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McCormick Woods North gets hearing

Residents of McCormick Woods gathered on Monday to voice their concerns regarding the proposed McCormick Woods North Phases I and II to the Kitsap County commissioners.

The public hearing was a precursor to the commissioners’ consideration of the conditional approval of the eight separate applications — McCormick Woods Master Plan Phases I and II, McCormick North Phase I Preliminary Plat (Phases I and II), McCormick Urban Village Transportation Plan, McCormick Urban Village Open Space Plan, as well as the development agreements for stormwater, transportation and open space.

The application in full was recommended for the commissioners’ approval by the Kitsap County Hearing Examiner Jan. 31. The eight applications were processed together. Rather than being approved by the Hearing Examiner and appealed to the Kitsap County Board of Commissioners, as is normal procedure, this application went straight to the commissioners for final approval and must be appealed to Superior Court.

According to the DCD’s report and recommendation to the Hearing Examiner,

“It is appropriate to streamline to process to eliminate the potential for confusion and procedural complications. Accordingly, Kitsap County (and) McCormick Land Co....have agreed to a process whereby each application is reviewed together, first by DCD with recommendations to the hearing examiner, next by the Hearing Examiner with an open record public hearing and recommendations to the board, and then by the board for final review and approval.”

Senior Planner James Weaver presented the application to the Commissioners and representatives from several agencies were on hand to answer Commissioner questions.

According to Weaver, the overall goal of the application is to create “a planned community that encourages people to both live work and play (within) the community.”

There were 97 technical corrections included in the application to address some of the public’s concern about the plan.

Weaver touted public participation as one of the application’s main strengths, contrary to what some McCormick Woods citizens have been saying since they learned of the development plans.

“This project, in part, is a result of many years of public meetings and hearings, and is the incorporation of public comments leading up to the sub-area plan,” Weaver said. “Department of Community Development (DCD) staff have met individually with concerned parties, attended a McCormick Woods Homeowners Association meeting...as well as made themselves available to answer any questions that may have arisen throughout the process.”

After testimony from Bob Johns, attorney for the McCormick Land Co., and a representative from the South Kitsap School District, McCormick Woods resident Leonard Vaughn, who has lived in McCormick Woods for 10 years, spoke to the commissioners.

“I won’t try to speak to (Johns’) dissertation because I didn’t know what he was talking about,” Vaughn said. “I don’t feel that there was enough notification on this new plan. We get little cards in the mail and they state there’s going to be a meeting of a certain committee on ULID No. 6.”

According to Vaughn, most residents don’t know that the meetings concern their development.

“Most of the time when people don’t know what a meeting is about, they don’t attend,” Vaughn pointed out. “They think McCormick Woods will take care of us or the county will take care of us. Obviously, that is a misnomer.”

Vaughn added that McCormick Woods residents don’t all agree they want to work, play and “whatever else” together.

Resident Karla McArdle wanted the commissioners to be sure not to make their decision based on the written minutes of the Hearing Examiner’s public hearing.

“The summary of some of our testimonies are 100 percent wrong,” McArdle said.

The commissioners said they will schedule several work sessions before making their decision.

The decision is expected to be announced at the April 25 commissioners meeting at 10 a.m. in the Kitsap County Courthouse.

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