Kingston UGA could expand by 237 acres

KINGSTON —  Nine property owners may soon get what they want when it comes to protecting their environmentally sensitive parcels and obtaining access to county utilities.

As result of their efforts, Kitsap County may also come out a winner, as the land may help the agency accommodate Kingston’s expected population increase during the next 20 years.

Residents approached the Kingston Sub-area Plan Working Group Wednesday night to explain why their various properties, totaling to 237 acres, should be included in the next expansion of the community’s Urban Growth Area boundaries.

The requests are primarily to allow a change in the properties’ zoning classifications. The majority of the acreage is zoned rural residential (one dwelling unit per five acres) but property owners are requesting a change to urban low (five to nine dwelling units per acre), which typically allows for development of single-family housing units, said Kitsap County Department of Community Development senior planner Albert Williams.

The working group, made up of community members, has spent nearly a year researching how much the UGA boundaries should expand to accommodate population growth through 2025. The existing UGA boundaries were approved by the county in 2003.

According to the county’s population allocation study, Kingston is expected to experience a 4.02 percent annual growth rate by 2025 and the addition of 3,135 people to the UGA.

However, according to the Updated Land Capacity Analysis (ULCA) of Kitsap County, the existing. boundary can only accommodate one-third of that estimate. Under the ULCA and using the current boundaries, there would only be enough room for 1,075 people.

Williams said the DCD staff is considering including all the land requests in its recommendation to the county planning commission to help meet the expected population boom.

The two biggest and most well-known properties presented to the working group were Olympic Property Group’s 305-acre Arborwood development and resident Suzanne Arness’ two parcels, totaling 55 acres, located off West Kingston Road.

Arness has requested reclassifications for a 20-acre parcel, which houses A&A Tree Farms Inc., and of a 35-acre parcel, which includes the West Kingston estuary, from rural resignation to urban low.

Arness said she doesn’t have any plans for development on either parcel but would like them to be part of the UGA to help protect the environmental sensitivity of the estuary and surrounding forest. Her family has owned the property since the 1950s.

“They protected that slough for quite a few years,” Arness said.

As for Arborwood, which has been a project on DCD’s books since the late 1980s, project manager C. Kent Berryman said the company wants on include the 305-acre parcel in the UGA for environmental reasons as well as to have access to county utilities.

The company is asking the county to allow the property to have several types of zoning to allow for residential, recreational and commercial use.

Of the 305 acres, 104 acres would be dedicated for a greenway trail, 58 acres would be protected wetlands and open space areas and another 143 would be for residential and commercial development.

“We want to present a nicely done development with lots of green space,” Berryman said. “We want to create something Kingston can be proud of.”

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