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Buc Field not permitted for games

This story has been updated to reflect the following correction: Dan Novick and David Beil work at the Central Kitsap School District, not Bremerton.

KINGSTON — The North Kitsap School District lacks the proper permit for games to be held on Buccaneer Field.

A public hearing is scheduled for June 13, 5:30 p.m., to ask Kingston residents for permission to use the field for games.

The hearing will be held in the district office, 18360 Caldart Ave., Poulsbo. The hearing is a requirement of the board, before the district can ask Kitsap County for the proper permit to host games on the field.

The field was originally contested by neighbors when Kingston High School was being planned. Though the neighbors lost the fight against a field being developed, the district’s use agreement allows the field to be used only for practice.

“They’re technically not supposed to have games there,” said Mike Currie, the district’s interim director of maintenance.

District administrators found out the field was not permitted for games when they applied for a permit to build a press box at the field. The current permit does not allow building on the field.

Buccaneer Field has been used for games for more than three years, Currie added.

The county is working with the school district to make an amendment to the conditional use permit issued by the Kitsap County Hearing Examiner, said Jeff Smith, senior planner for the county Department of Community Development. The meeting will allow residents to address any concerns they may have with games being played at the field and provide “feedback,” Smith said.

Though Superintendent Patty Page doesn’t expect “crowds of people,” even one person protesting the field’s use can block the district from getting the permit, she said at the May 9 school board meeting.

Currie doesn’t believe there will be a reason the school won’t get the use permit amended, “but weirder things have happened,” he said.

The district must notify residents living within a 400-foot perimeter of the school grounds of the hearing, Smith said. Smith estimated there are 20-30 residents who live within that perimeter.

As long as the district is applying for the permit, Smith said there will be no penalties for non-compliance. The county has not had to go out for code enforcement, he said.

The conditional use permit allowed the construction of Kingston High School and its athletic fields consistent with the Urban Restricted and Urban Residential designation of the comprehensive plan and zone classifications of Kitsap County. That includes regulations on such things as traffic, lighting, noise, and other impacts near residents.

Smith said there is no specific language in the permit that says “thou shall not …” However, while the school was not supposed to host sporting events, Smith said other activities, such as band practice, can be louder than a sporting event.

The county has received no complaints about the field’s use, Smith said.

Kingston High School Principal Christy Cole declined to comment regarding the use of the field.

Dan Novick, Kingston High School’s former athletic director and head football coach, is not allowed to speak about the subject because he works for the Central Kitsap School District, said David Beil, Central Kitsap School District spokesman.

Though no games were played at night until the district installed lights around the field, KHS Athletic Booster President Hope Lash said games were played in 2008. The first football game played on Buc Field was against Chimacum in September 2008, she wrote in an email. According to previous reports in the Herald, the Bucs varsity team played Chimacum Sept. 5. The Bucs won 13-8.

Until board approval in 2009, the field did not have lighting to hold practices or games at night. Kingston athletics shared North Kitsap Stadium, which became a point of contention when the Kingston community voiced their concern over lack of scheduled time at the stadium. Having two high schools sharing one stadium was not well thought out, Lash said.

Despite the need for their own field, Lash said using Buc Field without the proper permit was an oversight by previous district administration.

To have the county make changes to the permit, it would take about four to six hours at $125 per hour, Page said at the May 9 school board meeting.

Kingston High School has a lot of community support, Lash said. She doesn’t expect there to be much difficulty getting a permit.

“The field is situated so far back [on the campus],” she said.

Smith does not anticipate any issues with the permit. The district has been receptive to residents’ concerns in the past. But “you never say ‘never’ in land use,” he said.

 

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