Category Archives: McCormick Woods

All PO Citizens Invited to Weigh in on McCormick Woods Park

Public Invited to Comment on McCormick Woods Park

Parks planning meeting set for Wednesday at City Hall.
By Chris Henry
Planning for a 63.5-acre public park in the McCormick Woods-Sunnyslope area advanced Tuesday, when the Port Orchard City Council approved a contract with a Seattle architectural firm that will help citizens develop a master site plan for the park.
Money for park development, including professional consultant services, came to the city as a result of annexation of the McCormick Woods urban growth area last year. The county had collected $643,732 in development impact fees to cover the planning and creation of the park, and the money was transferred to the city under an annexation inter-local agreement. The city now is responsible for developing and maintaining the park on Old Clifton Road.
Jones & Jones Architects and Landscape Consultants of Seattle will lead the planning process. A meeting with the McCormick Village Park subcommittee is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday at City Hall. The city is paying the award-winning design company $40,000 for its services.
Among the questions Jones & Jones staff will ask: “What makes the acreage of the proposed park unique in terms of topography and history?” “Who will be using the park, and what uses will it serve?” “What method will the city use to create the park?”
All citizens of Port Orchard, not only those on the park committee or in the McCormick Woods area, are invited to weigh in on planning for the park, said development director James Weaver.
Park committee meetings, listed on the city’s website,, are open to the public. The committee will meet through September. The city will conduct public hearings about the committee’s proposals through December and adopt the park plan before the end of the year. Construction on the park will likely begin in September 2011.
Information on the park can be found on the city’s website or call the planning department at (360) 876-4991.

McCormick Village Park (Proposed)

Planning Starts Monday on McCormick Village Park

McCormick Village Park Planning Begins
By Chris Henry
The McCormick Woods Park Design Committee will meet at 7 p.m. Monday with the city of Port Orchard Planning Commission to kick-off planning for the 63.5 acre McCormick Village Park. The meeting is at City Hall, 216 Prospect St.
The park is located North of Old Clifton Road in the McCormick Woods area, which was annexed in 2009. On Feb. 22 Kitsap County and the city agreed on transfer of the regional park to Port Orchard.
The design committee, made up of McCormick Woods residents and members of the planning commission, will identify a vision and goals for the park. Associate City Planner Tom Bonsell is project manager for the park planning process. He will be assisted by a professional consultant as plans for the park take shape.
The design committee intends to complete its recommendations by the end of the year and forward them to the city council for consideration.
The park issue will be taken up Monday as part of the planning commission’s regular meeting.
The park will be open to the public. The McCormick Woods community and all Port Orchard residents are encouraged to take part in the planning process. A survey on the city’s parks may be found at Additional comments and suggestions can be sent to City of Port Orchard, 216 Prospect Street, Port Orchard, WA 98366, or e-mailed to .

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

Ballot Boo-Boo Affects McCormick Woods Voters

By now you may have read the Kitsap Caucus blog post by Steve Gardner on the 75 McCormick Woods ballots that were misprinted. According to Kitsap County Auditor Walt Washington, they did not include Port Orchard City Council races, even though McWoods was annexed into the city in July. New ballots will be issued, and Steve is looking into other details of the snafu. In the meantime, we’re hoping to hear from anyone who received one of the misprinted ballots. If you’re among them, give me a call at (360) 792-9219 or e-mail me at Thanks.

Chris Henry, South Kitsap/government reporter

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.