Appeal places KHS site work in limbo

KINGSTON — The Environmental Protection Agency has ceased its investigation of Nike Site No. 92 in Kingston and hasn’t guaranteed the safety of building a proposed public high school on and nearby the site. Meanwhile, the North Kitsap School District’s conditional use permit (CUP) for clearing and grading the high school site in the fall was approved by Kitsap County. Last week, NKSD contracted out the logging of the site.

Now what?

While the EPA answers follow-up questions regarding its study of the former Kingston missile site, Kitsap County Monday confirmed that it has received an appeal on North Kitsap School District’s application for its CUP permit. That appeal could have a significant effect on the district’s time line to open a school off West Kingston Road in 2006.

The district, which had hoped to receive the CUP permit today, had planned to begin logging the 22.5- acre site by Aug. 9. Now, the Kitsap County Commissioners will need to hear the appeal and make a decision for or against it at one of their next meetings. That determination could occur Aug. 23 at the commissioners’ bi-weekly meeting, said Kitsap County Environmental Review Manager Rick Kimball, who works in the Department of Community Development.

“(The CUP) won’t be approved until the board makes a decision,” Kimball said.

Delaying the decision until the latter part of the month means the district might not have sufficient time to clear the site before winter weather returns.

NKSD Capital Programs Director Robin Shoemaker had said previously that seven weeks of work on the site would be needed in the fall.

“It’ll be back to the drawing board for the architects,” NKSD Board President Catherine Ahl said of the time line to build the Kingston school. “And there’ll be a lot of people figuring in on this.”

Both Shoemaker and NKSD Supt. Gene Medina are out of the office until Aug. 9.

An appeal to the commissioners’ decision could also be made, added Kimball, and would place the CUP permit process into the hands ofthe Washington State Superior Court.

The appellant and the appeal will not be made public until the CUP deadline concludes later today.

EPA’s extra work could

take two to three weeks

The EPA will attempt to study samples taken from the proposed Kingston school property for nuclear waste, after neighbor Ken Lassessen expressed concern last week that nuclear warheads may have been stored at the Nike site. EPA Site Assessment Manager Denise Baker said samples — either leftover from its investigation or possibly new tests that would require another trip to Kingston — will be examined and an answer as to whether nuclear warheads did exist at the site will hopefully be found. Though Baker said the follow-up may take two to three weeks, she offered no promises.

“This is going to take some time,” Baker said. “Some of these materials were classified (by the Department of Defense).”

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