Assessor approves McCormick Woods annexation

The Kitsap County Assessor’s Office on March 20 certified 595 petitions from McCormick Woods property owners, paving the way for the subdivision’s annexation into the city of Port Orchard.

“This may well be the largest annexation effort in all of city of Port Orchard history,” said Port Orchard Development Director James Weaver. “The city staff looks forward to the exciting opportunity to provide exceptional service to our new citizens and the wonderful community that is McCormick Woods.”

“This whole process has been a smooth one,” said Kitsap County Special Projects Director Eric Baker. “It is an example of how an annexation should be conducted.”

The process requires two public hearings to be incorporated into the regular Port Orchard City Council meetings. One of those took place on Tuesday and the second is scheduled on May 12.

These meetings are intended to collect public testimony, in case anyone has an issue that has not been properly addressed.

Still, any testimony taken at the May 12 meeting will probably not change the direction of the process, since the matter is slated for final approval at the same time.

Between the two public hearings the issue will be addressed by the Port Orchard Planning Commission at its regular April 20 meeting. After the presumed May 12 ratification, it will appear before the Boundary Review Board on both the June and July agenda.

The annexation received support from 75 percent of the property owners, with another 11 percent (which belongs to the McCormick Land Co.) expressing tacit approval.

Of the remainder, no organized opposition has emerged.

During the petition drive, there were two choices — to support or to abstain. As for the latter category, there was no differentiation between those against the idea and those who had no opinion.

No members of the public appeared at Tuesday’s meeting aside from Annexation Committee Chairman Dick Davis, who gave perhaps the shortest speech he has delivered during the entire process.

“The committee has worked tirelessly to make this happen and we look forward to becoming part of the community of Port Orchard,” he said.

Weaver said the typical annexation process is approximately six months, but both city and county staff are working diligently to expedite that process as much as possible and hope to submit for Boundary Review Board consideration, and if all goes well, to have a decision from the Boundary Review Board, completing annexation as soon as July 2009.

The most optimistic schedule the candidate filing deadline by about a month, making it impossible for a McCormick Woods resident to run for any of the three city council seats that are open this year.

In order to place one of their own in elected city government, residents will need to wait until 2011 when four council seats and the office of the mayor is up for grabs.

Even if McCormick Woods residents cannot run for office until after the annexation is complete, they will be able to participate in government on a volunteer basis.

“While we cannot field a candidate in the next election cycle we will still be able to vote and can begin to make our voice heard in the civic life of Port Orchard,” Davis said. “We have asked the city to provide us a list of all of the boards, commissions, study groups and other activities that we would be eligible to populate.”

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