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County wants input on comp plan revisions

"Anyone who cares about how their neighborhood, its design and atmosphere could look and feel like over the next five to 10 years, is being encouraged to weigh in on Kitsap County’s Comprehensive Plan revision process.County officials expect to begin accepting applications from citizens and neighborhood groups and other interested parties to amend the comprehensive plan starting April 15 and continuing through June 15. That 60-day public input cycle won’t get kick-started until county commissioners approve the time line, which they expect to do in the first week of April.It sounds like heady stuff, but there isn’t too much to amending the comprehensive plan, says Robert Alire, an urban planner with the Kitsap County Department of Community Development.“The comprehensive plan is a dynamic plan not set in stone,” said Alire, charged with crafting a palatable amendment application packet for interested Kitsap citizens to peruse and, perhaps, use. Alire expects the application packet to be ready for constituents sometime around April 10. “The comprehensive plan is everybody’s guide of how Kitsap County will develop, and any individual (or group) has the ability to point to possible improvements or changes to it,” he said. Approved in 1998, the Kitsap County Comprehensive Plan by state law must still undergo review and possible amendments by September 2002, says Alire. Thereafter, the state Growth Management Act directs county governments to complete the same review process every five years.Already, several amendments have been proposed by county staff members that mainly clean up outdated text or seek to add information about current happenings, such as the countywide burn ban in Urban Growth Areas.Now, Alire says, it’s up to other citizens to propose amendments, changes, or revisions so that the comprehensive plan makes sense for them.To submit particular applications, citizens must pay a fee based on the amount of time a staff member would be expected to review the document and how many county resources would be employed during the review and analysis process.The fees can be steep, ranging from $50 to $2,750, depending on the specifics of the proposed amendment.Community groups or citizens who don’t have that much dough to complete and submit an application, can always argue their case before the Kitsap County Commissioners. That way, it’s possible for the commissioners to direct county staff to offer internal amendments to the comprehensive plan. Possible, but not necessarily a done deal.In any case, once county staff members sift through 60 days worth of amendment applications, they will be sorted and studies of them completed. County staff then plan to submit recommendations to the Kitsap County Planning Commission members who, in turn, will present recommendations to the Kitsap County Commissioners. Citizens should also expect a series of public hearings.Informally, Alire said staff members hope to complete that application review task by Sept. 30, so the county commissioners will have plenty of time to consider amendments and enact them before the end of the year. "

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