White Horse trail gets OK, but not water plans

INDIANOLA — There’s been some progress on making sure the conditions imposed on the White Horse development are being followed, but not much.

The Kitsap County Department of Community Development staff hasn’t heard much from property owner Bob Screen about the project since September, which has White Horse neighbors concerned.

Indianola residents and members of the Kingston Parks, Trails and Open Space committee met with DCD staff Tuesday night to discuss the latest on the public trail and water quality issues taking place within the development. The meeting was a follow-up to a discussion the county and the residents had in September on the same topics. Since that meeting, an approved public trail plan has been accepted by the county but it has had little response from Screen regarding the water monitoring plans.

Like the September meeting, neither Screen nor representatives of the project were present. Indianola resident Bo Blakey said Screen wasn’t invited because residents feel their concerns deal with the county, not the owner.

Following the meeting, the Herald contacted Screen, who said he would be willing to meet with those who have any concerns about the development.

So far, the turf management plan for the golf course has been accepted by the Kitsap County Health District but the ground water and surface water monitoring plans have yet to be OK’d by the Kitsap County Public Utilities District and the KCH, said DCD planner Dennis Oost.

One issue that has been hindering progress has been getting KPUD’s superintendent Bob Hunter and Screen to come to a resolution on the ground water monitoring program, Oost said. The other issue is determining who will be responsible for maintaining a water monitoring program during and following the completion of the development.

The ground water is a major concern because most residents have wells, said resident Dan Nichols. The community, he added, is concerned about the chemicals that will go into the ground, both on the golf course and private residents’ lawns, getting into aquifers used by Indianola residents.

“I’d say it still remains a really high priority,” Nicolas said.

Screen said that baseline testing for the surface water monitoring plan is underway, as two tests were completed in the past four months and DCD director Cindy Baker should be receiving reports showing the results of the tests. He said he doesn’t know what the next step is for the surface water plan, but he knows the health district has accept Screen’s two reports so far.

Regarding ground water, he realizes that shallow wells need to be dug to get testing started for the ground water monitoring plan but “You can’t do at this time of year with all the rain we’ve been happening,” he said.

There are no pesticides or chemicals being put on the golf course and there are no lawns on any of the residences at this time, he said, adding that only one residence is occupied.

As for who will take care of the water quality monitoring plans in the long run, it’s specified in the development plans, Screen said, noting that the PUD and health district, the golf club and homeowners association would be the parties responsible for keeping up with the health district’s requirements for the monitoring water quality.

As for the trail issue, “it’s beginning to sound simple,” KPTOS member Bobbie Moore said in jest, following the hour-long water issue discussion.

While the final plans for the public trail have been approved by the county, a “notice to title” has been issued. The notice ensures the trail will be built, even if the property changes ownership, Baker said.

Before any more permits are issued for the project, Screen needs to give the county a type of assurance, such as a bond payment or letter of credit, ensuring that the trail will be built.

“We have agreed to a trail; they have to bond it, basically,” she said.

The trail is expected to be 10 feet wide, with buffers on either side ranging from 15 feet to 60 feet throughout the entire pathway. The trailhead will be at the end of Kitsap Street in Indianola, by the old firehouse, and extend through the middle of the property. It is expected to end at the northern border of the White Horse development before forking off into Heritage Park to the west and the Arborwood development to the east.

The other issue is how the trail will be maintained. That task will either fall on the county public works or facilities, parks and recreation department because it will be a public trail.

“I worry about that because as you know, parks is severely understaffed,” said KPTOS member Carolina Veenstra.

Heritage Park will have a significant network of trails, Oost said, so the connection of the two trails will help with maintenance.

Screen wants to talk about adding benches to the trailhead and how to deal with the trail where it crosses public streets, Oost added, but parking will be an issue because its availability on Kitsap Street is limited.

Currently, stop work permits have been issued for Phase 2 and no work should be taking place on the property except for erosion control for the golf course, since it was graded last fall, and the development of Phase 1. No additional permits will be issued to Screen until the county receives the approved plans for the water quality management programs from the KPUD and health district, Baker said, suggesting that a “notice to title” for the surface and ground water plans be put on the property’s title.

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