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Open house launches boundary discussion

Kitsap County and the City of Port Orchard conducted an informational public open house on Wednesday to begin the process of a new planning study that will determine whether existing Urban Growth Area (UGA) boundaries in Port Orchard need to be expanded to accommodate the growth anticipated over the next 20 years.

“Quite few people were there,” said Port Orchard Mayor Kim Abel, who was unable to attend the open house. “It was really a kind of informational piece for the city.”

The purpose of the open house, in layman’s terms, said Abel, is to determine the boundary within which the anticipated growth study will be done.

According to Port Orchard City Planning Director Joanne Long-Woods, more than 20 people attended the Citizen’s Advisory Committee (CAC) meeting prior to the open house and most stayed for the informational presentation that started at 5 p.m.

The presentation was led by representatives of EDAW, a Seattle consulting company hired to lead the subarrea plan study.

“(EDAW representatives) essentially gave an overview about what the process and what the timeline will be,” Long-Woods said.

According to Long-Woods, EDAW will hold two more open houses to discuss geographic scoping of areas to be studied and allowing the public to comment on the alternatives of a boundary expansion.

“The existing urban growth boundary may not be big enough to handle future growth up to the year 2025,” Long-Woods said.

She said that an extended boundary would not really affect anyone is particular, but would require that infurstructure be extended to the included area before it could be developed.

After the decision, the study will focus on land project analysis and where experts believe people are likely to group and settle. This is result in the formulation of the “Port Orchard/South Kitsap Urban Growth Area (UGA) Plan and Integrated Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).”

The document is scheduled to be adopted by the Board of County Commissioners in late 2005 and will serve as a way to direct urban growth.

“It will be a decision made by the CAC, EDAW, the City of Port Orchard and Kitsap County,” Long-Woods said. “Right now, all they have is a conceptual area.”

For more information on the planning study call the Department of Community Development (DCD) planning staff at (360) 337-7181.

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