Endresen says real concerns lie behind objections

Kitsap County Commissioner Chris Endresen said her controversial remarks at the July 10 county work study session were merely an attempt to save the county from excessive spending and potential lawsuits.

Endresen provoked shocked reactions from many officials when, at the study session, she announced she could not support an existing agreement between the county and Port Orchard — an agreement which outlined the next step of planning in two areas surrounding the city.

These two areas — Anderson Hill/Berry Lake and Sedgwick/Sidney — have been zoned Urban Reserve since 1998, when the county’s comprehensive plan was approved. An Urban Reserve designation means the areas are first in line for inclusion into Port Orchard’s urban growth area — the area into which the city may lawfully expand.

The agreement between the county and the city called for those two areas to be planned separately, but Endresen said doing so could be fatal to the county.

According to Endresen, representatives of the Suquamish tribe have indicated the tribe plans to appeal the the McCormick Woods subarea plan as soon as the county approves the ordinances which would finalize the plan. Endresen said she expects planning the remaining areas separately could invite similar appeals and even lawsuits, particularly if the tribe’s appeal goes through.

“Splitting this up like this is ripe for an appeal,” she said.

Endresen cast the sole dissenting vote when the McCormick subarea plan was preliminarily approved in April.

Endresen also believes the county could save money by planning the two areas together.

County staff estimate doing a comprehensive plan for the Anderson Hill/Berry Lake area could cost between $145,000 and $200,000. Endresen wants to combine the areas and do a less-intensive non-comprehensive plan to reduce costs.

County staff is now compiling the projected cost of Endresen’s proposal.

Others feel Endresen was out of line when she made her suggestion.

Commissioner Jan Angel, who represents the South Kitsap area, said these concerns should have been brought up before the county signed an agreement with Port Orchard. Angel feels Endresen’s objections constitute a violation of the agreement, which was signed last September.

Endresen, on the other hand, said she would rather dissolve the agreement than commit to doing two more costly comprehensive plans in the South Kitsap area.

“I’m not above saying I made a mistake,” Endresen said.

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