Recruiting residents for results

SUQUAMISH — While incorporation may still be years away, residents have expressed interest in coming together on a more grassroots level in the short term — recruiting neighbors who would be the voice of Suquamish to the rest of the county.

That is what Suquamish Incorporation Project Chairman Matthew Cleverley hopes to have accomplished by the end of April. As a result of the SIP’s informational meeting last month on incorporating Suquamish as a city, residents supported the idea of creating an advisory board that would address the community’s concerns to the county and tribal governments. While the idea is similar to the county-based Kingston Citizens Advisory Committee and Central Kitsap Advisory Committee, the difference is that the Suquamish volunteers would not be county-appointed.

“That’s been part of our problem,” Cleverley said. “People haven’t been happy with the commissioners and the influence and what’s happened here ... We decided we’d start out with a volunteer board that would be independent from the commissioners.”

However, the group wouldn’t be controlled by SIP. Cleverley emphasized that most of the people who have expressed interest are not involved in SIP but have heard about the effort. SIP is just “throwing it out there and trying to get it rolling,” Cleverley said.

He said he hopes the board will start with 12-15 people and that each neighborhood within Suquamish will eventually be represented.

“We’ll have a good mix of people who know what happens in the whole area,” he said.

The idea came from the comments and surveys that were taken at the SIP public meeting in March.

“Because incorporation may take several years, (residents) would like to have an advisory board in the meantime,” Cleverley said.

As the incorporation process starts, the board can decide whether to support and pursue the effort or step back and say the community isn’t ready for it yet, Cleverley said.

The issues Cleverley said he believes the board could focus on include creating a vision statement for future business development, land use development and potential growth issues.

The first meeting of the board is tentatively expected to take place at end of April in a public meeting. Ten people have expressed interest so far.

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