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Shaping the future face of Kingston

"KINGSTON - Laura Roseveare's visions for Kingston is that it be the kind of friendly little town where you can drive down the road doing the Kingston wave and know who you're waving to. She also sees her 11-mile commute taking less than the 20 minutes it takes now. Roseveare joined more than 200 residents of Kingston and surrounding areas who told Kitsap County representatives they envision Kingston as a place with greenbelts, a small town feel, less traffic congestion and plenty of potable water for all. The public forum was held Thursday night at Kingston Jr. High. I love the village feeling we have in downtown Kingston, said Marta Holt of Indianola. The forum was conducted by the Kitsap County Community Development, the Kingston sub-area plan steering committee and consultant Rick Sepler of Madrona Planning & Development Services. Representatives from other county departments were also on hand to answer questions. The steering committee of Kingston residents has been drafting goals and working on a plan since May. This forum was in part to see if the goals they drafted matched the goals of the people. The main question at Thursday's meeting was not whether growth should come to Kingston, but how should growth be handled? People were asked to brainstorm about what they wanted Kingston to look like in 20 years. Their suggestions were then written down and the 15-member steering committee which will mold them into a vision statement for Kingston. That vision statement will be presented at a future meeting. People suggested better roads, installing a sewer system, having large greenbelts surrounding downtown Kingston, and designating non-buildable areas. They also do not want to see Kingston become Kirkland or Bellevue. And unlike most areas, Kingston has to contend with the ferry. We have a big elephant in the room and it's down at the ferry dock, said one citizen. Before the discussion began, people also got to review four options of what Kingston's urban growth area could look like. These cartoon versions of possible UGAs were developed by the 15-member steering committee and were put out there to test the water, Sepler said. Option one does not increase the UGA's acreage, but the densities within the area. Option 2 would expand the UGA from 741 acres 2,361. Option 3 suggested increasing the UGA to 2,111 acres and option 4 would increase it to 2,316. Sepler and members of the steering committee said nothing has been cast in stone except that the UGA will not decrease in size. It's key that the community gets involved. These decisions would not be made at the county level or corporate level, said Annie Humiston, steering committee member. This is who lives in Kingston, she said as she pointed to the filled commons area. She suggested that the UGA be expanded 400 acres instead of thousands. I'm concerned about uncontrolled urban growth and putting too much stress on a fragile area, she said. Humiston also is a member of the Kingston Area's Citizen Network, which along with the North Kitsap Coordinating Council sent out a flier to Kingston residents asking them if they wanted Kingston to expand to the size of Poulsbo. I hope it will grow, said Fred Oswald. He moved to Kingston in 1980 when he could drive all the way to Poulsbo and not see a car. "

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