One-way street, sewer dominate Poulsbo City Council talk

POULSBO — The question that’s been lingering since the beginning of the new City Hall construction, regarding Third Avenue has finally been answered.

Beginning May 31, Third Avenue will be permanently dubbed a one-way street from Hostmark to Iverson Street.

The decision, made final at Wednesday’s City Council meeting, was spurred by City Hall construction to accommodate better parking and a fire lane. City officials also hope to add a sidewalk.

“The guiding factor here is that our fire marshall wants a 20-foot, one-way road, which is the same as it is right now and it’s a two-way,” Councilwoman Linda Berry-Maraist said. “Right now we have lots of parking up there, it’s dark, it’s less than ideal from many directions.”

The council also bantered about the idea of making Front Street a one-way, southbound, to compliment Third Avenue.

“I’m in favor of making it one way regardless of how Front Street is, a one-way with improved parking opportunities the whole length of Third Avenue,” Councilwoman Connie Lord said.

The council also considered revising some of the utility rates ordinances, specifically Poulsbo’s wastewater service penalty fee.

According to Barry Loveless, Public Works director, about 50 citizens are currently being charged a wastewater fee of $31.45 per month. The fee was assessed to homeowners with homes within 200 feet of a city sewer line who opted to use their own septic systems rather than the city’s wastewater services.

When Noll Road and Mesford Road annexations were completed, the city’s recordkeeping did not properly account for wastewater services in those areas, so not everyone who should have been charged was charged.

“Whatever we decide, it’s not only going to impact folks from here forward, but we’ll need to be attending to folks from here back. Some have been charged, some haven’t been charged,” Councilman Jeff Bauman said.

The council will have to decide whether to charge a retroactive fee for those who were overlooked, a group that includes Mayor Becky Erickson.

“We have annexed people in and we have not required them to pay this in the past, but we have required some to pay this in the past. Well, we’re not perfect and we didn’t handle this appropriately,” Lord said. “Look at all the people that were brought into the city that didn’t want to come into the city.”

This topic will come into play in future annexations.

“We think it’s a good idea to put pressure on people, in an urbanizing area, to hook up to a sewer,” Councilman Dale Rudolph said. “But if they have a perfectly good system and they can demonstrate that, we can waive the fee.”

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