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KCCHA cancels Noll Road affordable housing plans

POULSBO — A major Noll Road development planned by the Kitsap County Consolidated Housing Authority has been cancelled, and nearby residents are expressing their relief.

The Mesford development, a self-help affordable housing community slated to contain 146 homes on 18.59 acres, was dropped at the end of August due to restrictions on lot density.

“All the regulations made it so we could not get the density to make it affordable,” said director of single-family housing David Finley. “We’re looking at other sites.”

The Mesford development included 1.89 acres of open space, and planned lots with an average size of 2,700 square feet. The minimum allowed lot size is 3,750 square feet according to the city’s

Planned Residential Development regulations.

Finley said the KCCHA is in the negotiating process for other options in the area that would enable it to build the development. There are currently 500 names on an active waiting list to enter the self-help housing program, which allows interested homebuyers with pre-approved incomes the opportunity to assist in building their homes in exchange for a lower down payment. Poulsbo currently has three self-help affordable housing developments: Vetter Homestead, Whitney’s Glen, and the award-winning Austurbruin.

Noll Road Association president Becky Erickson said her worries were alleviated with the development’s cancellation, as it failed to meet several aspects of the city’s PRD building codes, including open space, critical area buffers and tree retention. Finley said each of those aspects related to the KCCHA’s attempt to fit enough lots onto the parcel.

“I’m glad that they’ve decided they’re going to do something else,” Erickson said. “I think it’s real important the housing authority works within the building codes from the city of Poulsbo.”

Erickson said despite the development never reaching the formal application stage, the project troubled some Noll Road residents. The cancellation announcement at an Aug. 26 Noll Road Association meeting alleviated the fears of several who thought the Mesford’s low density was too extreme, she said. About 40 people attended the meeting.

KCCHA director of public affairs Sarah Lee said she understands the worries and concerns residents feel for the state of their neighborhoods, but so far the city as a whole has been very receptive of the self-help housing program, allowing it to be successful in the area.

“Poulsbo has an incredible tradition of good self-help development,” she said.

Lee said a surprising amount of area residents pitched in to help the raising of other affordable KCCHA neighborhoods, coming in with sleeves rolled, ready to work.

“That’s the kind of community that Poulsbo is,” she said.

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