Monthly Archives: November 2007

Manchester Plan to Have Public Hearing Before Commissioners Nov. 26

On Nov. 13, the county’s Planning Commission approved reccommendation of the plan to the county’s Board of Commissioners.

A public hearing before the commissioners is set for Nov. 26. This is the public’s last chance to give testimony about the plan. Katrina Knutson, who is in charge of shepherding the plan through the public vetting process, is currently accepting written testimony. E-mail her at

Mike Valentino commented on an earlier story about the plan:
I would like to respond to the November 14th article: Manchester Plan Approved by Planning Commission. Please approve me so my comment will appear.
Answer: Mike, sorry I didn’t get a blog entry up sooner. Comment away. You can now also leave comments right at the bottom of stories, which hasn’t done much for the blog numbers, but it doesn’t matter to me, as long as people get a chance to have their say.

DCD Fees Story: Questions and Answers

Despite today’s eye-catching story on the 10th anniversary of the Orca whales’ visit, some people noticed and have already commented on the story about the county’s Department of Community Development’s plans to become self-sustaining, and in the process, raise fees.

Rebel says:
I guess my one question is the appeals process. If we are going to go to an enterprise fund, than the amount the County charges for an appeal should also be adjusted to reflect legal costs.
Answer: According to proposed policies Keeton has developed and the commissioners still need to decide on, “The county currently charges for appeals, but the rate is significantly lower than actual costs.” under the new system the amount charged for an appeal will reflect actual costs, but if the applicant is successful, the department would reimburse the fee.

Ironhorse said: I’m confused.
“In 2007, the department’s $7.5 million budget was subsidized by the county’s general fund in the amount of $1.5 million, with another $1 million coming from the road fund.”
“Under Keeton’s direction, DCD staff identified cost-saving ways to work more efficiently. While the department was authorized to spend $8.1 million in 2007, it will be coming in at more than half a million under budget, he said.”
The numbers don’t add up.
Ironhorse is right, my error.
Answer: The department in 2007 was authorized under the county budget to spend $8.1 million. Larry Keeton told me their revenue was $4.1 million from fees, $1 million from the county road fund, $700,000 from grants, $289,000 from stormwater management and “$1-$1.5 million” from the general fund. Taking the higher number of $1.5 million, that’s a spending of $7.589 million, that leaves a difference of $411,000. If the final numbers show that the DCD has spent closer to $1 million of the general fund, the difference between the amount authorized and the amount spent would be a little over one million. When all the dust settles, the amount will probably be somewhere inbetween.
Regardless, it’s significant that the department will spend less this year than it was authorized to spend.

irmarcus writes:
Seems like a good step. More like a fee for services rendered.Although square footage of a structure doesn’t always take in complexity nor what it takes to fix prints that are heavily flawed, while in the opposite spectrum affordable housing prints that have been used multiple times and approved should be much less expensive. Does any of this deal with the ” challenging lot ” perspective, say a steep slope or one with buffer or hydro problems?
Answer: In Keeton’s policy proposal he says, “Due to the wide scope of plan types and complexities, it is often difficult to determine an exact fee. Therefore, the department will establish a ‘generic table’ that an average application should take to review, but specific applications may be charged more if they require more time for analysis etc. The average plan time is the estimated time necessary to process the application through review, approval and inspection requirements.”

Keep those observations and questions coming. This is an evolving process.

McCormick Woods Annexation Q&A

At the meeting Thursday on a possible annexation of McCormick Woods into the City of Port Orchard, there were far more questions and answers than I had room to address in the story. In addition, South Kitsap Commissioner Jan Angel weighed in after the meeting, speaking from a state convention of county commissioners. I’ll try to cover some of that territory below. I will not address too much territory covered in an earlier article advancing the meeting.

First: here’s a pdf copy of the map that the City of Port Orchard displayed at the meeting. It’s hard to see the details in this rendition, but it’s a start. Here’s the map:
Download file

Second, a clarification: In the Kitsap Sun article today on a possible McCormick Woods annexation to the City of Port Orchard, Dick Davis is indirectly quoted as saying McCormick Woods has 1,581 registered voters. That is the number in Precinct 281, and “The Woods” represents about 65-70 percent of that precinct. Davis’ estimate, based on his involvement in the school bond issue, is that McCormick Woods has about 900-1000 registered voters. Davis, who does not represent the homeowners’ association, was making the point the McWoods, if annexed, would represent a significant percentage of the the city’s voters and therefore has the potential to influence the future of the city. The city currently has 3,391 registered voters, according to Davis.

OK here we go. If you’ve got questions, answers or more information, jump in.

What’s the history on McCormick Woods and the City of Port Orchard?
Jan Angel, a former realtor, said that as far back as she can remember, it’s been the assumption that McCormick Woods would go with the City of Port Orchard.
According to PO Mayor Kim Abel, a group of citizens showed interest in annexation about 10 years ago, but complications related to the county’s compliance with the Growth Management Act stalled the process.
Angel said that another attempt was made at the start of her first term 6 years ago. Residents, who initiated the annexation talk, were concerned over the surcharge on non-city residents imposed by the city after the developer transferred the sewer line to the city. Financially there was no significant advantage or disadvantage to McCormick Woods residents. There was no contiguous boundary with PO at the time, meaning McWoods was not eligible for annexation. The citizens let the issue drop, Angel said.

Why is McCormick Woods now eligible to annex?
If you look at the map, you’ll see a small piece of the urban growth area on Glenwood Road that is contiguous to the McCormick Woods/ULID # 6 UGA. Now that that area has annexed to PO, it makes the rest of the McCormick Woods Urban Village UGA eligible, including The Ridge, a new development under construction, and McCormick West, yet to be built.

Would McCormick Woods zoning change if annexation takes place?
McWoods is currently zoned urban-low. According to City Attorney Greg Jacoby, in annexations, UGAs come in at the “most similar” zoning. A change of zoning would be a separate process. According to Linda Niebanck, former head of McCormick Woods Land Co., who is still a member of the McCormick Woods Homeowners Association, it would also be a lengthy and likely tortuous process. City Planner JoAnne Long-Woods said that to change the density of already developed areas would require a consensus of all property owners. “Spot” zoning is discouraged by the state’s Growth Management Act.

Does the city have an impact fee?
Not currently.

Would McCormick Woods residents continue to pay a sewer surcharge?
As city residents, no; the surcharge would be dropped. There’s some historical disgruntlement here on the part of McWoods residents, according to Homeowners Association vice president Ray McGovern. The developer built the sewer, a move facilitated by the county, but then sold it to the city, which imposes a surcharge on non-city residents and has since the 1960s. The residents, who weren’t given a say, made their case to the city council, but “We got as much satisfaction arguing with the council as I would arguing with a wall,” McGovern said.
So if residents are gun-shy about annexation, this issue is probably part of their thought process.

Would residents be better off or worse off financially after annexation?
It’s close to a wash. For example, the owner of a $382,900 home, for example, would pay $230 less per year in property taxes and utilities.

What about storm water and roads?
The city would be responsible for maintaining storm water systems and roads.

What does the city stand to gain in an annexation?
The city treasurer, Kris Tompkins, ran numbers on the changes in revenue that would take place if McWoods joined the city. According to her calculations, the increased revenue would allow the city to hire an additional 6 staff members, including two police officers. This would likely not happen immediately, although the two officers are a first priority. The increased staffing is what the city sees as necessary to handle the increased population.
In future years, the increased revenue would be used for improvements to roads and infrastructure necessitated by growth.
Tompkins said that annexation would provide a number increased revenue streams in addition to property taxes and utilities. Some of these include B&O taxes, building fees, land use fees, state shared revenues and other miscellaneous sources of income.

Finalization of annexation requires approval by owners of 75 percent of the land in whatever boundaries are defined to be annexed. And the boundaries are up to the citizens who organize the petition to annex. One audience member at the meeting was concerned that McCormick Land Company would have a dominant interest due to the amount of land it owns.
The developer in fact is GEM 1 LLC, which is made up of McCormick Woods and Granite Land Co. of California.
Skrobut said he would neither force annexation down people’s throats nor stand in their way. He said there are some fine detail legal issues to work out about agreements made between the developer and the county.

How will annexation affect crimes in the City of Port Orchard?
One audience member was concerned about the assaults etc. reported by City Police. Chief Al Townsend acknowledged that the city, with at least one rowdy establishment downtown, does have a high crime rate (he mentioned “10th” not making it clear if it’s 10th in the state or what). Townsend said that annexation would not all of a sudden cause crime to migrate up the hill. He did say statistically that the city’s crime rate would go down if McWoods annexed, as it’s a relatively low crime area.
“If you come into the area, we’re going to drop off the list, and that’s a good thing,” said Townsend.
It appears this would be another incentive for the city to welcome a McWoods annexation.

One audience member asked if the McWoods parks and trail system would suddenly become fair game for any city resident. Kim Abel said, no, they belong to the homeowners association. She said the county would retain an easement to its park land through the McWoods trails.
McGovern pointed out that the trails are not gated or guarded, “and even the people in Port Orchard look remarkably like us so it’s hard to tell.”

I asked about the potential financial implications to city residents of the county’s intention of develop Bethel Corridor. The county has proposed a number of funding models, some of which include the county incurring debt, some of which don’t. Currently, they’re proposing a “transportation benefit district,” which includes McWoods UGA and would be funded by either a property tax hike or a license plate fee hike, both subject to voter approval. Angie Silva of the county pointed this out at the meeting. But I’ve got an e-mail into Eric Baker, who’s in charge of the Bethel Corridor project. What I’d like to know is, what if the county goes back to a model in which it shoulders some of the debt for the $43.4 million project? When the city annexes the area, it would take over any debt associated with it, and that would inevitably be paid by citizens, at least as I read it.

Where do the county commissioners stand on a possible McCormick Woods annexation?
Jan Angel and Josh Brown have both told me that a McWoods annexation would be in keeping with tenets of the state’s Growth Management Act. (I’ve talked about Bremerton’s interest in the area — or apparent lack thereof — in both articles).
Brown said that, compared to the Central Kitsap and Silverdale UGA’s, revenue from McCormick Woods is relatively insignificant, essentially small potatoes. Jan Angel would support the annexation, but, she said, “small potatoes add up.”
The Kitsap Regional Coordinating Council, with representatives from county and city governments, has been working on a comprehensive analysis of urban growth areas, according to Will Maupin, Bremerton City Council president and KRCC rep. The analysis will cover where UGAs should logically annex and the financial impact on cities and the county.

Where does the McWoods Homeowners Association stand on annexation?
The association is forbidden in its bylaws to take a position on the issue. They were just hosting the meeting.

What happens next?
Residents who are interested in pursuing annexation and helping to organize a petition drive, should call the homeowners association at (360) 895-3800.
The city is also supposed to be neutral on this, but Kim Abel said they would serve in an advisory capacity. Contact the city at (360) 876-4407.

McCormick Woods Annexation: What do you think?

Just a quick entry here to check in with those of you who attended last night’s informational meeting on a possible McCormick Woods annexation to the City of Port Orchard.

The story will publish over the weekend. And I post a more detailed entry later.

So what did you think? Does it sound like a good deal? Did the discussion raise any red flags? What questions remain unanswered?

Incidentally, after Michelle reminded me of the Kitsap Business Journal article in which Bremerton City Councilman Will Maupin came off sounding like the city is interested in annexing that part of McCormick Woods that abuts on Bremerton boundaries, I called him. Maupin said that the council and the mayor had discussed the possibility but that they are “not aggressively pursuing” an annexation at this time. Ultimately, said Maupin, as everyone has said, it’s up to the residents to decide where they would like to annex.

Clauson is the Apparent Winner in Position 4 City Council Race

Challenger says she will stay involved in city politics.
By Chris Henry
John Clauson is the apparent winner in the race for Port Orchard City Council position 4.
In unofficial results, Clauson had 51.38 percent of the vote and held a 50-vote lead over challenger Cindy Lucarelli, who had 48.17 percent, as of Tuesday. Write-ins took. 45 percent.
Clauson’s lead of 3.21 percentage points is well above the one-half-of-one percent margin that would automatically trigger a recount. The election will be certified on Nov. 27.
“I’m very excited,” said Clauson. “I’m pleased and looking forward to getting busy on the next four years.”
Clauson, a 25-year council veteran and chairman of the finance committee, was initially hesitant about running again due to what he characterized as a lack of teamwork on the council.
He faced political newcomer Cindy Lucarelli, who was a critic of the city’s downtown plan for economic revitalization because of its allowance on building heights. Clauson voted in favor of the plan when it was passed Sept. 25.
Lucarelli, a small-business owner who moved to Port Orchard in 2002, said she was pleased with the closeness of the race. She said she will continue to attend City Council meetings and will apply for the city’s newly formed design review board.
Clauson said economic revitalization will be at the top of his agenda as he enters his seventh term. He said the city’s recently passed downtown plan, along with annexation and development of the Bethel corridor, will be key to stimulating revenue streams for the city.
Clauson, commenting on the recent state Supreme Court ruling on I-747, said he and other members of the finance committee didn’t even consider raising property taxes above the 1 percent lid that has been in place since 2002. The ruling found I-747 unconstitutional and technically allows jurisdictions to revert to a 6 percent lid.
The City Council on Tuesday passed its 2008 property tax ordinance with a 1 percent lid.
Clauson said, even if the legislature allows all or part of the increased lid to stay in place, he would see a tax hike of more than 1 percent as a “last resort.”
“i think property taxes are something that could be used, but I’d really like the voters to be involved in that decision,” said Clauson.

SKHS Hosts Post-Grad Info Fair

You may have noticed that I haven’t posted in a few days. I was out of town taking my daughter on college visits in Oregon. Even though I’ve been through this before with my older son, it’s still a borderline overwhelming process. You can never get too much information, especially about financial aid.

This item really caught my eye:

SKHS Hosts a Post-High School Planning Night
South Kitsap High School is inviting all juniors, seniors and their parents are to the third annual Post High School Planning Night called “It’s Your Future” Fair from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday. The fair will be held in the high school commons and surrounding hallways. More than 50 representatives from apprenticeships, the military, community and technical colleges, 4-year colleges and universities, Work Source, Job Corps and other post-high school options will be attending with displays to provide beyond high school planning information. Two presentations will be made on the process of applying for Financial Aid for post high school education and training, one at 6 p.m. and another at 7 p.m.
Jostens will also be available to assist with ordering caps and gowns for graduation.
For more information, call the SKHS Career Center at (360) 874-5686.

McCormick Woods to Hear About PO Annexation

Let’s just cut right to the chase: No, Bremerton is not interested in annexing South Kitsap, at least the McCormick Woods area of South Kitsap (SKIA would be a story for another day).

McCormick Woods residents will hear from City of Port Orchard officials about what would happen if they were to petition the city for annexation at a meeting at 7 p.m. Nov. 15 at McCormick Woods Clubhouse. The story that runs in today’s Kitsap Sun is pasted below as I will be out of town.

In an earlier story I wrote about McCormick Woods, some residents of The Ridge, a development in the McCormick Woods Urban Village urban growth area, said they were concerned about being annexed by Bremerton.

But Bremerton Mayor Cary Bozeman promises hands off.
“As we understand it, this is an area that’s in Port Orchard’s Urban Growth Area, and we absolutely support their moving ahead with that annexation,” Bozeman said. “That’s what the UGA’s are supposed to be about. So we wish them well in their effort to annex that area. We think it makes a lot of sense from a land use standpoint.”

Mayor Kim Abel and representatives of the McCormick Woods Homeowners Association say they have heard of no organized opposition, but it’s early in the process and people still need to learn what annexation would involve.

If you live in the McCormick Woods urban growth area (see story belwo), how do you feel about becoming part of the City of Port Orchard? If you are a current PO resident, how do you feel about annexing McWoods?

Continue reading

Coppola “Shocked” by Margin of Victory

Lary Coppola, who spent nearly $30,000 on a campaign to become Port Orchard’s next mayor, said he was surprised, not that he defeated Tom Saunders in Tuesday’s election, but that he won by a veritable landslide.
Coppola swept 68.57 percent of the vote in preliminary results to Saunders’ 30.84 percent.
“I got in this to win. I didn’t get in this for the experience,” Coppola said. “I’m a little shocked by the margin. I thought it would be like the primary (in which he earned 58 percent of the vote).”
Coppola, publisher of the Kitsap Business Journal, raised $32,390 and spent $27,780 in cash donations during his campaign, along with more than $5,000 worth of in-kind contributions.
Saunders, owner of Saunders Appraisal and a long-time Kiwanis member, said he spent “almost $1,000” and was sidelined from door-belling during the last three weeks of the campaign with a bad knee. The mayoral race was his first venture into politics.

If you’ve been tracking Lary’s campaign, were you surprised by the results?

Coppola has said he admires Bremerton Mayor Cary Bozeman’s ability to catalyze change, and he’s said Port Orchard could learn a thing or two from the city across Sinclair Inlet. What do you predict will be his style of leadership with the City Council?

Speaking from a supporters’ rally tonight in Port Orchard, Coppola said his first order of business, even before he takes office, will be to hold a retreat with City Council members, “to get everyone on the same page, outline priorities and get everyone’s input on about where we would like to go.”

Tonight’s City Council election suggests voters want a change. Two incumbents — DiIenno and Wyatt — are out, and one — Clauson — is hanging on in a race too close to call. With longtime council member Bob Geiger retiring, a new mayor-elect and at least three new faces, the council could be in for a change in dynamics.

What do you predict for Port Orchard’s future given tonight’s election results?

See the Kitsap Sun’s Web site for complete election results.

The mayoral story wasn’t up on the Web site yet, so I’ll post it below.

Log Cabin For Sale

Anyone in the market for a piece of Port Orchard history?

Here’s an item from the Kitsap Peninsula Visitor and Convention Bureau’s newsletter:

Unfortunately we are closing the visitor center in Port Orchard. The building was first offered to the City of Port Orchard so that it could remain an operating visitor center but the city council decided against purchasing it. This means that the building is now up for sale to the general public. If you or anyone you know might be interested please let us know.

The 24′ x 10′ log cabin was built in 1998 by Hainsway Log Systems. The front porch is 24′ x 6′ and not attached to the building so it can be transported separately. It is a true log cabin constructed out of 7″ pine logs that are joined by notching. The cabin has floor joists with a plywood sub floor and wood flooring on top. The cabin sits on 4′ pier blocks which make it easy to jack up and drive a trailer under it.

The moving costs that we have looked into vary according to how it’s handled. The porch roof overhang may need to be removed for transport, but in most cases no other disassembly needs to be done. If transported on a lowboy truck there would be no height problems on the roads. The transportation cost could be as much a $7,000.00 or as little as $2,000.00 depending on distance and the amount of prep work needed. We are asking $8,000 for the building and transportation is up to the buyer. Building the cabin today would run somewhere in the $20k range. We currently insure it for $15,000 since it is 9 years old.