Kingston can speak now or forever hold its peace

KINGSTON — Members of the community who have been intensely involved with the redesign of Kingston’s Urban Growth Area boundaries have just one more hurdle to jump.

After more than a decade of input from citizens, county staff members and elected officials, the hard work is done. Now it’s up to the county commissioners to approve the years of planning.

Kitsap County Department of Community Development Director Kamuron Gurol and DCD Manager Laura Ditmer updated the members of Kingston Citizens Advisory Committee Sept. 3 on the latest procedural steps on the proposed Kingston sub-area plan. The Kitsap County Board of Commissioners will be taking final testimony this month on the proposal.

A public hearing on the matter has been slated from 7-9 p.m. Sept. 8 at President’s Hall at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds in Bremerton.

Ditmer said the DCD staff will be asking for an extension of the hearing to Sept. 22.

Following the hearings, commissioners will begin the decision-making process Oct. 15 for adoption of the plan into the Kitsap County 2003 Comprehensive Plan. Commissioners will also be approving other county-wide amendments to the plan. The comp plan is used by the agency as a guide for making decisions on the physical, economical and community development aspects of the county.

Last June, the Kitsap Planning Commission recommended that the commissioners approve the proposed UGA alternative and its projected population allocations.

The newest concept includes the current Kingston UGA boundaries, North Kitsap School District Property (including Kingston Junior High, Spectrum Community School, Gordon Elementary and the proposed site for new Kingston High School) and additional county property just west of the school property.

“There have been no substantive changes to the plan,” Ditmer said, noting the recommendations and policies within have been clarified in the final plan. The commission initially recommended the population allocation be set for an expected growth of 2,000 people between 2012 and 2017. But the staff is repealing the proposed 2,000 allocation, she added.

County staff found through further population analysis that the plan can only accommodate 881 additional people in the area between 2012 and 2017. As a result, DCD staff this fall will conduct a more in-depth study of projected growth through the year 2025. Ditmer said the study will determine whether or not the county needs to conduct further allocations in the Kingston area.

KCAC members said they were concerned about future developments located just outside the proposed UGA boundaries, such as White Horse and Arborwood.

Gurol said the owners of Arborwood, Olympic Property Group, is asking the county to zone the 1,100-acre area south of West Kingston Road as Urban Reserve. This zoning would set the property aside for possible future population allocation analysis and inclusion in the UGA.

KCAC member Betsy Cooper questioned why the county was going to go consider the temporary zoning if there was no population allocation for the area.

“It seems like this is going past the many years of process that has been going on,” she added.

Gurol said that identifying the area as an Urban Reserve doesn’t mean the UGA is definitely going to expand. There are subsequent steps the county would need to take if the property was even considered as an addition to the UGA. One of these steps includes doing a population analysis.

However, if the county finds there will be significant population growth through 2025, the Arborwood area could be considered as part of the UGA.

KCAC member Tom Waggoner agreed with the idea of the urban reserve zone.

“I find it very refreshing to be looking out at the future,” Waggoner said. “I support it wholeheartedly.”

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