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Shoreline meeting washes on attendance

KINGSTON — The mail system seemed to have failed Olympic Property Group as employees observed the 12-person audience with dismay at a Port Gamble shoreline meeting Wednesday evening. Despite mailing out dozens of fliers about the gathering, only a handful of residents attended, something that could be attributed to people not receiving the informational invitations, OPG President Jon Rose said.

“This is not the crowd I expected tonight,” he said at the opening of the meeting. “It’s underwhelming, the turnout.”

He added there may be another meeting scheduled so residents who weren’t able to attend have a chance to learn more about potential plans for Port Gamble and its shoreline areas. Rose opened Wednesday night’s discussion with an overview of all of OPG’s current projects, including history and background of the efforts in Port Gamble. The meeting didn’t focus on any one plan, but covered several possibilities for the area, and residents were able to express thoughts and concerns about the ideas.

“We’re just monitoring what’s going on over there,” said Hood Head resident Joe Chesledon. “We’re concerned over the intent about what the county is building up, but these guys seem OK.”

Chesledon and Port Gamble resident Steve Rich spent the majority of the meeting questioning and discussing ideas with Rose, trying to clarify what OPG was focusing on.

Of particular interest was two miles of shoreline property running parallel to State Route 104 into downtown Port Gamble. Rose said there are several possibilities to developing the acreage, one of which is breaking the property into long, skinny lots and selling them off.

“This is the last undeveloped waterfront in North Kitsap that’s more than an eighth of a mile long,” he said. “There are two plans we’re looking at, the easy one is to break it up into 20-acre segments and fit in as many lots as we can and see what the financial performance is. We’re at least going to evaluate it... We’ll evaluate that as opposed to clustering pulled off of the water.”

Rose made it clear during his presentation there will be times when OPG would do what was financially viable for the company, which may not be the most popular decision. With regard to the entire Port Gamble area, the master plan is still in the early stages, and many ideas are being researched.

There has been discussion about utilizing the Rural Wooded pilot program Kitsap County offers, which allows cluster housing on rurally-zoned land greater than 20 acres, as long as 75 percent of the property becomes open space.

“There was an article written about three years ago that mentioned a golf course and marina in Port Gamble,” said Port Gamble Bay resident Tom Nielsen. “But they didn’t want to make the same mistakes as they did in Port Ludlow, they want to make Port Gamble more like Leavenworth. My only surprise was how negative (Rose) was, that people were going to throw rocks before he even got to the plan. I wanted him to talk about it first before I made a decision.”

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