>Results of Wed Annexation Meeting 2-24-11

>Good Attendance.  Considering the prediction of snow, it was good to see the chairs filled at the Illahee Community meeting on Wednesday (2/23/11), and to realize the 12 signs placed throughout the community continue to inform residents who are not on Illahee’s email lists.  


Thanks to Eric Baker.  The community needs to especially thank Eric Baker, Kitsap County Special Projects Manager, for his knowledgeable and forthright presentation on the issues of the Growth Management Act (GMA), Urban Growth Areas (UGAs), Annexation, and various other related topics.  Eric arrived before 6 pm and the questions finally were stopped at 7:30 pm so Eric could depart and residents could decide what direction they wanted to go with the two submitted resolutions.

Timely Decision Needed.  When a question was asked when a resolution to the county need to be submitted, Eric responded that it needed to be submitted by Monday, February 28, 2011, for it to get on the county’s docket and be considered this year.  

Request to be Removed from the UGA Deleted.  Based on the presentation and resulting discussions the community realized they could not be removed from the UGA,  and that part of the resolution was eventually deleted.  Eric stated that the Growth Management Hearings Board (GMHB) has been clear that Rural densities can only go down to 1 dwelling unit per 5 acres, and Illahee clearly does not fit that definition of a rural zoning density.  

Greenbelt Zoning Urban?  Eric said that Illahee’s Greenbelt zoning density of 1-4 dwelling units per acre (or dua)  is an ‘urban’ density even though the community has argued for years that the natural features, or critical areas in Illahee, do not support the higher zoning densities of 5-9 dua which were put in place in 1998 and still remain in some parts of Illahee.  Some in the community felt the 1-4 dwelling units per acre was a more rural type of zoning, evidently remembering that for years Illahee was zoned ‘semi-rural’, that was until the Growth Management Act changed things.

Illahee Cannot Be Removed From the UGA!  The bottom line for this part of the discussion was that Illahee cannot be removed from the Urban Growth Area because it already has urban densities, whether they are Greenbelt or the higher densities of 5-9 dua.  This was a big disappointment for a number of attendees.

What Can Be Done?  No one knows what can actually be done and what is possible unless a request is made to Kitsap County.  

Request to County.  What was decided is to submit a request to the county to “Establish Illahee (or portions thereof) as a Greenbelt.”  We received a copy of the resolution late this afternoon and have attached it – the link is below this paragraph.  It was signed and submitted to Kitsap County on Thursday (2/24/11) afternoon.


Annexation Discussions.  Just some brief comments regarding the annexation discussions.  Annexations normally require providing urban level services, but there is little money available to do so at the county or the cities, so they are dependent on developers.  Annexation also depends on whether you are Tier 1 (population density and services), Tier 2 (density or services), or Tier 3 (open land).  Most of Illahee has low density and few services, so it would not be a top priority for annexation.

Annexation Methods.  Eric presented the various annexation methods, none of which seem threatening to Illahee at this time.  

Bremerton’s Annexation Plan?  Eric suggested we talk with the City of Bremerton’s Planning Department head to see how they view the Illahee area that is in the East Bremerton UGA.

Interesting Comment Heard.  We heard the following comment at the meeting that we found fascinating, though we are probably not quoting it exactly:  The Illahee Greenbelt zoning density of 1-4 dwellings per acre is one that has been supported by both the property rights residents and the environmentalists in Illahee as it allows either septic systems or sewers and is a density both groups seem to be able to live with.

Daffodils.  We promised we would photograph the first daffodils we saw last week and decided to put in another shot of the first flowers we saw, though this time with some snow around them.


High Tides.  The supposedly high tides this week were not excessively high.  We have attached a couple of pictures showing the tide at its highest on Tuesday.



Other Comments on the Meeting?  Please let us and others know your thoughts regarding Wednesday’s meeting by commenting on our website http://illaheecommunity.blogspot.com/, or on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/Illahee?ref=ts.  This update will be posted within 24 hours of it being sent out.

Jim Aho

>High Tides&Annexation Issues – 2-17-11

>Weekend High Tides.  This is the second round of high tides this year with the next 5 days being 13.0 and above.  The times are early in the morning beginning on Friday (2/18) at 5:15 am, Saturday (2/19) at 5:44 am, Sunday (2/20) at 6:16 am, Monday (2/21) at 6:49 am, and Tuesday (2/22) at 7:25 am, so there may not be much daylight until Monday and Tuesday.  We are getting our information from the tide chart put out by the shipyard for Bremerton, Sinclair Inlet, and Port Orchard so what we actually observe in Illahee could be a few minutes off. 


Two Annexation Positions.  We understand there are two draft resolutions floating around regarding ANNEXATION worries.  This is a subject that has been discussed by a number of board members and there appear to be two different positions:  (1) Annexation is a threat and a concern that needs to be addressed now, and (2) Annexation is not a threat so why waste  your time on the issue.

Annexation Discussion at Illahee Meeting.  We found out today that ANNEXATION discussions will be the primary topic for the Illahee Community meeting on Feb 23rd at the Library beginning at 6:15 pm.  Evidently there are enough questions regarding the issues that some expert responses are needed to decide which side is right.

County Expert to Speak.  Eric Baker is the county’s Special Projects Manager for the Kitsap County Commissioners and is one of the most knowledgeable experts at the county with respect to the Growth Management Act (GMA), the various Urban Growth Areas (UGA), and the issues related to annexation.  Josh Brown, our County Commissioner, has asked Eric to attend our February 23rd meeting to discuss these issues and to try and answer any questions we might have.

Two Draft Resolutions.  We have been asked to send out the two draft resolution documents as “Discussion Papers.”  We normally try to keep these Updates rather brief so we have decided to include them both as a file attachment – please click on the links.

Discussion Paper Option 1 Summary.  The first discussion paper is a one page resolution entitled “Resolution to Remove Illahee from the Urban Growth Area (UGA)” and basically states that Illahee is “…primarily natural resource lands, geological features, and recreational lands that greatly impede urban levels of development and supporting infrastructure..” and therefor not suitable for the higher density development levels for UGAs.  It references the various reasons Illahee should be excluded from the UGA and requests the current Illahee Greenbelt zoning (1-4 dwelling units per acre) be applied to the entire community.   DISCUSSION PAPER OPTION 1 LINK

Discussion Paper Option 2 Summary.  This discussion paper is very similar to Option 1, but is a two page resolution entitled “Resolution to Establish Illahee (or portions thereof) as a Greenbelt, and A Request for the Greenbelt to be Removed from the Urban Growth Area.”  This paper presents many of the same arguments of Option 1, but rather than requesting all of Illahee be designated as Illahee Greenbelt, requests only those areas “… where urban zoning is inappropriate, including the shoreline uplands north of the current Illahee Greenbelt.”  The paper notes that “…. Illahee has shoreline areas mostly in a natural state that have an incompatible upland urban zoning of 5-9 dwelling units per acre.”   DISCUSSION PAPER OPTION 2 LINK

Our Thoughts.  We are intrigued the greenbelt issue is in both options and have heard greenbelts have been used by other counties to protect critical and environmentally sensitive areas.  We don’t know whether having a greenbelt classification is enough of a justification to remove it from an urban growth area.  On the other hand, since greenbelts do not support urban levels of growth, it makes sense to removed them from the urban growth area.

Your Thoughts.  We have been asked to put the two discussion paper options out for your consideration and to help facilitate discussions at the community meeting next Wednesday.  We would also like to know your thoughts, which you can send to us, or respond to the Illahee Community blogsite, or on Facebook.

Jim Aho

>High Tides, Port Comments,&Annexation Proposal? – 1-26-11

>High Tide Responses.  We receive some interesting comments regarding the supposedly high tides this past weekend. 


Walking On Water?  “One time, shortly after WWII, the tide was just above the decking on the Illahee Community dock and when we walked out to the end, it appeared we were able to walk on water.”  We attached a photo of the high tide on Monday, which was a 13.6 foot tide, to give you an idea that a tide that would cover the decking would need to be at least 3 feet higher than it was on Monday.

Rue Villa Resident Comment.  “Yes, High tides?, not very high. I began thinking the forecasters got everything wrong. In our 44 years here at Rue Villa we’ve had much higher. Weather conditions were fairly mild though.”

Highest Recorded Tide at Brownsville.  This data link specifies the maximum observed tide at Brownsville of 14.19 feet in 1980!  http://www.nws.usace.army.mil/PublicMenu/Documents/Reg/applications/tides/np/np66.cfm

Corps Salvage Vessel.  The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has a salvage vessel that retrieves debris in the Sound waterways, and was out on Monday in front of Illahee.  Their logo can be seen under the name PUGET.  We happened to see it and snapped the attached photos.  It had just picked up a 55 gallon barrel with a 2×6 frame that was evidently part of somebody’s float.  A little while later it picked up a log just past Illahee State Park.  The debris is placed on the center deck where the barrel and logs can be seen.



Monday’s Port Article.  Sunday’s Kitsap Sun feature was on the 12 Kitsap County Port Districts and discussed a proposal that they be consolidated.  On Monday they presented the Port of Bellingham, where consolidation has already taken place.  We thought these articles would have generated numerous responses to their website comment section, but they didn’t and we are wondering if it was because many of the normal commenters were following the Walmart shooting.  The link to the Monday article is:  http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2011/jan/23/countywide-bellingham-gets-more-bang-for-its/


Port Comments.  While we received verbal comments to the Sun’s Port articles, we received only two emails, which follow:
If you loose the small community ports the community bond will be stripped.
 
If Bremerton Port is such a great port why does it need tax revenue or even the possible combined revenues of the Kitsap county small ports. It should be generating free cash with banks lining up to inject money into their ventures. That little bit of venting released, I truly wish Bremerton nothing but the best but do not compare Bremerton with the small community ports. I appreciate what Bremerton has done but Bremerton is about jobs and revenue as the small ports are all about the community.
 
Brownsville is fortunate to have been able to develope its port and being so well established is more or less assured a future as a community while other ports have little more to offer than a priceless scenic view.
 
It goes that proposed consolidation is nothing but future elimination of small ports and capture of revenues. The best the future could hold for small ports is a ramp as docks would be deemed to be too expensive to maintain with chains and chain link fencing. Small ports would have to go beg with strong community backing for each morsel of funding. As there would no longer be port commissioners the chance of obtaining anything for the community would be remote.
 
Loss of a port would pull the revenue and much of the voice out of the small communities and then the eventual loss of a community identity. The identity of Kitsap County has been built up around the developments of the small ports.
 
We need to see the small ports as a positive feature of Kitsap County.
Well, after reading the articles, I continued my confidence in our port commissioners and increased my pride in their performance.
 
I just have no words to describe how foolish I would consider any prospect of merging with any of the listed districts.
 
It does seem to me that the Port of Bremerton (which, I think has the highest rate of assessment) could annex some of the East Bremerton land previously held by the Navy and, for that matter I would think that Bainbridge would be an attractive addition to their scope.  If I lived there, I would be really interested in establishing a separate district to preclude annexation by Bremerton.

Annexation Proposal?  We read in the Kitsap Sun on Wednesday (1/26/11) the county is evidently proposing that cities annex nearby communities in order relieve the county of infrastructure costs.  This has the potential to directly affect Illahee.  The attached link provides more details. 

Kitsap County wants most urban areas annexed into cities within five years.

http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2011/jan/25/kitsap-county-wants-most-urban-areas-annexed/


KRCC Proposal.  We just read some of the Kitsap Regional Coordinating Council’s proposal and it appears to be the case.  The link to this document is:  http://www.kitsapregionalcouncil.org/library/D%20-%20Countywide%20Policies/Dec%202010%20Proposed%20CPP%20Changes%20for%20Public%20Comment.pdf

Public Hearing Thursday Evening.  There will be a public hearing on Thursday (1/27/11) evening at 5 pm at the Norm Dicks Center.  We copied and pasted the following information from their website.
Proposed Revisions
to the Kitsap Countywide Planning Policy are available
for Public Comment until
January 28th, 2011.
Public Hearing:
January 27th, 2011
5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Norm Dicks Government Center
,Main Meeting Chambers, 345 6th Street, Bremerton, WA.
Send Public Comment to:
Vicky@KitsapRegionalCouncil.org
or mail to KRCC office (see far left panel for address).

Our Initial Comments.  In our quick read through their proposed revised policy document we have the following initial comments:

1.  There is no discussion of Subarea plans such as Illahee’s, and what the impacts would be with the adoption of this policy.
2.  It sounds like communities such as Illahee would be given an opportunity to either incorporate or be annexed.
3.  When Illahee’s Subarea plan was going through the adoption process, we were told to remove all the commercial corridor along SR 303.
4.  Illahee is then left with mostly park land, open space, critical areas and a greenbelt, which isn’t enticing for any city to want to annex, but according to this policy, they wouldn’t have a choice.
5.  We are somewhat removed from Silverdale, should/when it becomes a city, so it seems we are likely in Bremerton’s projected future annexation boundary.
6.  When asked by Illahee residents several years ago whether they wanted to be part of Bremerton or Silverdale or create their own Subarea plan, the results were 2%, 6%, & 92%.
7.  There is a statement that “adjustments” can be made to the Urban Growth Areas (Section B.3.k).  
8.  Does this mean the Illahee could propose to be removed from the UGA?
9.  Do we ask these questions at the public hearing, and/or do we discuss these at the next Illahee Community meeting?

Let Us Know Your Thoughts.  Let us know how you feel about these possible annexation issues that are suddenly before us again.

Attend Thursday’s Meeting?  More importantly, it may be better to attend Thursday’s public meeting at the Norm Dicks Center, or send your comments in by Friday.  

Jim Aho