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County offers growth options

After holding public meetings to hear residents’ visions for how best to deal with South Kitsap’s looming growing pains, Kitsap County officials are back tonight to collect input on three different strategies.

Called “alternatives,” the three plans are draft land-use initiatives recently formulated by the county’s Department of Community Development while continuing its 10-year update of its 1998 Comprehensive Plan.

The plans — which will affect growth areas such as the South Kitsap Industrial Area (SKIA) and the Port Orchard Urban Growth Area (UGA) — incorporate previous public comments and range from taking no action, known as “Alternative 1,” to incorporating the maximum land-use options studied by local citizen advisory committees.

The alternatives present various scenarios on how the county might accommodate expected growth and serve two key purposes — to consider lands for future development and to identify the range of growth scenarios evaluated in the plan’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

Addressing the Port of Bremerton Board of Commissioners recently, Eric Baker of the DCD said the complex and often “arduous” process of updating the county’s comp plan is to ensure that “reasonable measures are taken to encourage growth.”

Baker explained that the Kitsap Countywide Planning Policies (CPPs) establish a population target of 331,571 by the year 2025 — roughly a 100,000-person increase over the next 20 years.

The comp plan also addresses employment growth for the same period, which Baker explained that SKIA will “take the bulk of.”

At the time, Baker told the port his staff had wrapped up its three “vision” workshops, and was crafting the land-use alternatives.

“We had about 220 to 240 attendees total in the other three workshops, but I’m expecting a much more robust attendance at the future meetings,” he said. “Usually when the maps come out, people become interested.”

After collecting public comment on the alternatives, the plans will be further refined and authorized for study in an EIS, which will help the officials identify one of the plans as the “Preferred Alternative.”

The full Draft Integrated Comprehensive Plan/EIS is scheduled for publication by September, and at that time another round of public workshops will be held.

This update of the county’s comp plan is in accordance with the Growth Management Act (GMA). The current comprehensive plan is designed to accommodate projected population growth through the year 2017, while the 10-Year Update will accommodate growth through the year 2025.

For more information on the plans and the process, visit www.MyKitsap.org.

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