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Poulsbo eyes uncertain growth planning future

"POULSBO - When the joint planning process between Kitsap County and Poulsbo broke down last month no one was certain where that left long-awaited changes to the city's Urban Growth Area. The uncertainty still exists. But even though both city and planning commissions declared an impasse to their ongoing efforts Dec. 12, the plan must move forward according to the Poulsbo advisory group. However, the city should proceed without the county at this point, according to a Tuesday memo drafted by the Poulsbo Planning Commission. We are very reluctant to attempt further joint work with the county due to their shifting positions and tendency to focus on political considerations, chairman Barry Babcock and members Yolanda Adams, Bob Nordnes, Ray Stevens, Earle Smith, Ray Dupree and James Coleman stated. Since the county does not agree that the Poulsbo Subarea Plan should be be a city driven plan, we see no benefit to continue the process. The Poulsbo Planning Commission recommended the city go ahead with its own plan and, after some review and modification, present it to the Kitsap County Commissioners for final approval. If the county fails to adopt our proposed Urban Growth Area, the city council should consider an appeal to the (Central Puget Sound) Hearing Board, the seven-member group concurred. The joint process started last May when the city and county planning commissions were handed the ball from Poulsbo and Kitsap County planning departments - two groups which had butted heads on the plan for several years with little to show for their efforts. Before the commissions ran with the idea though, the county pledged that the end proposal would reflect the needs of the city. This never happened. It appears that the Kitsap County Planning Commission wasn't given the same direction from the county commissioners that Poulsbo was promised, councilman Dale Rudolph said, telling the local board, You're representing Poulsbo's interests and that's exactly what we want you to do. Members of the Poulsbo Planning Commission said the latest effort in the six-year process was seriously flawed because the county often got politics and its own desires mixed up in what was originally supposed to be a city-driven plan. It has been my observance that the county planning commission and the staff have not been straight forward, nor have they tried to work with the Poulsbo Planning Commission, explained Dupree. It is as if they are trying to control the destiny of Poulsbo instead of Poulsbo deciding its own future. Poulsbo Planning Director Glenn Gross said Wednesday that the city commission had formed a sub-committee which will be giving a special report on the issue Jan. 24. Is there any plan after that? councilman Jeff McGinty asked. That's what we they need to talk to you about, Gross responded, noting that the meeting will likely decide whether the city and county would continue to work on the plan jointly or separately. "

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