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Manchester plan process under scrutiny

Manchester residents who gathered on Tuesday for one of the last meetings before the area’s Community Plan is handed off to the Kitsap County commissioners seemed more interested in the process than building heights and design standards.

The attendees responded, either against or in solidarity with, comments made by Lary Coppola, Kitsap County Planning Commission member and candidate for mayor of Port Orchard, who said proper notice was not given for the process of developing the plan.

“I never received any notification, any postcards or anything,” Coppola said in response to comments from Manchester resident Carrilu Thompson. “If it wasn’t for my participation on this board, I would not have known about it.”

Several Manchester residents present, including Linda Jacobs, agreed.

“I just don’t believe that people don’t want Manchester to be a viable place where you want to live, where you can get a quart of milk,” Jacobs said. “I just feel this has been rammed through.”

Two mailings went out to Manchester residents encouraging them to take part in the process, but Coppola said he never received anything.

Thompson said the group has made every effort to reach the public, including holding a booth at the Father’s Day Salmon Bake, and said questioning the ethics of the process was “a slam against” those who have been involved.

Ray Pardo also disagreed with Coppola’s assessment.

“If you didn’t know what was going on in this town, you weren’t in Manchester for the last nine months,” Pardo said.

Coppola replied that he had not been in Manchester, having changed his official residence to Port Orchard in order to campaign for mayor.

In addition to the discussion over process, residents and developers also echoed their sentiments over the plan, which limits mixed-use developments in Manchester to 28 feet.

“I think what we’ve got is a very viable, very good plan,” Manchester resident Carol Leininger said. “I think what we’ve done is good for the community.”

Planning and design consultant, William Palmer, who has worked on the controversial three-story Colchester Commons, argued again for a flat height limit without limitations on the number of stories.

“I think it ought to be 35 feet across the board,” Palmer said.

It was the last meeting to take in-person public comment, but anyone wishing to weigh in on this document before it goes to the Kitsap County Commissioners can e-mail Katrina Knutson at kknutson@co.kitsap.wa.us by October 31.

The Planning Commission will meet again on Nov. 13 at 9 a.m. to discuss the plan.

Visit www.kitsapgov.com/dcd and click on “Kitsap County Sub-Area Plans” on the lower portion of the page.

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