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Would PO file a lawsuit?

Port Orchard Mayor Lary Coppola said Thursday that when the Port of Bremerton’s Board of Commissioners met in executive session Tuesday to discuss “threatened litigation,” it did not mean his city is planning to file a lawsuit over plans to have Bremerton annex the South Kitsap Industrial Area.

“There have been no threats issued by the city of Port Orchard,” Coppola said Thursday, explaining that a letter written by City Attorney Greg Jacoby to SKIA stakeholders — including the port commissioners and city of Bremerton officials — only sought to remind all parties of the Memorandum of Agreement they signed in 1998.

“All the letter does,” Coppola said, “is state our position.”

According to the letter, dated April 11, 2008, Jacoby describes the MOA as setting out “a logical framework for cooperative planning (for SKIA) ... (and) it is Port Orchard’s position that the 1998 MOA is a legally binding and enforceable agreement.”

“There’s no threat in that,” Coppola said, answering when asked directly if the city planned to sue: “No — not today.”

Coppola did not attend Tuesday’s meeting during which the port commissioners voted to begin the process of petitioning Bremerton to annex SKIA, but the the city was represented by Community Development Director James Weaver, who again urged the board to consider Coppola’s suggestion of governing the 3,400-acre Urban Growth Area jointly.

Port Commissioner Bill Mahan said he thought Coppola’s multi-juridictional idea was worth exploring and he wanted all of the stakeholders to continue working together, then suggested the board resolve to hold talks with both cities, the county and West Sound Utility District to discuss SKIA and its infrastructure.

The commissioners voted unanimously to hold those discussions.

“We are working to organize a meeting with all the interested parties right now,” Coppola said, adding that he expected a meeting might be scheduled as early as next week.

In the meantime, Coppola said Bremerton had two months to respond to the port’s annexation petition, and he appreciated that the process so far allowed “all of the information to come out about (the annexation).”

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