Category Archives: Growth

Sun Shines Again on the Sub-Area Plan

The Manette Sub-Area Plan officially came back to life early last month, and will walk among us again next week at the Norm Dicks building.

The city has set the open house to accept public input and answer questions, 4 p.m., Monday, in downtown Bremerton. Judging from the packed house when the Manette plan was cracked open for public questioning in August, stretching to a 4-hour forum in a larger space is a good idea. That raucous August meeting packed the senior center, almost axed the city’s commitment to the process, frustrated some with questions that didn’t get answered, at times exasperated the consultants hired by the city to shepherd the process, and made a lot of people stand in a stuffy room for a few hours.

Not that I’m complaining about involving that many passionate folks, but I did get tired standing that night. So here’s another chance to offer opinions that strengthen the neighborhood’s investment (and hopefully the city’s decision making) in what the Manette of 2025 (give or take a few years) looks like. Catching my attention so far are what becomes of the intersection at the base of a new Manette Bridge, how soon infrastructure improvements come along 11th Street and whether we’ll ever see condos above a sub shop. Click here for the full list of topics and background from the city.

Manette neighbors are knocking doors to spread the word about the meeting, I’ve been told, so maybe you’ve already made your plans. I’m the editor of this newspaper and a Bremerton resident (and now, apprentice Bremerton Beat blogger) who watched the boil-over on this one with interest last summer, so here’s my part in reminding folks of the second round.

Forward the link around, maybe you’ll save some energy for Monday.

Is Port Orchard Suffering from Bremerton Envy?

Diagram A: Bremerton, left, bullying Port Orchard out of its share of the SKIA pie

It’s tough living in the shadow of Bremerton.

Witness this, an unsigned editorial from the Port Orchard Independent, where a mystery writer speaking on behalf of the entire town, is, like, totally bummed out that the Port of Bremerton has dealt smack-downs to Port Orchard SKIA proposals.

What’s Bremerton Got to Crow About?

Before he left for vacation, Kitsap Causus blog host Steve Gardner put
Port Orchard “on notice” again. “On notice,” a term and concept
blatantly pilfered from commentator/comedian Stephen Colbert, means
“I’m watching you.”

Gardner writes, “Port Orchard gets on the board after consecutive weeks
on it when this was a feature of the Bremerton Beat. It just feels good
to put the city there again.”

And well you should be watching PO Mr. also-Bremerton-Beat-reporter.
Sure B-town may have been the subject of a glowing editorial in the
Kitsap Sun over the weekend for all its accomplishments … condos,
tunnels … not without growing pains, it was noted. But Port Orchard
has its own accomplishments, too.

Last week the PO City Council, ta da, completed the draft of its
Downtown Overlay District plan, which has been a work in progress
throughout the past year and then some. On a note that may or may not
be relevant, it was completed not on Mayor Kim Abel’s watch (she was on
vacation), but with Mayor Pro Tem Rick Wyatt at the helm. What now?
Well, the draft goes on the council’s Aug. 27 agenda for public
discussion. Understand, this document has already been discussed (and
sometimes just plain cussed) nearly to paralysis. But hopefully, the
end is in sight. Once the plan is in place, property owners, who have
been waiting to learn the rules can advance with major renovations of
their buildings.

In the meantime, business and property owners and the city itself have
not been idle. Storefronts have been spiffied up (see especially
Morningside Bread Co., which recently underwent a major remodel and
expansion). Flowers donated courtesy of the Port Orchard Bay Street
Association have been kept up beautifully by the city’s Public Works
Department and are in full bloom (see also the flowers in the Port
Orchard Marina). The city is making renovations to the sidewalks with
some attractive touches, and new trash cans add to the look. (It’s
amazing what some really classy trash cans can do.)

I spoke with Robin Scott, owner of Pettirosso salon in downtown, and
she affirmed that there is indeed a feeling of positive momentum among
business owners in town. “It’s great,” she said.

Furthermore, the city isn’t just an empty showpiece. Over the weekend
for example, classic car aficionados crowded downtown to show off their
beautiful babies at The Cruz, along with the POBSA’s Festival by the Bay.

So there Mr. Gardner, just because we don’t have a tunnel doesn’t mean
we’re not worth continuing to watch. So you’d best keep an eye on PO.

Bremerton Shrunk

Lots of papers have stories about Washington’s population hitting 6.5 million, but the News-Tribune in Tacoma has an added bit.

• Bremerton is the only area city to see its population decline since 2000. Its population fell by nearly 1,500 people to 35,810.

In October we had another story about the county’s slow, but steady, population increase. The Bremerton population decrease was given some context.

The biggest drop came between the 2004 and 2005 estimates, when the population dropped from 37,520 to 34,580. In 2006, the estimates picked back up to 35,910.

The dip, local officials say, was likely due in part to the departure of the USS Carl Vinson and three fast-combat support ships that were decommissioned around that time.

Bremerton Mayor Cary Bozeman sees the uptick in the population of the city and surrounding areas as part of a trend that’s just getting its legs.

“We’re starting to see the fruits of some of our labor,” he said, commenting on the city’s efforts to increase job opportunities. “A lot of it has to do with people’s ability to find work and live where they work.”

New condos along the downtown waterfront, an East Park development, another one in West Hills, the new Westpark and other scattered developments should have the city’s population increasing again.

What Bremerton Can Control

Christopher Dunagan’s story Wednesday about county and city officials reaching an agreement on annexation language in the county’s planning policies illustrates the reality for cities.

“We only control what we can control,” (said Will Maupin, Bremerton City Council president).

If the people of Navy Yard City do not want to be annexed, for example, it doesn’t matter what Bremerton’s comprehensive plan says, Maupin noted. And if the people of Silverdale want to form a city, they can do so with a vote.

The state’s Growth Management Act appears to want cities to annex property to help meet the demand for growth, but nothing in state law makes it easy for cities to do that. Residents in Tracyton, West Hills and Navy Yard City may just like it that way.

The city tried to annex part of Tracyton and only got the parts where a developer was building and where residents had signed papers years ago agreeing not to fight annexation in exchange for the city providing utility services.

There is no such agreement in West Hills, where unless things change drastically residents will handily turn down Bremerton’s annexation bid in August. In Navy Yard City residents have resisted in the past and may be headed that way again.