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Historical museum plans continue moving forward

POULSBO — When the city council went looking for temporary additional parking downtown, the vacant Poulsbo Historical Society museum site seemed to be a logical choice.

However, instead of finding a solution, city staff found that the society was late in delivering its final plans for the museum, which caught everyone involved off-guard.

“It’s a matter of let no good deed go unpunished,” explained Councilman Ed Stern. “It was just an incidental housekeeping issue.”

Even though the property had been used for parking in the past, councilmembers wanted to see what restrictions were in place before approving parking on the site, Stern said.

PHS President Kathy Hogan echoed Stern’s sentiments by saying she is hopeful the issue will be resolved quickly.

“I am extremely hopeful we will be able to right this situation to the benefit of the historical society,” Hogan said.

As part of its effort to comply with the terms of its lease, the society will make another presentation before the city council Oct. 19, she said, noting that the society is taking steps toward avoiding similar situations in the future.

The society’s architect had been working under the presumed December deadline, but has assured Hogan that he will expedite the design work to put things back on track.

“In the future, we will work closer with the city and planning department to be sure we are in compliance at all times,” she said.

The compliance issue stems from a misunderstanding over a letter sent from the planning department to the society in August 2004 after the society presented its initial design for the museum to the city.

Under the society’s original timeline, that design would have been submitted in December 2004 with the final design following a year later in December 2005. However, because the initial design was submitted in August 2004, the final design was due to the city by August 2005, not December.

Hogan said she was unaware of the issue until she spoke with Mayor Donna Jean Bruce and Finance Director Nanci Lien in mid-September. That discussion led to the current flurry of activity to bring the society back in compliance with the terms of its lease.

The root of the issue stems from an inquiry by the council into the possibility of using the property for temporary parking downtown, which was done at the request of the Greater Poulsbo Chamber of Commerce in the past.

Lien told the council’s finance/administration committee about the compliance issue at its Sept. 21 meeting when she responded to the parking inquiry.

“The property was purchased with hotel/motel tax funds, so it has to be used for certain purposes,” Lien told the committee, noting that the state auditor had reservations about the legality of using the property for parking.

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