Mile Hill annexation not slowed by UGA issue

Port Orchard’s City Council decided Tuesday to allow property owners to circulate an annexation petition, even though they may need to change the boundaries of the area to be annexed before the petitioners finish gathering signatures.

The city received a petition in July to annex 313 parcels totaling 237 acres adjacent to Mile Hill Drive. The land is zoned for Urban High-Intensity Commercial/Mixed use and is valued at $85.8 million.

The proposed annexation is within Port Orchard’s Urban Growth Area, which has been slated for annexation into the city since a 2006 update to the comprehensive plan.

But the state’s Growth Management Hearings Board recently ruled that Kitsap County should re-evaluate and shrink the UGA for Port Orchard, as well as several other cities in the county.

The county overextended the areas slated for annexation by cities during the 2006 update, according to the ruling, which is the latest in a string of appeals to the updates to the comprehensive plan.

Kitsap County and the City of Port Orchard defended the 2006 comprehensive plan, but in the end were unsuccessful.

Neither the city nor county have indicated what their next steps will be — or if they will cut into the Mile Hill Drive area slated for annexation.

So the proposed annexation area may need to change, once the signatures come back.

“Once the petitioners come back with the 60 percent, at that time could you modify the map,” city attorney Greg Jacoby said at Tuesday’s City Council meeting. “The only thing I would say, though, is ... I think it would be fairest to the public to make the modifciation now, before the petition is circulated.”

But the council voted 5-1, with Jim Colebank opposed, to let the petition circulate now, and deal with trimming back the boundaries later.

“Let them go forward and see what they can do,” Councilwoman Carolyn Powers said before the vote. “If it turns out that the hearings board puts the kibosh on it, then they’ve spent their time but ... if we don’t (approve the intent to petition) then everything just stops right now, and maybe it doesn’t need to stop."

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