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Minimum lot sizes to decrease

The fear of dense community development that lurks in the hearts of many a small-town homeowner has become less of a premonition and more of a reality for the residents of downtown Port Orchard.

At a meeting of the Port Orchard Planning Commission Monday night, several citizens stood to voice their community development concerns before the commission.

“There were actually a couple of different residential issues (brought up) on Monday,” said Commissioner Fred Chang Thursday. “But on the whole I though it was very cooperative.”

One of the issues that has rankled residents for the past several weeks is the ongoing discussions between the commission and local developers to decrease the minimum lot size requirements, making it easier to build more residences on less land.

According to Chang, however, the commission requires that in order to obtain a decreased minimum lot size requirement, the developer must be planning to build in an area of Planned Residential Development (PRD).

“What we passed would only let this happen in the R-12 (Residential-12 units per acre), or the R-20 (Residential-20 units per acre) zones,” Chang said.

Chang said that although the likelihood that some of the smaller lots’ minimum lot size could be decreased, he acknowledged that it is possible.

“What I see is someone who’s on an R-8 lot, who (turns) it into an acre, asking for a rezone from R-8 to R-20,” Chang said. “That is a possibility.”

According to Chang, one local resident asked the council about the continuing development on substandard roads around the Flower Meadows development, finally asking whether or not the commission even cared about public safety.

“We do,” Chang said, “but it’s not our job to develop road standards.”

As far as the continuing conflict between some residents and the needs of some developers, Chang summarized the commission’s rationale.

“The whole philosophy behind this is that in order for the developer to get the concessions he wants, he has to give back to the community,” Chang said.

According to Chang, this could come in the form of more open space in the development, like a courtyard, or a playground.

“It’s not that they get everything they want,” Chang said. “It’s a compromise. I’m interested in something like Poulsbo place. It can be done.”

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