Opinion

Grab the chance to create a to-do list for the county

In recent years, the Kitsap County Board of Commissioners has called upon the communities of Hansville and Suquamish to form citizen advisory councils to provide not only working groups to address development issues, but also a direct link for residents’ questions and concerns to be heard and acted upon. Both entities have taken off with much enthusiasm to organize and provide representation for their civic groups.

The Kingston Citizens’ Advisory Council has for several years served in this capacity and kept abreast of issues, drawing the county’s attention to them. Through featured presentations at its monthly meetings from representatives of the tribes, port district, developers, county departments, downtown associations, and many others, information provided is then disseminated to the organizations whose representatives serve on the council. This is a vital means to communicate first-hand details on what’s happening in the community and a way to question and clarify plans as they’re being laid out, not after the permits are signed off on.

Now county commissioners have called upon KCAC to take a close look at the Kingston Sub-Area Plan, a document that spells out policy elements for planning, population, transportation, land use, the environment and facilities. Since the last revisions to the sub-area plan took place in 2006, commissioners are not asking for updates, nor do they want a scorecard of what’s been accomplished. They’ve directed the council to come up with a specific to-do list.

KCAC is forming workgroups to run a fine-tooth comb through the plan and will compile a document of specific and prioritized actionable items and projects to submit to commissioners so the county can begin work on them. The groups will meet in mid-February, March and April (specific times and locations will be announced later). While it’s common knowledge that the county’s finances are stretched thin and in dire straits lately though commissioners managed to balance the budget, that Kingston has finally made it to the front of the line for getting its due is something to pay attention to and get involved in.

The council has asked residents to participate in the sub-area workgroups and provide feedback, suggestions and a little elbow grease to help prioritize a plan of action that might actually lead to getting projects underway to improve and revitalize the greater Kingston area. So far, no one has stepped forward.

For those who’ve given up on ever seeing progress made on completing parks and trails, providing sidewalks, dealing with stormwater, obtaining funding for downtown amenities and reworking zoning, now is the time to participate. KCAC wants the support of the community it serves and the community needs to vent its grumblings and resignation in a productive manner that can lead to long-term improvements in quality of life for all.

This is a vital opportunity to make change happen, to be heard, to help guide the future and let county commissioners know that its unincorporated regions deserve attention, serious consideration and funding.

Don’t hesitate to get involved. Your town needs you. This time, don’t sit back and expect others to carry the load. Step up, resolute and determined. The road to happiness isn’t built with good intentions, right? Be one of those who pave the way.

To participate in KCAC Kingston Sub-Area Plan workgroups and for more information, contact KCAC co-chair Greg Platz at (360) 509-3181.

REBECCA PIRTLE

Interim editor, North Kitsap Herald

Editor, Kingston Community News

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