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Smaller UGAs proposed

Kitsap County is on the verge of approving new Urban Growth Area (UGA) boundaries for Port Orchard, Silverdale and Central Kitsap.

The boundaries for most of the UGAs will be smaller than those approved in 2006. Following a ruling by the Central Washington Growth Management Hearings Board, the county was forced to reconsider UGA sizes, urban densities and future growth.

In the proposed Port Orchard UGA, a substantial reduction of properties at the southern end toward Bielmeier Road, which has now been rolled up to just past Baker Road. In addition, a large chunk of the northeastern corner of the UGA was lopped off. In all, the Port Orchard UGA will shrink by about 22 percent.

The final public hearing on the UGA changes is set to begin at 5:30 p.m. Monday. County commissioners are then slated to deliberate on the plans beginning Wednesday. The county’s deadline for finalizing its comprehensive plan is Friday.

The county has held 55 public meetings and open houses in the past year dealing with UGAs. The new recommended boundaries are largely based upon where urban infrastructure, such as sewer service, could be affordably provided, where environmental impacts to critical areas and shorelines would be minimized and where existing suburban development in need of urban services was already located.

Following two public hearings, commissioners chose preferred alternative boundaries for the county’s eight UGAs. The final draft documents were released May 10 and included an analysis of impacts to critical areas, roads, police, fire and other services as well as the ability to provide public facilities such as sewer, water, parks and schools.

In Silverdale, which will be shrunk by about a third, a portion of the southern end of the UGA boundary that includes Chico Way, Eldoroado Hills and other vacant properties was taken out since the area’s sewer is nearly at capacity and a groundswell of people came forward opposing inclusion in the UGA. The area also has some steep slopes that cannot handle a lot of density.

The Central Kitsap UGA, meanwhile, which roughly runs from Waaga Way to Riddell Road, will shrink by about 13 percent.

“What you’re looking at is a lot of land with limited development capacity to start with,” said county planner Eric Baker.

A stretch of shoreline area along the east side of Dyes Inlet, including Barker Creek, has been removed due to how costly and difficult it would be to install sewers.

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