City still waiting on post-moratorium rush

POULSBO — The adoption of the city’s new Critical Areas Ordinance July 18 may have lifted moratoriums and made way for developers, but the expected rush of permit applications has yet to overflow Poulsbo’s planning department as builders continue to adjust their proposals in accordance with new regulations.

“It’s going a little better than expected,” city planning director Barry Berezowsky said. “It’s been a little more controlled than we anticipated.”

Citywide moratoriums were instituted last September after concerns arose about developments near critical areas, including a plan for more than 1,000 homes in the Noll Road area. The 10-month wait for a new ordinance to be created frustrated many developers. Mark Kuhlman of Team4 Engineering said despite having to adjust some proposals to comply with new critical area standards, most of their plans haven’t run into problems, making him wonder how necessary the quick implementation of moratoriums really was.

“We’ve tweaked some proposals to comply with the new requirements,” he said. “For the most part our projects didn’t change... was this really an emergency?”

Three Planned Residential Developments have begun the permitting process, but aside from them, most of the city’s extra work has come in the form of phone calls as developers ascertain the new standards, Berezowsky said.

“My educated guess is that people couldn’t put on their final touches without knowing the final rules,” he said. “They have to craft their projects to meet the new regulations.”

Even though there hasn’t been a post-moratorium slam, the city is as busy as it always has been, he said.

“Now that we’re back fully open for business, there continues to be a steady stream,” Berezowsky said. “It’s been pretty busy for three years now. There wasn’t really a lull in action even with the moratoriums. There were still plenty of projects going forward.”

Developments currently in the city’s planning process include a Vetter Road LLC planned unit development that will place 104 single-family homes on a 22.35 acre site. The site is east of Vetter Road, and 32.1 percent will be incorporated as open space. Walking trails and a central park area with a tot lot, swing set, gazebo, picnic areas and open play fields will be constructed, and nearby critical areas will be protected.

Also in the planning process is a 26-lot low density single-family residential subdivision proposed for a 7.41 acre site east of Languanet Lane, in which no critical areas are threatened. It will construct four to five units per acre. Lone Pine Partners has been approved for a 3.63 acre site between Lincoln Road and Maranatha Lane. It includes 15 single-family residential lots, and plans to improve the adjacent portion of Maranatha Lane.

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