Tag Archives: City of Port Orchard

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, www.cityofportorchard.us, 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)

Other News From PO City Hall

We have reported today on a Washington State Patrol report that Port Orchard Mayor Lary Coppola was arrested early Sunday morning on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol. We will be posting an update shortly, which will include a statement from the mayor.

In part, he said, “As a person who has always accepted responsibility for my actions, I will do so in this instance as well, no matter how it turns out, and expect no special treatment.”

In other news from City Hall, Coppola recently posted his Mayor’s video report for April on the City’s Web site. His topics: Puget Sound Regional Council’s Vision 2040; the joint lease of Given’s field recently approved by the city council for South Kitsap Western Little League and South Kitsap Pee Wees; a new business opening in downtown; the opening of the Port Orchard Farmer’s Market; a recent meeting of mayors from around the state; YMCA Women of Achievement representing South Kitsap; more hints about a new grocery coming soon to downtown PO; online utility bill payment; and plans to reprise Paint the Town (according to the mayor, Delialh will again be contributing significantly toward the effort), this time with a focus on the waterside buildings.

(See the bottom of this post for links to recent city council video coverage provided by the city.)

Coppola dedicated about two-thirds of his video to Vision 2040’s transportation element, known as T2040. He explains his take on the plan’s potential impact on economic development in Kitsap County and the region. Coppola was one of only two members of the PSRC executive board to vote against T2040 on March 25, primarily because of tolls. Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn was the other. Coppola said he wants Port Orchard citizens to be able to get in and out of town without having to pay tolls or a vehicle-miles-traveled tax.

“Many of the ideas advanced in the Vision 2040 plan may be acceptable and actually pragmatic for King County and the I-5 corridor, but we (not clear if he’s talking about the city of Port Orchard or mayors of the county) strongly question the validity of what amounts to a King County soluntion being forced upon the rest of us,” he said on the video.

Coppola also talks about the importance of the region investing in technological infrastructure to promote telecommuting, which would reduce impact on roads, bridges and ferries.

As an interesting little grace note at the end of the video, Coppola talks about the recent downtown spring cleaning event. “I personally spent four hours on the end of a power washer, and several people pointed out that if this whole mayor thing doesn’t work out, perhaps I should get a job in the public works department,” he said, laughing. “Hopefully it won’t come to that.”

Port Orchard City Council Videos:
April 13
April 20 work study
April 27

“Cordial” Meeting on Library Levy Follows Strained Exchange

Kitsap Regional Library’s library levy PAC announced Friday on its Facebook page that there had been a “cordial” meeting between library officials and Port Orchard Mayor Lary Coppola. This after Coppola criticized the library board at a PO city council meeting Tuesday, and in media comment sections after, for allocating $750,000 to Port Orchard’s library, when multimillion dollar buildings are planned for Silverdale and Kingston.

Silverdale’s new library has been in the works for many years and is planned for the Silverdale Community Center. The current library is deemed too small for the population it serves. Kingston’s library is a room in its community center, which is in severe disrepair.

Port Orchard plans to build a new library in a planned Town Center Revitalization Project, which will include a parking garage, retail spaces and a public plaza.

Library spokesman Jeff Brody agreed that Port Orchard’s library, which is 8,000 SF and serves 21,000 patrons each month, is a high priority as well. Before Friday’s meeting, he said that more money will likely be available to Port Orchard and other branches after the two new buildings are paid off in six years.

The result of Friday’s meeting is the Library board will revisit its levy proposal with Coppola’s request in mind. Vote Yes Kitsap Libraries says, “To meet the city’s request may require the levy increase to be higher than the 12.5 cent increase originally proposed.”

PO Tourism Committee Morphs Toward Economic Development

April 22: Oops sorry, wrong poll .The wrong poll was displayed with this post since yesterday. The correct poll is up now. CTH

The time has come, members of Port Orchard City Council’s tourism committee said Tuesday, for the committee to expand its duties to include economic development.

To date, the committee has focused mainly on working with the Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce, nonprofits and local businesses on special events that draw visitors, such as the city’s Chimes and Lights Festival, the Seagull Calling Contest and last summer’s Cedar Cove Days.

Paying more attention to economic development would be a natural progression, said committee chairman Jerry Childs. Committee members, including Childs, Jim Colebank and Fred Chang, have been looking at cities like Poulsbo and Leavenworth as models.

Childs said the committee would coordinate with Mayor Lary Coppola, who so far has been the city’s designee and spokesman in attempts to attract new business. Coppola has already hosted some focus groups with selected business owners.

One of the committee’s ideas is to host an economic development page on the city’s Web site with information on permitting and other resources related to economic development. The Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce has a resource page for prospective and current businesses, but, said Chang, it’s not the committee’s intention to reinvent the wheel.

“I don’t think we intend to duplicate anything that’s already being done,” said Chang, speaking as an individual committee member and not for the committee. “If we do a website, we’d want to plug a gap where there is one. It’s certainly not intended as a slap to anyone.”

One business owner willing to take a gamble on Port Orchard is Melinda Brown and her partner Shane Makoviney, who will open Melinda Lee’s at 810 Bay Street on May 1. Shane is a clock repairman; Melinda is an artist and gardener. Their store will offer a potpourri of artwork, garden starts, gifts and sundry supplies that would be useful to boaters.

Lee is bullish on Port Orchard. She sees a positive momentum in the downtown mix of stores despite the economy. “We love Bay Street and believe in it and believe in what it could be,” she said.

Of course Port Orchard business extends outside the downtown district, and the committee will pay attention to those folks as well, Chang said.

Colebank said, “it’s not as important to draw new business as it is to keep our current businesses happy.”

So what should city government do to make the city a business friendly place? Parking you say? Right, it’s on their to-do list. What are your other beefs, worries or needs? Take the survey on the homepage.

Look … Over There

Those of you with property in downtown Port Orchard may want to mosey over to the Kitsap Caucus for a look at a map of FEMA’s designated flood zones, downloaded from the City of Port Orchard’s Web site.

The map relates to a post I made about business owner Rudy Swensen and his plans to renovate his building at 710 Bay Street with a New Orleans theme. Swensen has to pay a hefty premium on a small business loan he secured because the building is in a flood zone. Flooding in 2007 is part of the reason for the renovation, he said.

A Tale of Two Bail Bondsmen

Two Kitsap County bail bond agents whom I interviewed for a story that ran Sunday on the bail bond industry in Port Orchard had somewhat different takes on attempts by the city of Port Orchard to encourage bail bondsmen to do business somewhere other than Bay Street.

As I mentioned in the story, the city council in 2009 adjusted its zoning for the downtown area to prohibit bail bond agencies on the ground floor of Bay Street buildings. Those already established are allowed to stay. The move, said Mayor Lary Coppola, was intended to reserve prime retail space for businesses that pay sales taxes. Bail bond agencies do not pay sales tax. The most the city gets out of the presence of bail bonds companies, located quite logically down the hill from the Kitsap County jail, is a reputation that one blog commenter dubbed “Bail Bonds by the Bay.”

Coppola said he has been unfairly painted as being unfriendly to bail bond companies, which, he said, serve an important function … it just doesn’t align with Port Orchard’s view of itself as quaint and tourist friendly.

Jim Thornton, who is a licensed bail agent in Kitsap County and who has offices in Mason County and Vancouver, Wa., has tried without great success to open his own bail company in Port Orchard. Thornton has felt unfairly discriminated against by the city and the county. He was delayed in getting “justification” or certification required of all new bail bond companies, a process through the Kitsap County court system (with regular renewals required as well). Thornton finally did get his justification recently, but by then he had decided to move his main office (from which he conducts business in Kitsap and Mason counties as well as Vancouver, WA) from Port Orchard to Shelton (in Mason Co.), where there are relatively few bail bond agencies.

“It’s a day late and a dollar short,” Thornton said of the justification. “It just took do d___ long for them to get us going. … So we figured it was time to get out of Port Orchard. We just wanted to pull out, get off of Bay Street, and get all the daggers out of our backs.”

Thornton, I believe, was referring to remarks by Coppola last year that bail bondsmen gave Port Orchard a bad image and suggestions he made that the city should make doing business on Bay Street uncomfortable for them.

Jim Boscola is a Port Orchard bail agent with another take on the city’s desire to move bail agencies off the main drag. “I don’t think he’s targeting our industry,” Boscola said of Coppola. “He’s made those types of comments against other types of businesses as well (i.e. dentists, lawyers and other professional who also don’t pay sales tax). From a city official’s perspective, they’re probably looking after their city.”

Boscola even sympathized with Coppola, saying, “Poor Lary. He seems like a nice guy, but they’re quick to judge him every time he opens his mouth.”

Port Orchard Library Annexation Could Result in Tax Increase

Although a proposal to annex the Port Orchard Library into the Kitsap Regional Library district would not result in an increase in library taxes paid by property owners within city limits, it would give the city the option of increasing its levy rate, according to Kitsap County Assessor Jim Avery. For a detailed explanation, including comments from Avery, visit the Kitsap Caucus blog.

Chris Henry, South Kitsap/government reporter

Bill on Highway 166 Passes House

A bill defining the extent of Highway 166 in Port Orchard passed the state House of Representatives Wednesday 93 to 5. SB 6510 now moves on to Gov. Chris Gregoire.
The measure if signed into law would settle a dispute between the state Department of Transportation and the City of Port Orchard over who should maintain a 610-foot section of road at the eastern end of Highway 166. The bill would require the state to maintain the section in question.
The highway now runs from Highway 160 near Gorst, along Sinclair Inlet, through downtown Port Orchard and partway up Mile Hill. A long-standing contract between the city and state says the state will maintain Highway 166 to the eastern city limits. But the city boundary moved farther up Mile Hill with annexation. The contract was not clear on whether responsibility to maintain the annexed section fell to the city or the state.
The roadway is showing signs of neglect, with potholes.
The original bill, sponsored by Sen. Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor, called for extending the state highway 6 miles to include all of Mile Hill Drive and Southworth Drive. The bill was amended to address only the 610-foot section. The senate passed the amended version 48-0 on Feb. 16.
The city bases its position on RCW 4724, which says the state bears responsibility for roadway maintenance on state highways within a city whose population is fewer than 25,000. Port Orchard’s population is just more than 10,000. Another law, RCW 3513, could be interpreted to support the state’s position. The conflict created confusion about who should maintain the road, Port Orchard Mayor Lary Coppola said.
“The bill clarifies that the state has responsibility for that section of road,” said Coppola. “It’s been our position all along that Mile Hill is a state highway, and it’s the state’s responsibility to maintain it.”
Highway 166 has undergone a name change and has changed hands over the years.
Until 1992, the roadway through Port Orchard to the Southworth ferry was called Highway 160. But the state decided Sedgwick Road was a better route for getting to the ferry terminal and designated it Highway 160, turning the former Highway 160 over to Port Orchard and Kitsap County.
In 1993, the state took back the part of old Highway 160 from Highway 16 to Port Orchard’s eastern city limits because of mudslides near Ross Point. It named the 5-mile stretch Highway 166.

Port Orchard Going Green, Going it Alone

One of Port Orchard Mayor Lary’s Coppola’s goals for 2010 (see below) is a push to make the city more green. That’s green as in environmentally friendly, not as in planting more trees.

Coppola, in his video newsletter for February, echoed the thoughts all other local government leaders when he said, “In this day and age, it makes absolutely no sense from any standpoint for the city not to be green.”

Among Port Orchard’s green initiatives is a plan to do energy audits on all facilities, a practical but hardly novel idea.

Four other local governments — the cities of Bremerton, Poulsbo, Bainbridge Island and the Port of Bremerton — are taking advantage of federal stimulus money and a Puget Sound Energy program to reduce energy usage over three years.

The three cities (minus PO) and the port will hire a single employee for three years to study how each jurisdiction can save on energy costs. The program is projected to save 2 percent on energy usage during the first year and 5 percent during each of the next two. Total savings for the four agencies is expected to be around $278,000 in year three.

The Bremerton and Poulsbo city councils approved the agreement Wednesday. The Bainbridge Island City Council and the Port of Bremerton commissioners will consider the issue this week.

Port Orchard was invited to participate, but members of the City Council’s finance committee declined. The chief concern among finance committee members, Coppola told Kitsap Sun reporter Steve Gardner, was that the city would be on the hook to pay a permanent salary beyond the three-year program.

That’s characteristic of Port Orchard. City officials’ penchant for fiscal conservatism remains intact since the departure of long-time Treasurer Kris Tompkins, replaced on retirement by former assistant state treasurer Allan Martin.

Coppola, in the video, takes full advantage of comparing his city’s relatively sound finances (no lay-offs or furloughs to date) to those of Bremerton and Kitsap County.

Coppola, in his video address, said the city will be looking into other sources of PSE funding and stimulus grants for help implementing energy savings identified through internal audits.

Among Port Orchard’s other proposed green initiatives:

Reduce Paper Use
The city in its most recent utility bill mailing announced that customers can sign up for automatic withdrawal from checking or savings. For customers, it’s a matter of convenience, but it’s also a step on the city’s part toward conducting more business online. So far 51 utility customers have signed up. Coppola says if more people pay bills online, the city will save in postage, materials and ultimately staff time. The city treasurer’s office is also working to implement a separate program, in response to citizens’ requests, that will allow use of credit or debit cards for utility bill payment.

Coppola is also pushing for a move to online information packets for city council meetings. Each council member receives a packet for each of 38 meetings each year; that amounts to five reams, or 2,500 pages, of paper per meeting. Total paper used per year: 180 reams. It all adds up, said Coppola, who has suggested that computer terminals be placed at each council member’s seat so they could access materials online during meetings as well as from home.

My thoughts: Presumably paper copies of meeting packets and minutes would still be available on request to any member of the public who lacks computer access.

Hybrid Cars
The Port Orchard Police Chief has a hybrid. Coppola said that, as other vehicles come up for replacement, the city will look into getting hybrids.

Solar Power
The city, according to Coppola, will explore using solar power at pump stations and other “remote” facilities. Although “not a total solution,” it’s worth looking into , he said.

See below for a list of Mayor Lary Coppola’s goals for the city of Port Orchard in 2010 Continue reading

Video: Feb. 9 Meeting of Port Orchard City Council and Other City News

Find a video of the meeting on the City of Port Orchard’s Web site or on the Kitsap Sun.

The city council will hold a work study tonight at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 219 Prospect St.

Don’t forget the council’s retreat 9 a.m. to noon Friday, also at City Hall.

The council’s public property committee met Monday with representatives from the Master Gardeners and Port Orchard Rotary about setting up pea patch gardens in one of the city’s parks. I believe they’re looking at the Dwight Street Park.

Mayor Lary Coppola recently recorded his first video “Mayor’s Report.” According to Coppola’s Facebook page, the video will be posted on the City’s Web site, www.cityofportorchard.us, hopefully before the end of the day today.

Find more videos relating to life in South Kitsap here, on the Kitsap Sun.