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County floats parking changes, highway realignment in Kingston

KINGSTON — County planners believe relaxed parking requirements for downtown Kingston could spur new development.

Kitsap County planners discussed ways to give Kingston developers more flexibility in meeting parking requirements Wednesday night at a community meeting. Kingston residents also had the chance to review options for realigning State Route 104 traffic in downtown.

Kingston developers have found the county’s parking requirements for new construction too restrictive because most downtown lots are a quarter-acre or smaller, said Jeff Smith, a planner with the county Department of Community Development. The number of off-street parking spaces a new development must have is linked to the size of the proposed building and the type of business it will be. Developers have found the current county requirements force them to use too much of their small lots for off-street parking.

In response, the county worked with the Kingston Citizen Advisory Committee to create a “menu” of alternatives to standard off street parking.

Smith said options could include offsite employee parking and shared parking between businesses. A parking study would be required for each new development.

The county also wants to encourage developers to work with public agencies — like the Port of Kingston — to find money for public parking lots, which the county can’t afford.

Downtown investor and Kingston Citizen Advisory Committee member Dave Wetter said the plan is a step in the right direction.

“The parking simply doesn’t match the uses because of the small lots,” Wetter said. “If we did it the old way, we basically wouldn’t develop our downtown or we’d have a sea of parking like Silverdale.”

County planners will vet the proposal with the Citizen Advisory Council before bringing it to the county Planning Commission.

Comments welcome on SR-104 realignment

Kitsap County Public Works is seeking feedback on early designs for rerouting State Route 104, before bringing the proposal to the state for approval.

Traffic traveling east to the ferry terminal on SR-104 is currently funneled down Kingston's Main Street. The reroute would direct that traffic onto East 1st Street, one block to the north. The state would move ferry ticketing booths to the end of East 1st Street. The intent of the plan is to move ferry traffic away from Kingston's business core and attract more walkers to Main Street shops.

Cascade Design Collaborative drafted four proposals for rerouting traffic. All four would add two lanes to East 1st Street. Two of the plans would create a traffic roundabout at East 1st Street and Main Street, on the Kingston Community Center property. The other two options would incorporate several new traffic lights.

Public Works Planner Greg Cioc said the county will use public input to choose one roundabout option and one street light option to bring to the state Department of Transportation for approval.

The reroute designs can be viewed at www.northkitsapherald.com. Comments can be sent to Cioc at gcioc@co.kitsap.wa.us.

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