Kitsap County, Port Orchard plan rare joint session on Aug. 4

Get-together the first of its kind in years

The interaction between Kitsap County and the city of Port Orchard has seen its peaks and valleys, with regular meetings needed to keep the relationship on course.

With this in mind, both boards will conduct a joint session at 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 4 in the Port Orchard City Hall council chambers.

“There hasn’t been a meeting between the city council and the county commissioners for as long as anyone can remember,” said Port Orchard Mayor Lary Coppola, who took office this year and was previously a member of the Kitsap County Planning Commission. “There is no action agenda, it is only a way to get acquainted and discuss the issues we have in common.”

Aside from Coppola, two new commissioners and four city council members have taken office since the last meeting.

Other than that, it demonstrates a major player switching teams.

Last year, Port Orchard Planning Director James Weaver worked for the Kitsap County Department of Community Development. Since then, Weaver’s understanding of how the county functions has already aided negotiations between the two agencies.

Coppola called Weaver “a tremendous asset” in city-county relations.

On Monday, South Kitsap Commissioner Jan Angel said she knew few of the details about the event but was eager to meet with her city counterparts.

The agenda item that is getting the most attention is the proposed annexation of McCormick Woods by Port Orchard. A group of residents has begun a movement to annex the land, saying that the county has been unresponsive to their needs.

The county does not oppose the annexation idea, but several financial allocation matters need to be resolved before the action can occur.

“I think it will be a constructive meeting,” said McCormick Woods Association Vice President Ray McGovern. “For instance, the money collected by the county for McCormick Woods could have been spent on some other purpose. This is perfectly legal, but we need to find a way for the county to resolve that obligation.”

When — or if — the county makes up the difference with these funds will be part of the discussion according to McGovern.

Another high-visibility is the disposition of Givens Community Center, which has served as a county office annex for some time and was especially valuable during the recent renovation of the Public Works Building.

Currently, the old county administration building has several large, vacant spaces that could accommodate the offices now located in the Givens Center.

Coppola said the county asked the city about possibly leasing the facility. Before that is done, it would be necessary to research liability and safety issues.

Parking will also be discussed. Both the city and the county have stretched the limits of available space, with the idea of building a parking structure coming up for regular discussion.

There are already some agreements in place, such as the city managing parking enforcement around the county campus.

This agreement will be re-examined, along with the disposition of county-owned land that could be used for parking and the idea of partnering in the construction of a new facility.

The future of the South Kitsap Industrial Area (SKIA) is also on the agenda, although the county has indicated that it does not need to participate in any annexation discussion, according to Coppola.

“We have a lot in common,” Coppola said of the county and the city. “We want to discuss our relationship, as well as state issues that affect us both.”

For more information contact the Port Orchard City Clerk, (360) 876-4407.

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