County delays changes to planning policy

The Kitsap County Board of Commissioners deferred action on amendments to its planning policy on Monday after it was accused of not allowing enough public input about the decision.

Much of the criticism came from members of the Kitsap Alliance of Property Owners (KAPO), which offered separate statements at different times during the meeting.

The commissioners and the county are frequently criticized for not moving fast enough, sometimes taking years to ap-prove certain actions. This time, however, they were under fire for moving too fast and not allowing enough public response.

After KAPO underscored this notion and presented the board with several long memos, South Kitsap Commissioner Jan Angel moved to delay the decision to the next regularly scheduled meeting, on Nov. 22.

While the vote to delay the amendment was unanimous, North Kitsap Commis-sioner Chris Endresen called the criticism “a delaying tactic.” While casting her vote, she said, “We’re bowing to special interests.”

“I made the commitment to good planning,” Angel said. “It’s unfortunate about any delays, but I am not prepared to make a decision about this today.”

Acting Department of Community Development Director Cindy Baker said the one-month delay would make it harder for the cities, since they would have less time to complete their own projections.

However, she feels it is a setback from which the process can recover.

Using three different spokespeople — Tim Matthes, Jack Hamilton and Vivian Henderson — KAPO submitted several prepared documents. Two of them were worded as resolutions, ending with a promise to “seek relief by direct appeal to the appropriate review entity.”

“We will take them to court if we have to,” Hamilton said after the meeting.

“KAPO has been at every meeting and has heard these matters discussed for the last two years,” Endresen said after the meeting. “I don’t understand what their motivation is to postpone this. I will read these memos, but I’ll bet there’s nothing new in here. They have been saying the same things for years.”

KAPO officials said there were some new issues raised in the supplied memo, but acknowledged they often repeat themselves in front of the commission because they feel ignored.

“After we testify, they say, ‘Thank you very much, now get out of here,’ ’’ said Henderson.

Matthes admitted that KAPO had a plan to present the material in parts, to get around the three-minute limit that is imposed on those addressing the board.

Matthes admitted that KAPO had a plan to present the material in parts, to get around the three-minute limit that is imposed on those addressing the board.

The three-minute limit, in fact, is the basis of KAPO’s criticism of the process.

“Three minutes or two minutes is never enough time to say what you need to say,” Matthes said.

The matter will be addressed at the Nov. 22 meeting as a “decision-only” item.

Central Kitsap Commissioner Patty Lent said all public testimony should reach the commissioners by Nov. 5.

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