to work out an agreeable solution if they are so inclined.

  8. Colleen…Why should the city get bruised knuckles knocking on locked doors when they can do good elsewhere…such as Charleston.

    I was born in Bremerton and raised until six in Manette. I loved the Manette neighborhood…the people then were open to ideas and willing to listen…and I have lived there several times over the past (almost) seventy years.

    I had no idea until the reports of this meeting how the Manette people have changed. The ‘old timers’ are gone. That is for sure.
    The ‘shouters’ at that meeting are the destroyers…not people who care about their neighborhood and neighbors.
    They are also the first indication of neighborhood unsoundness.

    Trouble is people like Ed Cameron and Karen Clay and others can get hurt by the fools who won’t listen.

    Do you really think the mayor has time to play games with Manette… a ‘transparent attempt to scare Manette residents…”
    Colleen when they work elsewhere?

    You had some high priced and trained people at that meeting…and shouted them down. The city should send the shouters a bill.

    In my opinion…. Sharon O’Hara

  9. I have been reading Mayor Bozemn’s comment and the reaction to it. I was at the meeting in Mannette and yes people were wound up as you would also be if you had received misinformation about 5 and 8 story condo’s being built. Room was filled with misinformed, frustrated, untrusting people, What else would one expect. Change is necessary and the fact that we were asked to participate rather than told what was going to happen is a nice change. Good people who would normally accept changes don’t think straight when they are highly emotional about 5 or more story condos arriving on their doorstep.
    I want to see Manette change with sidewalks, a cleaned up E 11th street (it isn’t very attractive) and a plan that keeps growth in check and views protected. Not everyone in Manette feels that no change is the way to go.

  10. Pat, I would expect decent polite and interested people LISTENING to the people most interested in helping growth, yet keep Manette’s unique character.

    The out of control shouters should have been escorted out of the meeting by police officers. What they did was abuse, verbal abuse and I can’t help but wonder if that is how they solve all their frustrations.
    …my opinion… Sharon O’Hara

  11. Sharon,

    I did not shout anyone down. Just because the presenters are high priced and well trained does not mean they are 100% correct in their proposal for the community. I am currently sitting in as a stakeholder on the Bremerton School District, City of Bremerton School Sitting Project. The study is being paid for by a $150,000 grant. The Seattle Architects involved are truly visionary and very much interested in what the group has to say. They have been a pleasure to work with. That does not mean that I won’t continue to question why the grant was applied for in the first place for a facility that is at least 10 years down the road. I will continue to question why additional community services proposed to co-locate with the Jr High are needed at all since these services are already being scheduled for implementation in two existing projects that are further along their path to completion in the West Bremerton area. My questions in this matter in no way indicate that that I am against the architects themselves or the project entirely.

    No, I do not think they are “playing” with Manette. Strong-arm tactics are typically present during certain stages of negotiations with government entities. On both sides.

  12. I don’t think Manette residents are opposed to development, and I don’t think that someone who wants to “Save Manette” necessarily wants to halt development.

    The fact is, not many people in Manette were informed that meetings were even taking place. I didn’t know until a neighbor told me. I, for one, appreciate that there were so many people at the August meeting. That is what Community Development and input are all about. If it weren’t for the campaign signs and resident outreach, few people would have even known. I may not agree with everyone, but I respect that they were all willing to join in the discussion and present their viewpoint.

    Yes, the meeting got a little unruly. However, the organizers continued to present information that was designed for an expected turnout of 30. No microphone, etc., so crowd control would be nearly impossible. Their intent was to report on the results of a process that most of the residents in attendance either didn’t know existed or found flawed because there was little resident input. It may have been a better idea to take a slightly different approach. If you have an agitated group that you know is going to respond negatively to your message, you sometimes have to change the method of delivery. All of their proposals included 3-story condos/townhouses and mixed-use buildings. One included a 45-ft building that would have blocked some views. I’m not surprised that people overreacted or got a little perturbed.

    However, now is the time for cooler heads to prevail. The process may have cost some money already, but it really should be started over and involve more of the community residents. That would accomplish everyone’s goals. A process without all affected parties represented doesn’t make sense. The mayor could win big points by: 1) acknowledging the concerns of those citizens in attendance and thanking them for their participation in the public process; 2) acknowledge that not enough people knew what was going on, and 3) start over with a more representative group. Everyone would be represented and progress could continue.

    I think most of the residents of Manette appreciate that the city is involved in planning. Manette is a charming neighborhood and it says a lot that 200 residents showed up to protect something they love. That’s not negative, that’s wonderful. I think the city should embrace that level of citizen interest and funnel the energy into positive, agreeable growth management.

  13. Perhaps we need to define “High Rise”. If I lived on or near the water in Manette, the last thing I would want is a five to eight story building in my neighborhood. I think my point, though clothed in sarcasm perhaps, is that Manette should be a little distrustful of Bremerton City officials and community planning. With the housing market as it is and condos still available downtown, why are we talking about adding more? What is wrong with a community of modest family dwellings and unique restaurants and shops? I work for an electrical contractor here in Bremerton, and my grandparents lived on the corner of Perry in Manette for many years. I see remodels, additions and upgrades happening in Manette now. It is an established community that is changing and improving already.
    I think Bremerton would be better served by looking at pockets of neglect and need such as Anderson Cove, the area behind Auto Center Way and other neighborhoods that could really use a plan and a lift.

  14. Thank you all for your comments.

    I’ve talked to the Mayor this morning and he said he will listen to the people and community on continuing the Sub-Area Planning Process. I had planned in addition to the workshop to have a tent at MentteFest for more comments. Now I may have it to ask if the Sub-area Plan should continue or not. Even with no changes in height, a Sub-Area Plan is still needed to delineate where the commercial/residential line should be, and what improvements can be done to sidewalks, parking, and pedestrian crosswalks.

    So if you missed the workshop or not, please swing by at ManetteFest on Saturday.

  15. “…Anderson Cove, the area behind Auto Center Way and other neighborhoods that could really use a plan and a lift….”

    If at all possible, it should be Manette.

    Now that I know where ‘Anderson Cove’ is why in the world would a place behind Auto Center Way be developed before a neighborhood close to Bremerton?
    Who in the world goes out there except to buy a car?

    Charleston is connected to Bremerton and is a real eye sore – why wouldn’t Bremerton look there to benefit that area before considering the area behind the car lots?

    The residents and businesses closest to downtown should benefit and add to Bremerton’s new face… not the owners of the car lots way out of town.
    In my opinion… Sharon O’Hara

  16. Who in the world goes out there except to buy a car?

    Only the people who live there…that’s who.
    There are neighborhoods, in Bremerton City limits, by Auto Center Way. Take a drive out there sometime. You might be surprised. There is so much more to Bremerton than just downtown. Manette is a well established community. It is going to be there and going to prosper as it has and is. It has streets and lights and sidewalks and well everything. As a city resident I would like to see our attention and resources focused on those areas of need where children don’t have sidewalks to walk on, there are no street lights so it feels unsafe at night, and as in the case of Anderson Cove, for lack of better words, it is just plain creepy.

    Wouldn’t it be better to improve those areas that have real need first?

  17. Mr. Brockus, thank you for your post.

    Mossette, you are right. Attention needs to be focused on Anderson Cove. It currently has a much greater need for improvements and redevelopment than Manette ever will.

    Sharon, there are neighborhoods surrounding Auto Center way. Some are in the city some like West Hills are not. They voted against annexation into the City of Bremerton in 2007.

  18. I was the neighbor that spoke up in favor of the plan and was booed, I would not say that I was shouted down. I can be rather loud myself, it would take a lot to shout me down. 😉

    I attended the first meeting (not the second) and so was well informed about the process. The city and the contractor are doing good work on this plan. Unfortunately a few individuals stirred up a lynch mob with misinformation. I spoke to four people at the meeting who were not even from Manette.

    I belong to the Manette Neighborhood Coalition. I think the person who put up the “Save Manette” signs around the neighborhood is a member of the Coalition also. We need more people to join our group so that we can have a balance of opinions and not just the “Not in my back yard” crowd. You can join at Manette fest this weekend or go sign up on the website.

    If you are at Manette fest look for me, short fat guy with a red moustache. You can probably find me pestering Adam. I am raising the fifth generation of my family in Bremerton, we have made our home across the street from the Manette playfied for the past 16 years.

    Robin Henderson

  19. “…no street lights so it feels unsafe at night, and as in the case of Anderson Cove, for lack of better words, it is just plain creepy.

    Wouldn’t it be better to improve those areas that have real need first?…”

    moosette…That would depend. If the city has $100,000 to spend…should it be spent building a sidewalk or spent to gain more revenue to fix more than a sidewalk?

    If Manette should prosper with controlled growth the success adds more money to the revenue base for Bremerton to work with….and fix more neighborhoods.

    Same with Charleston … the business blight there should be addressed too.
    Sharon O’Hara

  20. Well Robin…there are five generations of my family here too…we’re looking after the place/s we care about.
    Sharon O’Hara

  21. So now that Downtown is so succesful and bringing in so much revenue, we move to Manette. Now my Tax Dollars get to fix Manette. How long will it take to reach North Wycoff? How long until the city tells me I can get a sidewalk so the two little boys next door aren’t playing on the street? How long until the city can afford to add that last needed speed bump so the cars and buses don’t whiz by my house at 40 MPH in a residential zone. Our neighborhood has literally begged the city to do something here. What did we get? A “limited sight distance” sign.

    A city government is supposed to take care of the citizens they represent. Why is this city government using our money to subsidize contractors (ie the waterfront condo’s in which we backed the loan for private enterprise) and ignoring the very apparent needs many neighborhoods have? Trickle down is just a theory that has been proven not to work unless you are the trickler.

    I would like to see all of Bremerton prosper. Home ownership provides stable, consistent taxable revenue for any city government. If we want to look at long-term stability and consistent appropriate growth for Bremerton, we need to encourage home ownership and pride in our neighborhoods. To do this we must provide an environment that encourages families to want to live in Bremerton. A big part of that is the city providing a consistent and safe environment for it’s residence. This includes sidewalks, street lights, speed control and parks and green spaces.

    Working from the bottom up is always the best bethod. Our neighborhoods, all of them, are the foundation for appropriate and
    sustainable growth in Bremerton. Let’s start where it counts.

  22. moosette…nicely said…especially the children playing in the streets for lack of sidewalks…though why would children play on sidewalks…most people use them to walk on. Many if not most people have a fenced back yard for kids to play.

    Many of us grow up without sidewalks and I think them far less important than people trails…trails usable for folks on recumbent trikes, wheelchairs as well.

    Children do deserve a safe place to play in neighborhoods and why a community park and trail system through-out Kitsap County should be a priority.
    Why not start right there in Bremerton?

    I notice huge changes in Bremerton in terms of freshly painted houses, tidy yards from just a year ago.
    Change takse time…. in the meantime, home bargains are still plentiful in Bremerton…
    Sharon O’Hara

  23. For those of you left wondering, Andrea Spenser and the citizens of Manette came to an agreement for continuing the process, but slowed down and with more citizen input, and the Council gave its approval last night. The City will meet with the Manette Stakeholders Group on October 2nd to set about a schedule for more meetings with community and business owners to finish by Spring. Failure to do so would have meant the Sub-Area Plan was dead, local control would have been lost, and that the next planning would be initiated by the next developer.

    I thank the Manette Business Association and Manette Neighborhood Coalition for working with planning department to come about with this revised plan. Everyone will try their best to keep up communication with everyone in Manette to let them know what’s going on and where we are going to.

    If anyone is interested in learning about the process, please go to this website, which should be updated soon. You can even give a suggestion before the October 2nd Meeting.


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