Opinion

Planning, liveaboards and the American Spirit’s return | The Scuttlebutt

By STEPHEN L. SWANN

Spring brings flowers and boaters to Poulsbo. Several smaller yacht clubs visited the port in March. For example, the Bellevue Yacht Club brought 12 vessels for weekend moorage a couple of weeks ago. However, better weather is coming. (Rumor has it that Poulsbo’s mayor consulted in the filming of the new movie “Noah.”) Our executive director’s predictions for April suggest doubling of boats in guest moorage at the Marina.

PORT COMPREHENSIVE SCHEME (PLAN). Readers of The Scuttlebutt may recall that the port has undertaken a substantial revision of its Comprehensive Plan. To date, two public hearings have been advertised and well-attended by marina tenants and others. The plan is posted on the port’s newly revised website, www.portofpoulsbo.com.

In addition to revealing the port’s goals and plans, the Comprehensive Scheme is a key tool in obtaining grants and other funding for capital improvements. (Remember the $12 million breakwater replacement?) In recent days, the port has received from the city’s Planning Department written comments invaluable in the drafting process. The draft plan and comments thereto will be again discussed at the next port meeting (rescheduled to April 10). We encourage attendance by Port District residents at our bi-monthly meetings, which begin at 7 p.m. in the port’s floating conference room on E Dock (across from the office).

OLD FIRE STATION/CITY HALL PROJECT. Although the three-month option agreement between the city and the port has expired, the port’s interest continues. This agreement created a three-month window permitting the port to undertake its due diligence investigation of available real estate in the area, including the city’s old fire station/city hall building.

Consultants to the port have, at minimal expense, explored planning grants to fund this costly inquiry, and are optimistic. Negotiations are under way between the city and the port for the necessary extension of this option, which must be in place before the port incurs additional investigative expense.

One of the ideas includes development of a downtown hotel and multi-level parking garage, near the port’s lot on Jensen Way.

EXPANSION OF LIVEABOARDS IN MARINA. As readers of the North Kitsap Herald know, interest in increasing the number of vessels in the marina entitled to live-aboard status continues to grow. Tenant boaters desiring to spend vacation time aboard their vessels have repeatedly asked the port to expand from 12, the current liveaboard ceiling, to 36 slips dedicated to live-aboard status.

Currently, the city limits through its conditional use permit the number of liveaboards to only 12 boats. Washington state law regulates residential use of aquatic lands as an environmental consideration, and generally limits liveaboard tenancies to 10 percent of the total of slips in the marina. The greatest obstacle to expansion is the limited parking on Anderson Parkway.

To minimize this problem, the port is debating offering free parking at its Jensen Way lot to merchants and their employees, and to residents of the Port District.

The good news? The city and the port are working together diligently to reach a solution. Marina live-aboards are good customers for Poulsbo merchants, and sales tax revenues are vital to the city. With increased pumpout facilities provided by the port, and a modern, nearby parking lot with more than 50 spaces, the outdated, 12-slip limitation is unnecessarily restrictive. Additionally, with next year’s new Kitsap Transit Poulsbo route — Olympic College, Olhava, Poulsbo Village, the Port  of Poulsbo and the downtown historic district (orchestrated by City Hall) — shopping and dining by marina tenants and port visitors will be much more convenient.

RETURN OF THE M/V AMERICAN SPIRIT. “Team Cruise” has met at City Hall to plan for the tour boat visits to Liberty Bay, and we are ready.

The M/V American Spirit arrives Friday morning, on April 18, to start the 2014 season.

Twenty visits are planned by American Cruise Lines, which is based in Guilford, Conn. This small, upscale passenger ship will arrive around 8:30 a.m. (0830 for real sailors) and anchor just off Oyster Plant Park and Liberty Bay Marina. Passengers will travel to the historic district for a half-day in Poulsbo before heading to Seattle, the final port of call for these seven- day trips.

If you see a visitor in Poulsbo on these Friday mornings, give a hearty “Hello” or “Velkommen.”

FREE PUBS. Each month, two entertaining and informative publications are delivered to the port for free distribution to the public. “48 North, the Sailing Magazine,” and “Northwest Yachting,” emphasizing power boating, are available from the sliding window on the marina side of the bathhouse (near the ramp to the docks). Each reports boating events scheduled throughout the Northwest, and discusses issues of interest to the boating community. And, as previously noted, they are free.

PORT EMAIL LIST. The port’s email list permits the port manager and staff to efficiently contact tenants, visitors and Port District residents. If you would like to be on our contact list, please send your name, contact information, and email address to manager@portofpoulsbo.com.

PORT QUIZ: Still wondering about last month’s quiz? A “long shot” is an event requiring quite a bit of luck; it often relates to risk in gambling. Accuracy of shipboard guns on sailing ships was questionable beyond close quarters battles. Only a lucky shot fired at a distant target would be successful.

OK, here’s an easy one. The “log book” has been around for centuries. From where did this term come? Send your best guess to commissioner.swann@portofpoulsbo.com. The first responder with the correct answer will be recognized in The Scuttlebutt’s next issue.

Got a naval term to offer? Let us know.

PORT INVITATION. The commissioners, employees, tenants and guests of the Port of Poulsbo (www.portofpoulsbo.com), one of 75 Washington state ports, wish you a safe visit to Poulsbo’s spectacular Waterfront Park, and a safe transit on Liberty Bay. Bring your friends and families down to the port’s marina and greet our staff and visiting boaters on E and F docks. (Watch us by webcam at www.siteground315.com/~longship/.)

Also, port commissioners meet twice monthly to talk with district residents, marina tenants, and others from the community. Mark your calendar for the first and third Thursdays, 1900 (7 p.m.), and come down to the port’s multi-purpose conference room to find out what’s going in the Poulsbo Port District.

— Stephen L. Swann is a Poulsbo port commissioner. Contact him at commissioner.swann@portofpoulsbo.com

 

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