Parks board hears master plan

The South Kitsap Parks and Recreation Board of Commissioners met Thursday to discuss several contentious issues that remain unresolved despite several years of community discontent.

With Commissioner Charlotte Garrido noticeably absent from the discussion, roughly a dozen local residents gathered to go through the latest in a long line of park master planning efforts.

Commissioner John Palo presented the efforts of the Master Planning Committee, a group comprised of community representatives that has been meeting weekly for months to hammer out a master plan for South Kitsap Community Park.

Upon completion of the presentation, which yielded only a few comments and clarifications from other board members, Palo asked the group to set a date so that any changes could be made and the plan could take effect as soon as possible.

“The last thing I want is for this master plan to sit,” Palo said.

The board complied and the master plan will be further discussed on Thursday, Oct. 21, at 7 p.m. The location will be posted on the board’s Web site at

Palo said Monday he expects the board to “pull the plan apart,” putting the community back to square one.

However, Palo said community members who put time into developing the most recent master plan will not give anymore of their time and effort if the plan were picked apart next month.

“It won’t be back to the drawing board,” Palo said, “because all of the people who put the effort into the master plan said this was their last effort at giving something back to the park.”

“I hope something comes of (the scheduled meeting),” Palo said. “I’d like to move forward on things.”

Prior to the presentation of the proposed master plan, the board’s contract negotiations with Annapolis Water sparked a heated debate between Palo and Board Chair Larry Walker.

According to Palo, the board discussed how best to approach the water district in a past executive session. The idea of presenting a proposal at a regular water district meeting was discussed but never decided on.

Palo was visibly angry Thursday when Walker announced they would present to Annapolis Water District at its regular meeting on Oct. 12 at 5 p.m.

“I would like to know who decided to negotiate the contract this week,” Palo said. “Decisions are being made without all the board members being privy. I’m not just a little plant at the end of (this) table. This is getting really upsetting.”

Commissioner Melissa Lund said proper protocol dictates the proposal be made to Annapolis at its meeting by placing it on the agenda. Walker brought the issue to a vote, with Lund and Commissioner Marjorie Rees voting in the affirmative, Palo in dissent and Walker abstaining.

However, Palo was not satisfied with the way the issue was handled.

“District bylaws require three votes to pass a motion, not a majority of those voting,” Palo wrote in an e-mail Saturday.

Palo said Thursday’s vote was not the first time the board has disregarded its written bylaws.

“Our bylaws are routinely violated,” Palo wrote. “Article VI, Section 1 states that we will hold our regular meeting every second Thursday of the month at 712 Sidney. The bylaws also state that financial reports and payment approvals are the last item on the agenda after unfinished business and new business. We usually have the financial reports before unfinished and new business.”

Palo said Monday that he doesn’t feel strongly one way or the other regarding specific violations, but he said he feels the board must obey its bylaws, making a decision and following through.

“We need to change the bylaws,” Palo said. “It’s not something that hasn’t been brought up.”

According to Palo, he brought up several discrepancies in the board’s bylaws last May, but his complaints were ignored.

“I think we have a board of a lot of well-meaning people,” Palo said, “but this board is completely out of control. The community has lost all control of the park.”

Walker and Garrido were unavailable for comment.

Other park news:

• The final numbers for the Sept. 11 Folk Fest were presented Thursday. The park took in a total of $2,104.60; the total includes $724 from admission, $135.60 from raffle and donations, $20 from the poster sale, $610 from previous donations and $615 from vendors.

The $250 worth of Hemley’s Handy Kans were the board’s only expense, bringing the total income to $1,854.60.

“We had a small but happy turnout,” said Lund. “When you take into consideration the goodwill of the community...I think it was a success.”

• Walker accompanied Faire owner Ron Cleveland on a walk through the park Saturday to further discuss the possibility of leasing the park to Cleveland for use as the permanent site of his Washington Renaissance Fantasy Faire.

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