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Vetter Homestead raises gas issue

POULSBO — As city council members approved the final plat for Phase I of the Vetter Homestead, they took issue with Cascade Natural Gas and its absence at the site.

The subdivision proposes to build 93 single-family residences on the east side of Vetter Road NE, near Viking Way and State Route 3. Phase I would encompass the first 30 houses, which are being built through the USDA’s self-help housing program run by the Kitsap County Consolidated Housing Authority.

“This project is about affordable housing and gas is still less expensive,” Councilman Dale Rudolph said, noting that no gas lines are being run on to the site. “This is supposed to be an affordable housing neighborhood.”

The council’s approval of the final plat is unprecedented because construction hasn’t begun, Rudolph said, adding: “This is probably the riskiest thing we’ve ever done but if we don’t do this, the project will probably die.”

The property owner secured bonding to pay for 150 percent of the estimated construction cost to receive final plat approval and obtain federal funding for the project, said City Engineer Andrezj Kasiniak.

However, gas lines were not included because the gas company has a certain distance beyond which it won’t extend its main lines and the Vetter Homestead was outside that distance, Kasiniak told the council.

“I don’t think it’ll be never but it’s going to be a cold day ... (before gas service is provided),” Rudolph said. “I’m concerned that a utility purveyor can say, ‘No, we’re not going to do that.’”

Nothing in the city’s code specifically addresses the gas line issue, Kasiniak said.

Councilman Jim Henry said the absence of the gas utility was a surprise to him as well.

“In 1982, they went through my front yard and three or four other people’s to provide gas to my neighbors,” Henry said. “When I read this, it jumped right off the page. No, this is not right.”

The Vetter Homestead has 93 planned houses and if the gas company won’t run its main lines 4,000 feet for 93 lots, what will it take, Rudolph asked.

“This is the first time in my memory I’ve ever heard a major utility refuse to service an area,” he said.

Rudolph said he would like representatives from Cascade Natural Gas explain their reasons to the council.

“I’m really disappointed and would like to know more about it,” Rudolph said.

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