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Poulsbo, KCCHA close in on city hall plans

POULSBO — Collaboration is the name of the game for the city of Poulsbo and the Kitsap County Consolidated Housing Authority as they continue talks to build a new city hall on the proposed site at the corner of 3rd Avenue and Moe Street.

Poulsbo Mayor Kathryn Quade said the partnership is already producing the benefits she’d hoped for with the two agencies working together to construct an interlocal agreement and beginning project planning. Preliminary site tests have been conducted, and a nearly-finished agreement awaits final feasibility studies before project designing can begin. Should the city decide to go with the site, the KCCHA has an option to buy the land, and the city would later purchase ownership from it, while also selecting an architectural firm to help move the project forward.

“We’re strengthening our working relationship,” Quade said, adding the final wording of the contract is under review. The KCCHA is willing to work within the city’s $12 million budget and has already reached a “tacit agreement” with the Long Range Planning Committee.

Poulsbo will pay the KCCHA $480,000 to act as a daily project manager while city staff attend to their already full workloads. Quade said she believes she’ll see a good return on the investment, and intends to get all that is needed in exchange for the cost. She has pointed out the KCCHA’s past experience and financing abilities as advantages of working with the group.

“They can move expediently, we just don’t have the staff to do that,” said councilman Dale Rudolph, who added the city will maintain its decision-making authority throughout the process, and the KCCHA will simply act as another employee. “Things are trucking along and it’s just a process. If everything comes to fruition and it gets approved, then we can sign the contracts and they can actually go forward with the purchase and they’ll be off and running.”

Rudolph said while inking the agreement will most likely be postponed until the 3rd Avenue and Moe Street site is confirmed, the city is still hoping to enter into the contract in November — even as early as the Nov. 5 city council meeting — calling it their “tentative absolute goal.”

“I’m very confident that the site’s going to work out,” he said.

Quade, too, expressed confidence.

“I really believe that the site is going to pan out,” she said.

During Wednesday night’s city council meeting, councilman Jeff McGinty brought up the impacts building on the proposed city hall site could potentially have on Little Norway.

“I’m sure there’s going to be controversy no matter where we go and what we do,” said councilman Jeff McGinty. He questioned the committee’s consideration of the nearby houses and community impact, and expressed a desire for more information relating to those facets.

Quade assured McGinty the city will follow development protocols, and complete a traffic impact analysis to determine the best needed configuration of surrounding streets.

Rudolph said he expects no less criticism than any other development project would see, and referenced the advisory vote at the request of area citizens the city has made efforts to follow.

He also said he’d like the city to make a commitment to selling the Klingle property—- known as Mitchusson Park — along with at least part of the 10th Avenue parcel and, eventually, the current city hall site, which is expected to be redeveloped down the road. Once a new city hall site has been confirmed, liquidating these current properties would assuage critics’ fears and assure citizens the city is not just in the business of buying up land, he said.

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