Poulsbo City Council barely passes 20-year comp plan

POULSBO —The Poulsbo City Council adopted the city’s new growth plan Wednesday, but just barely.

The 20-year road map for the city’s development was approved 4-3, with councilmembers objecting to an item in the plan’s list of rezone applications.

The new plan also contains a new land use designation: parks.

The plan, which cost $125,000 and took three years, intends to give developers and residents clear expectations for transportation, housing and other land use and development issues and is required by state law.

It also requires the city to consider how it will pay for improvements.

Although the plan intends to map growth over the next 20 years, city staff will review it annually.

“We choose to do that,” said city Planning Director Barry Berezowsky. “We don’t have to do that.”

The item in contention was an upgrade in zoning for a seven-acre swath of land that partly includes the North Kitsap Pee Wee Association’s Hamilton Field. Residents of the neighborhood opposed the plan for what further development might do to its character.

“Please trust and know how strongly our little area feels about this,” resident Dan Murphy told the council.

“What does it do for Poulsbo?” asked Councilwoman Becky Erickson, who voted against the measure. “It certainly annoys the heck out of the neighbors.”

Councilwomen Connie Lord and Linda Berry-Maraist also voted “no.”

The city had postponed ruling on rezone requests and included them with the comprehensive plan. A few of the requests attracted more public attention than any other part of the plan.

Most notably, outgoing Mayor Kathryn Quade’s administration proposed rezoning portions of a city park. That proposal resulted in the Torval Canyon neighborhood organizing in opposition and requiring a larger venue for normally sparsely attended Planning Commission meetings.

Another result of the proposal is a new land use designation for city parks. The intent of the designation is to add an additional step if any future administration attempted to sell park land.

Quade attempted to clarify the intent was to reformat Betty Iverson Kiwanis Park at Scandia Knolls to connect with other public open space, but ended up withdrawing the proposal.

Another rezone request, the property owned by the Pee Wee Association and Peter Sing, divided the council Wednesday.

The vote was close, all members were present.

Councilwoman Kim Crowder missed the past two regular meetings of the council, where members discussed the city’s roughly $420,000 general fund shortfall. Crowder, who narrowly lost her reelection bid last month, said she was ill, and told the council Wednesday she looked forward to the rest of December.

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