Monthly Archives: March 2009

Some McWoods Residents Suspicious of Fire

South Kitsap Fire & Rescue has not yet released the results of its investigation into a fire that leveled the McCormick Woods Golf Course Maintenance shed on Sunday night. But some residents are speculating that it was the result of foul play. General Manager Shawn Cucciardi on Monday said he had no reason to believe the fire was intentionally set and he wouldn’t speculate on the possibility of arson.

Following is an e-mail forwarded from resident Dick Ziglar with comments apparently from Dick Davis, who chairs the annexation committee.

“Although this mailing list was originally put forward as a vehicle for keeping everyone updated on annexation, we think this incident is important and feel an obligation to share with everyone.

Dick Davis

We suspect that by now most of you have been made aware of the fire that occurred at the golf course maintenance yard over the weekend. Following is a link to an article from the Kitsap Sun:

While the article does not give many details, preliminary information suggests that this was no “curtains too close to a space heater” kind of fire. If the results of current investigations confirm that this fire is the result of human activity, this should be cause for concern in our community. At the very least we should all be a little more diligent and observant and if we have any information that might be useful to authorities we should put that information forward.

We have talked with Shawn Cucciardi and Jeff Mehlert and they are doing what one would expect good businessmen would do. They have inventoried their loss and are actively engaging with their suppliers to replace equipment and supplies as soon as possible. In fact, they have already taken delivery of some new pieces of equipment and will do everything possible to continue their course maintenance program in preparation for the upcoming season. Shawn also wants us all to know that this incident will have no effect on the operations of the Clubhouse at McCormick Woods, the golf pro shop or the golf course itself. It is business as usual at these venues so tee it up and hit away.

Events such as this one are ugly and scary. We, as residents in this community, need to take every opportunity to demonstrate that we will not stand still and watch these kinds of things happen to us. You might take a little time to let Shawn and Jeff know that we stand ready to support them in this difficult time.

Have a Hand in the Future of the Sidney/Pottery Corridor

The City of Port Orchard is working on a master plan for the Sidney/Pottery Corridor, between Tremont Street and Sedgwick Road.

See a map of the area with proposed traffic improvements here:


The plan will provide for transportation improvements, including bicycle lanes, sidewalks, bus shelters, attractive lighting, landscaping and “street furniture.”
“This study is intended to provide the entire length with not only an aesthetically pleasing thoroughfare but to also provide a tool for any future development along the corridor,” said James Weaver, the city’s development director.
A component of public outreach for the plan is the creation of a Sidney/Pottery Corridor Study subcommittee consisting of members of the city’s Planning Commission and volunteers from the public.
The city will hold a “kick-off” open house April 20 and conduct an online survey. Comments from the survey will be incorporated into a draft of the plan that will be available to the public.
There will be a joint public hearing on the plan in early fall. The plan is to be adopted in December.
To volunteer for the committee, contact the Port Orchard planning department at (360) 876-4991 and ask for Tom Bonsell, or e-mail

Seattle Web Site Mistakes Port Orchard for Bremerton

It’s a common error. People hear “Bremerton” and they think “Kitsap County.” Hence the persistent perception that we are still the Bremerton Sun.

Check out the Seattle Web site urbanspoon, where Bert Chadwick gives the Koi Bistro a thumbs up in his “I Won’t Carp About Koi Bistro” post. Chadwick writes,”Koi Bistro is one of those that have taken the shell of a failed restaurant (Baja Outpost) and moved in like a hermit crab .” The site clearly lists the restaurant on Piperberry Way in “Port Orchard” under the heading of “Bremerton,” linking to a list of that city’s restaurants.

And check out the Stimulus Watch Web site, where you can browse by state/city. You’ll see the only Kitsap city listed is Bremerton. Well now doesn’t that make the rest of us feel special?

No doubt this is why writers of the Bremerton Beat have such a hard time getting over themselves. I was on vacation when typically mild-mannered Editor David Nelson became intoxicated with power and put Port Orchard back on notice.

Let me spell it out for those of you who can’t tell Port Orchard from Bremerton.

Bremerton, population 37,259 … Port Orchard, 8,500 (soon to be @10,000)

Bremerton, north of Sinclair Inlet … Port Orchard, south of Sinclair Inlet

Bremerton, medium-sized waterfront urban center with semi-deserted streets … Port Orchard, potentially charming waterfront village with semi-deserted streets

Bremerton, annexing the South Kitsap Industrial Area (effective April 1)

Port Orchard, annexing McCormick Woods (finalization expected in early August)

Bremerton: Wants to provide sewer to SKIA. The city is building a sewer line through Gorst that could be extended out to the SKIA area.

Port Orchard: Wants to provide sewer to SKIA. The city’s recently approved comprehensive plan update shows that the city plans to extend a sewer line out through the McCormick Woods/Sunnyslope area with the potential to serve SKIA. Bremerton challenged Port Orchard’s comp plan before the Kitsap County Boundary Review Board. The dispute between the two cities over Port Orchard’s plans to sewer SKIA have not been resolved.

Does that mean that all this rivalry between the two cities is about sewer line envy?

Bethel Annex: One PDF Worth 1,000 Words

A couple of comments on today’s story indicated confusion. My apologies. Here’s a map that hopefully will help clarify what’s going with annexation of the Bethel Corridor.

Red = Sedgwick Bethel Annexation, nearly complete, includes the Fred Meyer sales tax revenue cherry on top.

Yellow and Green = Geiger Road Annexations, in the works

Purple = Geiger North, yet to come; this is the piece the county would like to see in place to create a less “illogical” boundary between city and unincorporated properties. The county is not rushing to let go of the revenue from these mostly commercial properties, but sees the annexation into Port Orchard as inevitable and logical according to the Growth Management Act. The revenue sharing agreement between cities and county calls for revenue sharing of 25/75 percent (city/county) the first year, 50/50 the second, 75/25 the third, before the county loses the revenue altogether. But, as Councilman John Clauson points out, the city assumes 100 percent of the responsibility the first year. Eric Baker, director of special projects for the county, said of this consequence of the interlocal agreement it’s understood that the jurisdiction assuming responsibility for an area won’t realize a net gain within the first few years.

Enough words, here’s the map (Courtesy City of Port Orchard)


South Kitsap Also Ran for H2O Stimulus Grants

Steve Gardner’s out today so I got to write about Bremerton, which was the only municipality in Kitsap to a earn a  crack at one stream of economic stimulus funding originating with the federal Environmental Protection Agency and aimed at improving water quality.

The Washington State Department of Health on Monday announced that the city’s proposal for ultraviolet treatment of its drinking water is among 27 projects recommended for funding out of  347 applicants statewide.

The state received  a total of 14 project applications from Kitsap County and 21 from Mason County, two of which have also been recommended for funding.

Projects had to be “shovel ready” within four months.

Those in the South Kitsap area that did not make the cut are listed below, along with projects from North Kitsap and Bainbridge Island. Another project for a water main in Bremerton was also passed aside.

But the list could change based on the results of a public comment period that ends April 6, said Carolyn Cox of the state Department of Health.

The DOH received a total of $38.5 million in economic stimulus funding from the federal Environmental Protection Agency for  water quality. The money will be distributed through the state Public Works Board, which will rule on the Department of Health recommendations on April 7.
The board is taking comments on the draft list of grant recipients through April 6. A public meeting is set for 10 a.m. April 3 at 243 Israel Road SE in Tumwater.
Continue reading

Port Orchard: Annexations Are a Hot Topic

Annexation, specifically of the Bethel Corridor, was the center of a somewhat heated discussion between City of Port Orchard officials and South Kitsap Commissioner Charlotte Garrido at a City Council work study session on March 17. (see below)

The city will hold public hearings forums on two pending annexations on both Monday and Tuesday.

The Planning Commission will meet at 7 p.m. Monday. On its agenda is the McCormick Woods Annexation and the Geiger Road Annexation, in the vicinity of the intersection of Sedgwick Road (Highway 160) and Geiger Road east of Highway 16. The City Council will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday to follow up with public hearings on both annexations.

The Geiger annexation is related to the Bethel-Sedgwick Road Annexation approved in February by the City Council. The Bethel Road annexation involves 39 properties worth a combined $42.4 million, including Fred Meyer, valued at $19.2 million, and representing about 45 percent of the total. The Bethel-Sedgwick annexation will be final March 29.

The Planning Commission will also discuss the Sidney & Sedgwick Corridor Sub-Area Plan.

The City Council will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday to follow up with public hearings on both annexations.

Garrido, at the work study meeting, said the county is concerned about the way annexation along the Bethel-Sedgwick corridor is progressing. The county recognizes the city as the appropriate jurisdiction to eventually serve the Bethel-Sedgwick corridor. But with annexations occurring piecemeal along the corridor, the Kitsap County Sheriff’s office and public works departments are running into some confusion and difficulty serving the area, Garrido said.

The city has so far taken the approach of waiting for property owners to take the lead on annexation. There has been some talk among city officials of running a ballot measure that would allow the city to annex the entire urban growth area at once.

At the meeting, City Attorney Greg Jacoby asked if the council would be interested in drafting a policy to define the boundaries of the area it wishes to annex. The alternative would be to remain with the property-owner driven method of annexation, Jacoby said.

The city has been approached by property owners in a large portion of Bethel Road, identified as the Bethel Corridor North annexation. If and when these parcels become part of the city, Port Orchard would have jurisdiction over the the entire Bethel Corridor from current city limits to just beyond Sedgwick Road.

“I don’t think we’ve made any secret of the fact we want to annex the Bethel Corridor,” said Coppola. “This should be our goal for this year.”

Other city council members, including John Clauson and Fred Olin, expressed eagerness to annex Bethel North and as much of the rest of the city’s urban growth area as possible.

Until that happens, said Garrido, pending annexations make for “illogical” boundaries between the city and the county, resulting in “unnecessary and costly law enforcement and transportation issues.”

“Citizens don’t know where we stop and the city starts,” Garrido said.

Coppola responded by criticizing the county for its lack of progress on the Bethel Corridor Plan. The cost of widening the road to accommodate current and future traffic in South Kitsap’s main commercial area has risen to $43 million since 2000, when the Bethel Corridor Plan was adopted by the county’s board of commissioners. The county has spent $1.8 million out of its road fund on design and permitting, but the project is essentially at a standstill. A survey conducted by the county last year showed a lack of public support for a special taxing district or other taxing mechanisms to pay for it.

“The county’s had 20 years to do this, and they’ve spent all their money in Central Kitsap,” said Coppola., apparently referring to the Waaga Way interchange. “The county has not demonstrated the first bit of interest in fixing this problem.”

“I didn’t come to argue with you,” said Garrido. “I did tell you when you came to my office (at a meeting earlier this year) that I had some difficulty with this.”

Garrido said she was looking for coordination between the city and county that would make for a “smooth transition.”

Coppola said Port Orchard has been trying to work with the county, but city officials are chafing at the delay on improving an area critical to the city’s economic development.

“We’re not blaming you,” he later said to Garrido.” Please accept my apology if it seems like we’re taking our frustration out on you. We are frustrated.”

John Clauson said the Bethel Annexation shouldn’t be made the “poster child” for annexations gone awry, when the interlocal agreement between the county and Kitsap cities – drafted about a decade ago in anticipation of annexations happening now – is proving vague on exactly what a smooth transition is supposed to look like.

Clauson suggested that the Kitsap Regional Coordinating Council, which includes all cities and the county, should look take a big picture look at annexations and the interlocal agreement. Part of the agreement calls for revenue sharing between jurisdictions for the first three years, with the city receiving 25 percent of sales tax revenue the first year, 50 percent the second and 75 percent the third. The purpose is to allow the county to make a gradual fiscal adjustment to the loss of revenue.

But Clauson pointed out an unintended consequence of the agreement. In the case of McCormick Woods, for example, the city will assume “100 percent” of the responsibility for road maintenance and law enforcement the first year, but they’ll only be getting 25 percent of the sales tax revenue

“From what we see, it’s going to cost us money to annex, but it’s what we’re supposed to be doing,” Clauson said.

But where McCormick Woods is almost entirely residential, the Bethel Corridor is mostly retail, including the heavy hitting Fred Meyer and Walmart, with Home Depot to come.

Loss of revenue from the area is sure to hit the already fiscally challenged county where it hurts, not matter how gradually it happens.

Councilman Rob Puutaansuu, who is on the city’s utility committee, addressed that issue, saying business owners along the Bethel Corridor have come to the city anxious to receive an “urban level of services.” He said the city will not just cherry pick the lucrative businesses on the corridor but will “do the right thing” and welcome residential property owners in the area surrounding the Bethel Corridor and beyond.

Garrido said she has approached state and federal legislators seeking federal stimulus money for the Bethel Corridor, which was not on the Puget Sound Regional Coordinating Council’s recommended list of projects for initial transportations stimulus funding.

Kitsap Sun Says “Bye” to Our Intern

Today we say good-bye to our intern, Angela Lu, a resident of Los Angeles who is heading back to Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., where she is a junior majoring in journalism You may remember I asked Angela to give her first impressions of Kitsap. She’ll now look back in retrospect and tell you what pearls of wisdom she has picked up here at the Kitsap Sun.

Kitsap Sun Intern Angela Lu

Angela says:

“After three months at the Kitsap Sun, I’ve learned what keywords will garner the largest number of comments, off-tangent argument, and jokes on this site.  Here it goes…

Washington state ferries, immigration — illegal and legal, Code 911 (meth addicts, marijuana, psychedelic mushrooms, crazy-random felons), SNOW!, porn tax, racial issues, same-sex parents, religion, school board meetings, the military, SKIA, levies, ferry tunnel, and any quirky story that a pun can be made out of.

(I hope this blog post shows up for every archive search with the above words.)

Maybe more than just hot-button issues, I’ve come to learn what Kitsapians (did I just make up a new term?) care about, what they have opinions about, and what they are passionate about.

Instead of just seeing Kitsap as a county on a map, these past few months I’ve been able to fill in what gives Kitsap color.  It’s the faces I see, the stories I hear.  It’s the Access bus drivers, the state patrol officers, the city council members, the veterans, the tribal members, the small business owners, the librarians, local heroes and just everyday people who call Kitsap home

Through covering stories on a variety of topics, I’ve been able to get a crash-course on what life is like here. By spending time here—talking to people and learning more about the area, I’ve started to care about the issues Kitsapians care about.  And in some sense, Kitsap has become like my own home.

So although I’m excited to go back home and back to school, I’m also sad to leave here.  What gives me comfort is that through the Web, I can still stay connected to Kitsap and check up every once in a while to see how it’s going.

In my eyes, the Web is a whole new dimension of charted and uncharted cyber-land.  It seems endless and daunting, but just remember that is your property.  It’s a place where the whole community can come together to chat, to discussion and to share your thoughts about things that hit close to home.

So treat it like your house.  Keep it clean, treat it with respect, and most importantly, don’t forget to use your head.

See you later, Kitsap.”

My thoughts:

On learning buzz words for Web hits … her family’s tuition dollars well spent.

On the term “Kitsapians,” if it hasn’t already been coined somewhere, I think it has the potential to stick.

Stay in touch, Angela. It’s nice to know we are all connected by the Web. And you know the old saying, once a Kitsapian … scarred for life.

Speaking of Ferries Between Port Orchard and Bremerton

This in from intrepid transportation reporter Ed Friedrich:

“Kitsap Transit plans to grow its ferry operation between Bremerton, Port Orchard and Annapolis.

The agency’s board of commissioners gave it permission Tuesday to buy the ferry Admiral Pete and expand it to carry 115 passengers, up from its current capacity of 82. The boat, owned and operated by Kitsap Harbor Tours and leased by Kitsap Transit, is the route’s workhorse. The ferry, which often nears capacity during peak-time sailings, would be extended 15 feet to carry at least 30 more passengers. …

Kitsap Transit’s Bremerton-Port Orchard ferry ridership grew 12 percent in the past year, from 477,000 boardings to 524,000, Clauson said. It is quicker for passengers and less expensive for the agency than buses. It would take three or four buses to carry a ferry load of people, 10 to 12 buses to match the frequent departure times and the ride times would be much longer, Clauson said.”

Do you ride the foot ferry regularly? Occasionally? How important is the ferry to you? Has that changed because of the recession?

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.