Opinion

Poulsbo Place II: Seattle comes to town?

Homeowners in the quaint Poulsbo Place development are hot under collar, and with good reason. At neighborhood meeting Thursday night — appropriately held at the Poulsbo Fire Station — they vocalized their frustrated awe as Central Highlands Builders (CHB) unveiled plans for new Poulsbo Place II divisions. Tempers were flaring because, ironically enough, they think the expansion for Poulsbo Place II doesn’t look like it belongs in Poulsbo at all. Hence the frustration.

CHB has big — meant literally, not figuratively — plans for the area along Fourth Avenue, as well as the land next to and behind the Poulsbo Post Office on Jensen Way and Sunset Street. These plans will add 120 residential units to the division. And these buildings will be monstrous. If CHB has its way, three- to four-story, mixed-use and condominium structures will sit aside current homes in Poulsbo Place.

For convenience sake, the parking lots will be built under the structures, pushing the height to 45 feet. As a sidenote, there is a 35-foot height limitation within Poulsbo city limits.

This is also where it should be noted CHB has yet to file for official permits and they don’t yet bear the seal of approval from the city.

That CHB unveiled the plans to the public is commendable. That they asked for input is equally respectable. And, to be fair, CHB willingly and without reservation fixed some pre-existing infrastructure problems left behind by the now-bankrupt Security Properties of Seattle, the developer and builder of Poulsbo Place.

The Poulsbo Place residents can’t help but feel a bit slighted on a couple of levels. First, they say they weren’t aware a second development was in the works at all. Second, they think the new plans are right in line with the Seattle-ization of Poulsbo.

When those residents chose to make an investment in the community, location was likely one of the deciding factors. And yes, we are a bedroom community for Seattle. That’s the charm.

No big buildings, the traffic isn’t all that awful and neighbors know, and help, neighbors.

There has to be a middle ground somewhere — a way for both sides to have their condos and live in them, too.

Perhaps the plans can be scaled back to fit in with Poulsbo Place residents believe is development better suited to this side of the water.

Or perhaps the residents can be a bit more open-minded and realize that, under the circumstances, CHB is trying to be repsonsible and respectful to both Poulsbo and them.

Either way, hopefully the outcome won’t affect the charm and atmosphere we know and affectionately refer to as “Poulsbo.”

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