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Meeting at Poulsbo Fire Station rekindles Tibbits annexation debate

POULSBO -- Poulsbo residents rekindled the debate over annexation of the Tibbits-Chamberlin zone of the city’s urban growth area Thursday night.

In a meeting at the Poulsbo Fire Station, property owners in the proposed annexation zone got a chance to hear information about the annexation to help them decide whether they want to become part of the city of Poulsbo. The city cannot annex the area unless it has the approval of property owners making up at least 60 percent of the assessed value of the area. No action was taken at the meeting.

Property owners within and surrounding the area, which lies roughly west of Viking Avenue and southwest of Finn Hill Road, are deeply divided on the issue. Some see annexation as necessary to spur growth and development in the city, while others want to preserve the area’s rural feel. Johnson Creek borders the west side of the area.

“I’ve grown up on this creek, and it’s one of the last creeks that hasn’t been totally destroyed,” said Kurt Nordberg, who grew up in Poulsbo and lives just south of the proposed annexation.

Nordberg believes developing the area would damage the creek and ruin the beauty that originally attracted settlers to Little Norway.

“We’ve got to have something that keeps that characterization that was here forever,” he said.

Michael Chamberlin, whose family has owned property in the proposed annexation zone since 1948, believes development of the area will help generate economic growth for the city.

“I don’t think our current economic growth is very healthy, at least on the west side of town,” Chamberlin said, referring to the vacant business lots along Viking Avenue. “To me, this seems like a natural extension of Poulsbo. You need growth to fund businesses.”

While opponents of the annexation agree that growth is necessary, they would like to see it take place elsewhere.

“We all need to grow, but I think there’s probably a better place to grow than this congested area,” Nordberg said.

The Tibbits was one of two annexation proposals shelved in April 2008 so city officials could conduct a public information campaign about the process. The proposed Gaines annexation involves property between Liberty Road and Marelaine Lane.

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