County pushes White Horse a step closer to starting gate

KINGSTON — Owners of White Horse leaped a few more obstacles this week, taking a strong lead in their personal race to get final approval for their 450-acre development.

The Kitsap County Board of Commissioners decided Oct. 27 on the latest appeals regarding the project north of Indianola Road and west of and adjacent to South Kingston Road.

Owners Robert and Janet Screen of Bainbridge Island have been trying get approval to develop 224 single homes and an 18-hole golf course on the property for more than a decade.

The application to develop the property has been in and out of state and local court systems since the early 1990s. The most recent litigation has involved the Kitsap County Hearing Examiner Stephen Causseaux Jr., the North Kitsap Coordinating Council and the Suquamish Tribe.

Commissioners decided this week to agree with the Hearing Examiner in denying an NKCC appeal of a July decision to approve a grading permit for the White Horse Golf Course.

NKCC chairman Charlie Burrow said the decision was no surprise.

In a statement submitted to the commissioners Oct. 27, Burrow claimed the board’s priority with White Horse was to have the plan approved as soon as possible and that it has also ignored county codes.

The Suquamish Tribe had appealed the Hearing Examiner’s July decision to approve the preliminary plat application for the housing development. The tribe claimed its written testimony was submitted in time to be considered for the decision but it was not entered into the record.

Commissioners decided to allow the letter into the record Oct. 6. The Hearing Examiner then considered the written testimony and recommended two changes to the White Horse plan, which the commissioners approved Oct. 27.

Recommendations stated that the Screens converse with the tribe upon discovery of any cultural resources or artifacts found on the site; and that a stormwater drainage plan should be completed for future treatment of existing and newly created impervious services.

The board’s final decision will be adopted Nov. 10. As for the project, the recent decisions haven’t hindered progress.

Robert Screen said the golf course has been cleared except for the seventh hole.

“It’s more responsible erosion control to leave it until spring,” Screen said, noting that the rest of the course, practice range, club house parking lot and irrigation lake have been cleared and are ready for development. They are waiting for cloudy skies, little or no wind and humid weather conditions before burning the debris, Screen explained. He said he is hoping to have the course constructed by end of next summer and open for play in May 2005.

As for the housing development, Screen said he hopes to have the first phase of lots on the market in Spring 2004.

The first phase includes 65 houses in the northeastern corner of the property, just west of sharp curve on South Kingston Road, off Mahoney Lane NE.

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