Olhava waiting list is growing

POULSBO — The Home Depot appears to be on the fast track, while a bevy of businesses interested in joining Wal-Mart in Olhava have yet to clear one last hurdle: the short platting of larger lots in the development.

Following the city’s request for revisions, the company recently completed its revised site plan review and is charging ahead.

“Assuming everything is OK, the next step would be for them to submit for building permits,” Poulsbo Associate Planner Linda Mueller said. “It’s possible they could catch up to Wal-Mart, if everything goes well.”

That process could begin in the next few weeks unless there is an appeal to the Poulsbo City Council, but Mueller said if an appeal was made, she expects the result would be same as the Wal-Mart decision and the corporation would simply be delayed in its bid to build at Olhava.

The short-platting process for Olhava should be completed in six to eight weeks, but the city planning department hasn’t received the revised drawings from the state, she said. They are expected in the next couple of weeks.

“The process is underway, but it’s really the only stumbling block to these small lots,” she said.

Some interested parties have taken a proactive approach and submitted the paperwork required for a site plan review, Mueller said.

“They have requested a concurrent review, but nothing will go forward until the short-platting is approved,” she said, noting that once it gets the go ahead, the city’s planning commission could receive as many as 16 requests for site plan review in a relatively short period of time.

“Once everything is in place it should be a fairly simple process with the permitting process taking about six weeks for each one as long as there are no major issues,” she said.

Even though the property is owned by First Western Investments, Barber Development has taken the lead in bringing smaller, retail stores into Olhava. The Seattle developer has been working with Steve Rugiero from First American Properties in Bainbridge Island to attract a mix of business into the area.

“We’re taking this project very seriously and we hope to start construction at some point this summer,” said Andy Barber, president of Barber Development.

Once construction begins, Barber said he expects it should wrap up in about four months and that tenants would begin their interior build-ups shortly thereafter.

“They could be opened by this fall, and the city has been great to us,” he said.

While Taco Del Mar and Starbuck’s have been mentioned in the past as possible tenants, Barber’s current list also includes:

• Copy It, Mail It, a local store providing services similar to the UPS Store

• Asiana Bistro, a restaurant specializing in Oriental cuisine

• Pink Coconut Tanning Salon

• T-Mobile

• Hair Masters

• Payless Shoes

• Super Cuts

• Bella Cleaners

• Peninsula Federal Credit Union

With retailers poised to move into Olhava, two financial institutions appear to be banking on the development as well. Harborstone Bank and 1st Federal Savings both have expressed interest in putting branches in the area but are among the crowd waiting for the final short-plat approval.

At least one medical facility, DaVita Dialysis Center, has taken its plans to the city’s design review board.

The City of Poulsbo Design Review Board has looked over the plans and the center is in the process of making adjustments to its plans before resubmitting them for further analysis, Mueller said.

While retail development in Olhava appears to be gaining speed, the residential development around the area remains unclear as the Kitsap County Consolidated Housing Authority is in the pre-application process on property north of the Olympic College campus and has also expressed interest in land west of the campus. No other developers have taken that step yet.

“They haven’t submitted a formal application yet, so apparently they’re still studying the idea,” Mueller said.

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