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Ideas, visions of all shapes and sizes

KINGSTON — Affordable. Efficient transportation. Livable wages. Open space. Small town character. Responsive government. Those were just some of the words that a group of approximately 100 North End folks put down as qualities and ideas important to them as Kitsap County grows during the next 20 years.

The brainstorming exercise was part of a public workshop hosted by the Kitsap County Department of Community Development March 23 at Kingston Junior High School, where county staff and officials sought residents’ input on how they want to see the county develop.

The county’s outreach efforts are part of the public process as the county completes its mandatory 10-year review and update of its comprehensive plan. The comprehensive plan is state-mandated document that defines how and where growth will occur in the county. The update has to be completed by Dec. 31, 2006.

“This is our opportunity to shape Kitsap County the way we want it,” said Kitsap County Commissioner Chris Endresen.

Thursday evening’s workshop included reviewing eight vision statements the county established during the last comprehensive plan update in 1998 and determining how they need to be revised. Based on a population allocation study completed by the county, it is expected that 100,000 more people will be in Kitsap by 2025, said project manager Eric Baker, and the county wants to know from residents how they want to see Kitsap develop.

The vision statements cover various topics, such as protecting the environment, designing attractive and livable communities, developing parks and open space systems, creating a vital and diversified economy and developing a more efficient multi-modal transportation system.

During the workshop, residents were put into four groups, with each group being assigned two of the vision statements to review, revise and make them more applicable to what Kitsap should look like. Some vision statements just had slight modifications, while others were completely rewritten.

“If that’s the way it is in 2006, let’s keep it that way,” suggested Suquamish resident Jim Goettler, who participated in the group that discussed the vision statement on the development of an open space, parks and green belt system, while also giving structure and separation to urban areas.

Others suggested adding a reference to preserving historical sites and cultural and educational resources.

Regarding the statement about having an efficient and responsive government that works with all entities, including citizens and tribes, while supporting education, environmental protection and human services, several looked more closely at the latter.

Kingston resident Tom Ogden suggested adding something about emergency management services and his 11-year-old son, Ryan, said police force needed to be specifically mentioned.

“I think we have the vision that the government will be responsive the next 20 years,” added Indianola resident Pete Simpson.

The county continues soliciting thoughts and ideas from residents on the plan, which includes specifics on impacts to the environment and land use reclassification requests. There will be several rounds of public meetings throughout the year. Residents can learn more and provide their input at www.mykitsap.org.

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