Developers, SKFR nearing deal

A large development planned just west of McCormick Woods may be closer to reality after those hoping to build close to 1,500 new houses proposed changes requested by local fire officials last month.

At a public hearing before Kitsap County Hearing Examiner pro tem Keith McGoffin on March 27, both South Kitsap Fire and Rescue Chief Wayne Senter and Kitsap County Fire Marshal David Lynam testified about the McCormick West Master Plan, which proposes to build 1,432 single-family residences on 606 acres within the McCormick Urban Village.

However, at the time Senter said the plan was lacking two important elements — a third access road and provisions made for an additional fire station.

“If we do nothing, it will draw down our ability to serve everybody else,” Senter said. “Every new development should at least keep the (fire district’s) service at the same level, and not balance it on the backs of people in Olalla and the rest of South Kitsap.”

In addition to a lack of access roads, Senter requested that the developers set aside five acres for the potential building of an additional fire station.

“Nine to ten thousand people are going to be out there,” he said. “It is reasonable that they consider allocating some land for a future fire station.”

However, Senter said at the time the developers did not agree that such an allocation was necessary.

After listening to Senter and Fire Marshal Lynam’s concerns, the hearing examiner put approval of the plan on hold, leaving the record until last Thursday to allow fire officials and the developers, GEM 1, LLC — a partnership between the McCormick Land Co. and Granite Land Co — an opportunity to reach an agreement.

“The two conditions brought up by the (fire officials) were discussed extensively,” said Dennis Oost, a staff planner with the county’s Department of Community Development. “The plan would have been approved had it not been for the fire marshal’s concerns.”

At last week’s meeting of the SKFR’s board of commissioners, Senter said the developers made a proposal that went a long way toward assuaging the fire officials’ concerns.

“They offered a third access road that would be opened for emergency vehicles only, and they found a way to offer land to us that they had already offered to the county,” Senter said, explaining that while the land was only 1.5 acreas, the plot would probably be sufficient.

Planner Oost said Monday that the deadline set by the hearing examiner was last Thursday, but the parties involved asked for an extension of at least two, and perhaps four, weeks to give them more time to reach an agreement.

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