Graduate students assisting with city’s Comprehensive Plan

A group of graduate students from the state’s largest university will assist the city when it kicks off its 2016 Comprehensive Plan update process from 9:30 a.m. to noon Saturday, March 8, in the Robert G. Geiger Council Chambers, 216 Prospect St.

The city will conduct an open house for the purpose of gathering public input on key issues and challenges as well as opportunities for improvement. The city has partnered with a class of University of Washington masters students who will be in Port Orchard to facilitate the visioning process.

The open house an opportunity for residents to participate in the process and assist the city in setting up their Comprehensive Plan. A group of 18 graduate students from UW will assist with the plan.

The Comprehensive Plan is a 20-year plan for the future of the city in compliance with the state’s Growth Management Act and state regulations regarding municipal planning.

Graduate student Scott Bonjukian, a Port Orchard resident, said the group has already completed an “initial conditions report” on the state of the city, and used data and information provided by the city, county, districts and online research.

“This report will be used to frame questions and topics as we move forward in the process this spring,” Bonjukian said.

He said the March 8 meeting will focus on gathering residents' thoughts and presenting the results of the initial conditions report.

“I’m excited to be helping out my hometown,” Bonjukian said.

Development Director Nick Bond brought the idea before the council at the Oct. 15 city council work study session.

Rick Sepler, affiliate instructor for the two-quarter class and public services director for Port Townsend, spoke to the council at the October work study session.

Sepler notes he’s been teaching the class and working for Port Townsend for 14 years. He has been on the UW faculty for 21 years.

“Our students have assisted numerous communities and come from diverse backgrounds with undergraduate degrees,” said Sepler. “We have excited people wanting to work with communities and cities in a real setting.”

Sepler said the cost covers expenses for additional space and resources.

“You can be assure of high-quality work that would pass professional standards,” said Sepler.

He said the typical cost is between $15,000 to $18,000 for six-months of work for the students.

The council approved the contract with UW for $17,705, which runs until the end of June. About $2,500 will be used for services, supplies and other expenses.


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