Master plan is possibly in Kingston’s future

KINGSTON — Kingston’s future isn’t on paper just yet, but if the Kingston Citizens Advisory Council (KCAC) and Kingston Stakeholders have their respective ways, it will be soon. Discussion of a master plan for the North End community has been in the works by both groups for some time. Now Kitsap County officials are working to have the two groups begin a discussion of the project and how it could fit in with the already established Kingston sub-area plan.

A sub-area plan is a planning tool that sets guidelines for planning and growth in specific areas. The various sub-area plans throughout Kitsap County are meant to work in cohesion with the county’s overall master plan.

At a Jan. 9 KCAC meeting, the group addressed the idea, and Kitsap County Department of Community Development Planning Manager Scott Diener reminded members they already have a sub-area plan in place, and perhaps that can be further enhanced to reflect the plans the Stakeholders are hoping for.

“It’s a group of property owners who got together as a knee-jerk reaction to the KCAC,” said Peter Brachvogel, BC&J Architecture, Planning and Construction Management architect. The Bainbridge Island-based company has already begun designs for improving the downtown corridor at the request of the Stakeholders. “The KCAC touches on the broader issues, not the downtown core. The stakeholders formed an alliance with the (Kingston Chamber of Commerce), and the idea behind it is to study and promote a greater and more walkable core.”

Kitsap County Commissioner Steve Bauer has been discussing the potential master plan with the Stakeholders, and now is working with his staff to see how the two potential plans could be formed into one, as he believes they should be. His next step is to approach both the KCAC and Stakeholders to discuss how they could work together on the project.

“I met with the Stakeholders, and they had a lot of plans,” he said. “They’ve already hired someone to do some drawings. The issues are parking, stormwater management. I’m not clear how the stormwater will fit with the master plan, but we’ll work to incorporate it. I’m just trying to get time to flush it out right now.”

Diener did stress the connectivity between the ideas the Stakeholders and the KCAC are discussing is important. The two topics are essentially different halves of the same idea, and should be nurtured together into one overall plan. Points in the sub-area plan already touch on the downtown core and how to work to improve it. The KCAC is currently reviewing the different 11 subsets and 59 goals of the plan and how the group has addressed them since outlining the plan.

“When I took a look at the Kingston Sub-Area Plan’s 23 goals pertaining to improving downtown Kingston, I saw a lot of similarities,” Diener said. “Some are broad, some are not. It’s important to me that in the downtown planning we look at the work that has already been prepared. There are a lot of foundational elements in the sub-area plan.”

He said the county has worked as a conduit between the two Kingston groups before and could potentially take up that role again to help both step onto the same page in planning Kingston’s future. Bauer plans to meet with the KCAC and Stakeholders as soon as possible after discussing the plan with other county employees. He expects an idea of where the project will arise out of those discussions.

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