Another hearing for Manchester Development

Developers hoping to build a three-story, mixed-use development in Manchester will once again face a hearing examiner for approval, the Kitsap County Commissioners decided on Monday.

Owners of the Family Inn at Manchester, Doug and Cerissa Holme, appealed the approval of a proposed development, The Colchester Commons, owned by Y. Van Tran of Seattle and represented by William Palmer of Port Orchard, at the southeast corner of Main Street and Colchester Drive in Manchester.

Bill Broughton, a representative for the Holmeses, argued the proposed building is not harmonious with the surrounding buildings and one already-approved but not-yet-built development in the downtown core of Manchester, The Anchors.

The Manchester Community Plan states that developments should compliment the surrounding areas.

The Anchors, built by the Hoppett Co., will be campus-style with multiple buildings of varied shape and architecture.

By comparison, Doug Holme called the Colchester commons a Motel 6 because he finds it large and boxy.

“This project is incredibly dense,” Broughton said, calling the development a “monstrosity.”

“There’s no way both of (the developments) can be consistent with the Manchester Community Plan,” he said.

Additionally, Broughton explained that a proposed open space, or plaza, in the development should be considered commercial space, especially because the space is covered by upper-floor apartments and only yields eight feet horizontally.

Bill Lynn, a representative for the Colchester Commons, countered that the building followed regulations already approved by the commissioners and said they could not make decisions based on new regulations.

“There just is no basis that this board, even if you wanted to, can apply a two-story limitation,” Lynn said. “Your code has one restriction in it — 35 feet.”

Commissioner Jan Angel appeared to agree with the Holmes, explaining that she could not see the comparison between the Colchester Commons and the Anchors.

“I don’t see it,” Angel said. “I just cannot see how these two are going to jive.”

Central Kitsap Commissioner Josh Brown also supported the complaint regarding the proposed plaza, citing a letter from Bill Palmer explaining the intent to later turn the open space into commercial or office space.

“I don’t appreciate those kind of games,” Commissioner Chris Endresen said.

Endresen expressed her appreciation for the hearing examiner who handled this application, Stephen Causseaux, Jr. She said he typically did great work, but in this case he struck out.

The commissioners decided to send it back to the hearing examiner to look at some specific issues, including the rural character of manchester, the intent of the Manchester Community Plan, the definition of courtyard and open space and the comparison between the Colchester Commons and the Anchors.

Broughton and the Holmeses left the meeting satisfied with the decision.

“It’s what we wanted,” Broughton said.

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