McCormick Village concept losing stream

The Kitsap County commissioners have started their first round of hearings on McCormick Village, and it appears public opinion has grown more negative since the project was at the planning commission level.

In the last year or so of hearings, most of those who spoke were in favor of the development. However, at a public hearing held Monday night at Givens Center in Port Orchard, nearly half of those who stepped up to the microphone expressed deep concerns with the project.

“If I could pick a spot to put Kitsap County’s next city, it wouldn’t be right here, where we’re putting it,” said McCormick Woods resident Mike McCuddin. “Quite frankly, I don’t think the area’s suited for it at all.”

McCormick Village is a proposed expansion of the existing McCormick Woods development. Unlike McCormick Woods, however, the Village would have a small village center of mixed-use commercial, cluster housing that would result in higher densities in some areas and an associated business park.

At build-out, the Village would be expected to support more than 6,000 new residents.

The majority of concerns centered around environmental issues. Many said McCormick Land Co., the agency behind the development plans, has not done enough to protect critical areas. Although the cluster-style housing, according to company officials, is designed to by-pass wetlands and important habitat areas, others said that what looks good on paper will not play out in the real world.

“I know of no case where you develop microhabitats and benefit by that,” said South Kitsap resident Earl Prentice. “It goes against responsible stewardship.”

Others were angry the tribes had not been included in the discussions. Land Co. attorney Bob Johns said McCormick had made every attempt to get the tribes involved but Allison O’Sullivan, speaking for the Suquamish Tribe, said tribal officials were not included in the first part of the planning process and did not want to get involved after the big decisions had already been made.

“We are very concerned with the critical areas,” O’Sullivan said. “We believe they should come first.”

The next public hearing in McCormick Village will be held Sept. 8 at 7 p.m. at President’s Hall at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds in Silverdale.

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