>Whale Report Update. Some additional information on the whale sighting on Wednesday.
The Orca was in the shallow end of the Marina not far from Illahee Road. We pulled over as did another truck behind us. It was just ‘hanging out’ and so close you could HEAR the spout as well as see it. No mistaking it was an Orca and it was all by itself. We figured the rest of the pod was around somewhere.
Illahee Community Plan Public Meeting. We have added about 20 email addresses to our Update list and so we are repeating that the Illahee Community Plan will have a public hearing before the County Commissioners on Monday evening, 11/24/08. This is a regularly scheduled Commissioner meeting and there is a full agenda that includes several public hearings so the meeting room will probably be full and it may be good to get there before the 7 pm starting time. When the public testimony is opened, there will likely be those presenting for and against the Plan. Comments are limited to 3 minutes. We are hoping for a good turnout from the community. If people don’t want to speak, they can turn in written comments. The deadline for written comments is normally a week after the public meeting.
Decision Will Be Later. The Commissioners will not make a decision at this meeting, but at a later meeting in December.
Location of Commissioner Meeting. The Commissioners’ Chambers are in the new County Administration Building which is across the street from the old court house. The chambers are to the right as you enter the front door of the building. The address is in the following linked Kitsap Sun article regarding the meeting.
Realtor Letter Response. In October the Kitsap County Realtor Board sent a letter to the Commissioners with concerns they had with the Illahee Community Plan. We obtained their letter from the county and included it in an Update on 10/15/08. The community was waiting for the county to respond, but likely because of limited staff time, no response was issued, so the earlier co-chairs of the Citizens Advisory Group responded. We have had residents ask when the response would be available for them to see, so we have provided it at the end of this email. (Note that the Realtors had a number of concerns so the response, though succinct, is lengthy.)
October 31, 2008
Board of County Commissioners
County Administration Building
614 Division Street
Port Orchard, WA 98366
Subject: Illahee Community Response to Realtor Board Letter of October 3, 2008
The following is a response to Kitsap County Association of Realtor’s Board letter dated October 3, 2008, from the co-chairs of the Illahee Community Plan efforts in 2006 and 2007. We have followed the letter’s numerical items with a brief restatement of their concern, followed by our response, and then a concluding comment.
Concern #1. “Need for this Sub-Area Plan.” The Realtor Board’s concern is that there are too many sub-area plans and extra rules and “there is no need for another sub-area plan with its own set of rules.”
Response. The GMA permits subarea plans and the county has endorsed subarea plans in the past. This is an issue that goes beyond the Illahee Community Plan, and to stop this Plan after three years of work is illogical. Such a decision would be tantamount to deciding to scrap a new house just before final inspection.
Conclusion. This is not the forum to discuss elimination of sub-area plans as a county-wide policy.
Concern #2. “Public Participation.” The concern was that there was limited opportunity for public participation.
Response. The Plan has been in the county wide news from its beginning with articles in the Kitsap Sun. It was discussed widely during the 2006 Comprehensive Plan Update as the community came before the Planning Commission and the County Commissioners with a draft Community Plan in July of 2006. An entire chapter (Chapter 17) of the 2006 Comprehensive Plan Update was devoted noting the Illahee Community including a map of its boundaries. In 2007 the Plan was part of a County Resolution for its completion as part of the Update in 2007, but was unable to complete because of the resignation of the County Planner and staff work load. The 2008 effort has had numerous articles of its progress published in the Kitsap Sun. Additionally, the Plan has been available on the Illahee community website since 2006. The Central Kitsap Community Council has been briefed in 2006 and 2007. The meetings have been open to all of the public and have included those outside the Illahee boundaries. As for opening up community plans to county-wide voting – this makes no sense. For instance, why would someone in Holly care about Illahee issues?
Conclusion. There were ample opportunities for public participation for nearly three years.
Concern #3. “Planning Area Boundary.” The concern appears to be “no rationale was presented to justify the planning area boundary …”
Response. The boundary discussion occurred early in 2006 and then again in 2008. As stated in the Plan, the CAG followed GMA and other guidelines, which were simple and listed in the writeup. We would agree that the explanation was brief and more rationale would likely have helped the Board better understand the establishment of the boundaries. The major guideline was to utilize any governmental or public jurisdiction boundaries, which explains the extension of the boundary to State Highway 303. The boundaries are essentially the boundaries of the Port of Illahee, with two “logical extensions” that again fit the guidelines that are to be followed.
Conclusion. The boundary rationale was presented and approved by the CAG in both 2006 and again in 2008, and represents the most logical and appropriate boundary delineation possible as provided for by GMA guidelines.
Concern #4. “Compliance with County-Wide Planning Policies.” The concerns center around the fact that the Plan does not mention the “County-wide Planning Policies adopted by Kitsap County Ordinance 403-2007 on November 19, 2007.” The specific concerns are discussed below.
General Response. The first draft of the Illahee Community Plan was completed in July 2006, nearly a year and a half before the Ordinance was adopted. Nevertheless, the Illahee Community Plan meets the requirements of Kitsap County Ordinance 403-2007, and specifically the Realtor Board items noted below.
Concern #4A. Subsection B.4.d discusses transfer of governance of areas to associated Urban Growth Areas through Urban Growth Area Management Agreements (UGAMAs) and the question is whether there is an agreement with Bremerton regarding the Illahee area.
Response. There is not an UGAMA between the County and the City of Bremerton regarding the Illahee area. In 2007 the County planner, with the City of Bremerton planner in attendance, coordinated and ran the Illahee Community Plan meetings, until such time as the County planner resigned. Throughout the entire process Bremerton city officials have been kept informed by the community and the County regarding all aspects of the Illahee Community Plan. The Community Plan concept aligns with Bremerton’s concept of community centers.
Conclusion. An UGAMA agreement has not been established for the Illahee community.
Concern #4B. The concern raised was there was no discussion regarding “Contiguous and Orderly Development.” Though not stated in their concern writeup, this element is to ensure the coordination of development regulations and standards between the county and cities and also regionally.
Response. The Illahee Community provides the City of Bremerton, Kitsap County, and the Suquamish Tribe email notices and updates on Illahee issues. Furthermore, the Illahee Community Plan’s matching the zoning and plans of the Wheaton Way corridor area with the City of Bremerton is a prime example of working for development that is orderly and contiguous. Additionally, besides monitoring local city and county issues, the Illahee Community is on the Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) mailing list and monitors inter-jurisdictional planning efforts regionally. To discuss and explain items such as “contiguous and orderly development” in a community plan is beyond what a community plan should contain.
Conclusion. The Illahee Community Plan’s Wheaton Way corridor zoning is an example inter-jurisdictional planning that documents the application of contiguous and orderly development, without trying to explain it.
Concern #4C. The concern appears to be that “Affordable Housing” was ignored and the Plan should have a “more substantive analysis.”
Response. Affordable housing, or below market rate housing, was discussed at great length during 2006 as the CAG looked at trying to balance zoning designations with the numbers of people being allocated to specific areas. The solution was to increase zoning densities in areas where the infrastructure and services were available. Higher density zoning was proposed along Trenton Avenue and Almira, with senior and low income high rise buildings proposed along Almira. Those decisions were affirmed again in 2008.
Conclusion. Below market rate housing was properly and adequately considered.
Concern #5. “Property Rights.” The concerns are with the wording of the private property rights statement and the “Community Tree Protection Standards.”
Response. The property rights statement used in the Plan was adopted early on from the 2002 Manchester Community Plan in order to use a statement that has gone through previous scrutiny. In retrospect, with the addition of view protection overlay in 2008, an additional sentence from the Manchester Plan could have been added to address the new overlay regulations, which read as follows: “New regulations included in the Plan allow the sensible development of land without inappropriate financial impacts.”
As for the tree protection section, there were some very strong feelings expressed on both sides during discussions in 2006 and 2007. The final decision was that this should be a voluntary decision by land owners whether they wanted to participate or not. A further inspection by the Realtor Board of the Plan will note the voluntary aspect of the program.
Conclusion. Illahee is comprised of many private property rights residents and the statement in this section is sufficient to ensure property rights are respected and protected.
Concern #6. “Natural Systems.” The concern is that too much space in the Plan is devoted to the natural features in light of the Critical Areas Ordinance that already covers these features. There is a concern that the Goals and Policies are redundant and not necessary. There is a concern that some policies are not policy and should therefore be in the text.
Response. This is one area where the community plan is doing what it is supposed to do, which is highlight the features of the community and the area. There are some unique features that deserve coverage over and above simply stating there are critical areas throughout much of Illahee. Illahee has many natural systems, resource lands, and critical areas that limit development and these areas need to be described in a community plan.
Deciding what specific policies should or should not be included is the decision of the CAG. Not everyone agrees with every aspect of a document of this size and we could discuss these items and, depending on who is in attendance, writeups could change. This is a case where it would have been helpful to have this input during the meetings, rather than afterward.
Conclusion. The abundance of natural features of Illahee are what make this area unique and worthy of special attention, which includes coverage in the Illahee Community Plan. Policy statement write-ups were prepared by the CAG and if problematic can be corrected during future updates.
Concern #7. “Transportation.” The concern is with duplication of Goal and Policy items that are in the County-wide Plan and that they should be removed.
Response. Not everyone in the Illahee community is familiar with County-wide Plans. As such there are duplications for the community. That is what the CAG wanted included in the Plan.
Conclusion. Duplication of Goals and Policies is appropriate in a community plan.
Concern #8. “Public Infrastructure.” The concern is that there is no discussion about capital improvement financing for infrastructure and how much will be spent by Kitsap County and the City of Bremerton.
Response. The future infrastructure plans for Illahee, specifically for sewers, are referenced. This issue has been a concern of some for years and has been discussed at various meetings. The community was told that there is generally insufficient density in the Illahee area for the county, or the city of Bremerton, which would be responsible for the areas to the south, for there to be a push for sewers in the near future unless new housing developments came on line. Community members met with both city and county engineers in 2006. County personnel worked with the CAG in 2008 to rework the chapter to suit current thinking and plans.
Conclusion. The discussion of capital improvement financing was not considered appropriate by the CAG or the County for inclusion into the Illahee Community Plan.
Final Comment. The Realtor Board had every opportunity to be involved with the Illahee Community Plan from the beginning in 2006 until fall of 2008, a nearly three year time frame. They had a chance to bring their concerns before a very interested and involved Planning Commission, but did not do so. The questions and concerns raised by the Realtor Board have logical and reasoned explanations and answers, which have been provided.
We, therefore, respectfully request the Board of County Commissioners approve the Illahee Community Plan.
Dennis Sheeran & Jim Aho