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Kitsap gives McCormick Woods development preliminary plat approval

One step in the long process of developing what is now called McCormick West was officially completed last week as Kitsap County’s Hearing Examiner gave the project preliminary plat approval.

“It’s good news,” said Doug Skrobut of McCormick Land Co., which partnered with Granite Land Co. to form GEM 1, LLC, the group building the development that may bring another 1,500 homes to the McCormick Woods area.

Now that the plat has preliminary approval, Skrobut said the next step is to wait for the appeal period to expire, then to begin work on the series of road and stormwater permits that are still needed.

“There’s always another permit to get,” he said, explaining that with all the steps required in the process and given the “downturn in the housing market, we’re not seeing homes being built there until 2010 or 2011.”

When they are built, Skrobut said it’s possible the development could mirror others in Lacey and Redmond that are designed as “active adult” communities.

“We think it would be a great fit, and we just need to find a builder that shares that vision,” he said, adding that the group has been waiting for traction in the approval process and tracking the housing industry before plowing forward.

“There’s so much uncertainty without the approval in hand, and there are many twists and turns to come,” he said. “There’s a lot of ground to cover.”

The preliminary plat approval was delayed earlier this year as both Kitsap County Fire Marshal David Lynam and South Kitsap Fore Chief Wayne Senter expressed concerns about certain aspects of the project.

After hearing testimony from Lynam and Senter about their concerns that the development did not include another access road nor provide land for a future fire station, Hearing Examiner Keith McGoffin put the decision on hold.

Senter said having “1.5” exits for such a large area was simply not adequate, and he requested that the plan include another access road, along with five acres set aside for a potential fire station.

By May, Lynam said the developers had agreed to address the fire officials’ concerns.

“There will be land provided for a fire station,” Lynam said, explaining that three acres the developers were originally going to be given to the county for a park/green space will be set aside for a fire station, and the fire district will be responsible for building the structure in the future, if and when they decide it is necessary.

As for the access, Lynam said the parties agreed on a third road that would be available only to emergency vehicles.

“We can open the gate automatically when we need to, and that way the developers do not have to redo their traffic planning,” he said.

Last Tuesday, the plan was approved.

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