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Norwegian Point Park: On with the master plan

HANSVILLE —?Pink and yellow Post-It notes jockied for position on the design renderings for Norwegian Point Park Tuesday night. The plans were on display at the Greater Hansville Community Center, where residents were invited to take a look and offer feedback via the Post-Its.

Suggestions showed residents’ mixed feelings about the use and construction of the park and its old buildings.

This was the second meeting on the park’s master planning. The first was in January.

The goal of the master planning process: Trying to please everybody.

“We are trying to make it as many things to as many people with disappointing as few as possible,” said Chip Faver, director of Kitsap County Parks and Recreation.

The main issues garnered from both meetings are parking, septic use, re-directing Finn Creek, security for the park’s neighboring residents and whether or not to tear down the restaurant, boathouse, pier and beach side cabins.

Also available for Hansville residents to peruse was Olympic Property Group’s (OPG) displayed vision to use the old structures in a self-described effort to create a sense of downtown along the shoreline.

“OPG has done all the research for what it would take to do all the technical work for the water, sewer and power at no cost to the county,” said planner and architect Miles Yanick, principal of Miles Yanick Company on Bainbridge Island. “Because they have significant property holding around the area, I guess you could call it enlightened self interest.”

OPG owns 2,000 acres between Hansville and Little Boston.

“It’s in the best interest of those acres for Hansville to have a definite sense of place,” said Jon Rose, OPG president. “If they were to tear the buildings down, it wouldn’t be possible to rebuild now because of a change in the laws.”

Keeping the buildings would mean grant funding from the Recreation Conservation Office would be extracted from the park project unless the buildings are used for recreation purposes. The exact amount hasn’t yet been confirmed by the agency said Arvilla Ohlde, project manager for the Kitsap County Parks and Recreation.

Rose compared OPG’s vision to Bainbridge Island’s Lynnwood Center or Rolling Bay, adding it would be nice to have a beer or glass of wine at a bistro overlooking the water.

He said that all the buildings’ foundations are in good condition. However, the pier is in need of necessary repair, foundation and decking.

Joanne Erickson, who lives adjacent to the Norwegian Point property, said she was surprised the buildings were in as good condition as they are.

“I always saw them as more of a hazard,” Erickson said. “I do worry about the buildings and who is hanging around there.”

She isn’t the only one concerned with security.

Jan Niemeyer, who has lived on Point No Point Road for more than 60 years, said trespassers are his biggest concern.

“Right now there are a lot of people who walk on the private beaches and it’s not that much of a problem but it will be,” Niemeyer said. “I pay premium property taxes and I just don’t want a lot of people in my yard. Point No Point has private property signs but people just go right by it.”

An Aquatic Lands Enhancement grant from the Department of Natural Resources enabled the county to buy the park property in 2004 to provide residents with water access, said Ken Shawcroft, president of the Hansville Greenway Association, an unincorporated group that works with the county to get the Greenway trail system put together.

Shawcroft said one of the main concerns is flooding by the nearby Finn Creek, which currently runs through a roadside ditch.

During periods of heavy rainfall and high tides, the water gate closes and Finn Creek floods, he said.

“During really bad times, it will flow across the road toward the post office,” Shawcroft said.

There are multiple renderings by The Berger Partnership — a Seattle-based landscape Architecture company working on the project — that show ways to meander and “daylight” the creek, widening the creek bed to prevent flooding.

One way is to redirect the stream to the beach, which would theoretically enable it to be used as a salmon running stream, said Jonathan Moreley, principal of The Berger Partnership.

Also, because of the areas sandy, grainy fill-like soil, septic use is limited, Rose said.

If the buildings are kept and determined to have a lot of use it will be necessary to build a sewer plant in the area to extend to the park.

“If residents’ individual septic systems were to fail, we could enable it so they could hook up to ours,” Rose said.

To be able to accommodate numerous visitors, downtown also needs additional parking.

“The parking can be solved. It just won’t look pretty,” Rose said.

However, the community remains undecided over whether they want to keep the buildings or not.

“A lot of people don’t want to retain those buildings,” Nelson said. “They aren’t that architecturally significant. They might be historic but they were just little cabins when they were built.”

Shawcroft said he knows people on both sides.

“Each have their own reasons for keeping or getting rid of the buildings. The old lines give a unique character,” he said.

Public input from this meeting will be documented and analyzed to form another park rendering by the Berger Partnership before another meeting is scheduled, Moreley said.

Project updates are visible on Kitsap County’s Parks and Recreation Web site at www.kitsapgov.com/parks.

The project is also on the Greater Hansville Community Web site at hansville.org. To view it, click on the Norwegian Point Planning tab.

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