Council delays McCormick East annexation vote

The annexation area includes two large parcels and 10 smaller ones.   - Courtesy graphic
The annexation area includes two large parcels and 10 smaller ones.
— image credit: Courtesy graphic

Port Orchard’s next growth spurt could add more than 100 acres to its ever-increasing profile.

But whether or not that happens will likely depend on 10 smaller but considerably more valuable parcels.

The city council on Tuesday night voted unanimously to postpone its decision on a petition for annexation from the owners of two parcels situated just west of Glenwood Road SW and north and south of McCormick Woods Drive SW in currently unincorporated Kitsap County.

The parcels are within the city of Port Orchard’s recognized Urban Growth Area and have a county Comprehensive Plan designation of Urban Low-Density Residential.

The land’s owner is listed GEM 1 LLC, and the annexation petition was signed by Doug Skrobut, president of the McCormick Land Co., which developed the McCormick Woods community the city annexed last year.

GEM 1 was formed as a partnership between McCormick Land Co. and Granite Land Co. to develop additional home sites.

The property in question is classified as forest land, and state law allows 20 or more contiguous acres primarily used for growing and harvesting timber to be assessed for tax collection purposes based on that usage.

In Kitsap County, forest land assessed values are substantially reduced for the program and average about $125 an acre.

Consequently, the property’s value is listed on the annexation petition as only $12,640.

In addition to the two major parcels, however, the Urban Growth Area designated as McCormick East also includes 10 other unincorporated parcels, including one on which sits a South Kitsap Fire and Rescue substation.

Seven of the parcels are developed for single-family residential use.

The 10 parcels not owned by GEM 1 were included in the McCormick East annexation area described in the city’s 2009 Planning Department map setting forth all areas of potential annexation.

Rather than treat the parcels separately, necessitating more than one annexation process, Port Orchard Development Director James Weaver advised the council to geographically modify the proposed McCormick East annexation to include the 10 parcels, encompassing an additional 12 acres.

“The main reason for this,” Weaver said, “is because the (Kitsap County) Boundary Review Board could decide to reject the annexation because it doesn’t have logical borders.”

Weaver also noted the revised petition required “political sensitivity in the sense that the valuation of the houses is so high compared to the value of the forest land.

“Essentially,” Weaver said, “the houses become the majority decision-makers.”

By law, once a petition is accepted, interested parties have six months to seek the approval of the owners of 60 percent of the affected property before the annexation can be approved.

Skrobut said he was skeptical of passing a revised petition that required the approval of 10 other property owners because he wasn’t sure how they felt about annexation and worried that finding out could be a lengthy process.

“When you’re dealing with nine homeowners, there are about 22 possible outcomes,” he said. “And what should have been a two-week process takes six months.”

Councilman John Clauson, however, suggested city staff could conduct a straw poll of the 10 property owners before the council’s next scheduled meeting on Oct. 8.

“If they seem agreeable,” he said, “we can simply submit a revised petition that includes all of the properties. If not, we can submit the original petition and take our chances with the Boundary Review Board.”

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