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City, Westbay Center reaches agreement

Red line shows the alignment of the Bay Street Pedestrian Pathway in Port Orchard. - Photo by City of Port Orchard
Red line shows the alignment of the Bay Street Pedestrian Pathway in Port Orchard.
— image credit: Photo by City of Port Orchard

A local property owner and the City reached an easement agreement for the Bay Street Pedestrian Pathway project.

During its final February meeting, Westbay Center owner Bob Hampton and the Council approved development and pedestrian access easement agreements that gives the City easement on Hampton’s shoreline property. In exchange for the 20-foot-wide waterfront parcel, Hampton received certain development rights vested under the City’s development guidelines and regulations.

City Attorney Greg Jacoby said in the two easements were part of the development agreement, but that the pedestrian pathway was separate from the development agreement.

“It made sense to separate the two because of the purpose of state and federal funding, that the pedestrian easement stand on its own,” Jacoby said.

He said the development agreement specifies development conditions and terms that will govern the property for the term of the agreement.

Jacoby said the beach access was donated by Hampton to the City.

The pathway project is a 3-mile paved pathway along the shoreline from the Waterfront Park to Annapolis. Currently under construction is the first portion of the pathway in the downtown area.

Once completed, it will become part of the Mosquito Fleet Trail which will connect Kingston to Southworth along the eastern shore of Kitsap County.

City officials are working on gaining easements from other property owners along the pathway project.

There were no comments during the public hearing on the development and public access easements that was held before Council approved the contracts to be signed by the mayor.

Several other contracts concerning the Bay Street Pedestrian Pathway project, which is currently under way, were also approved by Council.

Hampton said Councilman John Clauson approached him five years ago about the pathway easement.

“This was a process where everybody conducted themselves with integrity and transparency, with a real shared vision and a partnership of what this can become,” Hampton said. “I’m glad I could be a part of this and I think it’s tremendous for the City. I think it’s vital to the potential this town has.”

Hampton, who moved to Port Orchard in 1990, urged other property owners to help make the pathway project.

Councilman Jerry Childs said what Hampton did is important.

“The example to other property owners of being a good citizen and caring about the future of the town and not just the business is a great example for others to see and hopefully help,” Childs said.

He told Hampton is example was “perfect to take us forward in launching our efforts.”

The Council also approved construction of the DeKalb Street Pier Phase I improvements and construction of Segment No. 5 of the pedestrian pathway.

Councilwoman Carolyn Powers praised the work of all the projects.

“Thanks to previous mayors and councils, a lot of time, effort and vision has been spent to all these projects,” Powers said.

She said getting the easement at Westbay Center took a long time.

“We have hard-working staff, council people, past and present, mayors with vision, and now all the sudden all these things are coming to fruition,” Powers added.

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