City Council will invite Port to discuss waterfront trail plan

The idea of combining the Port Orchard City Council’s waterfront trail plan with the Port of Bremerton’s plan to expand waterfront access east of Marina Park came up again at Tuesday night’s council work study session.

This time, council members decided to invite port commissioners to a meeting to discuss the plans before the next work study session Feb. 21.

City Development Director James Weaver noted that plans for a waterfront trail have been around since the 1980s, but “it’s been difficult to implement them.”

Councilman Jerry Childs has been a proponent of working with the port on a joint project because it would be a more efficient use of time, resources and available funds.

In other matters Tuesday night, the council:

• Discussed a petition from residents on Sage Court asking that on-street parking be allowed. The conclusion was that allowing on-street parking — or even allowing parking on the sidewalk — would not comply with requirements for adequate street width for access by fire trucks and other emergency vehicles.

A Sage Court resident asked if the sidewalks could be removed and the streets widened. But even if all property owners on the street agreed to give up some portion of their yards for a wider street, then the lot sizes would be smaller than the required minimum for the development, City Engineer Mark Dorsey said.

As for problems cited with garages not being large enough, adding to the need for more parking, Dorsey noted that “The city is not responsible for providing on-street parking for the (housing) developer.”

• Got an update on a program to offer help for low-income residents for whom the city’s higher water rates may be a financial hardship.

The city is developing a partnership with Kitsap Community Resources to offer a one-time waiver of the bimonthly water bill for low-income residents who are eligible for assistance through KCR and sign up with the nonprofit agency.

• Seemed disinclined to establish a parks commission for the city, at least until the city’s population warrants it.

The council discussed what might be done with money collected as impact fees from McCormick Woods housing developers, but which has not yet been spent on parks. The city is seeking grants to match the funds for parks.

• Discussed whether the city can or should do anything about parking spaces downtown on property owned by the Port of Bremerton, which are designated for overnight use by homeless people who sleep in their cars. The issue will be discussed with port commissioners if the joint meeting on Feb. 21 is arranged.

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