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Port Orchard home peppered with pellets

A Port Orchard woman filed a restraining order against her neighbor this week after coming home Sunday to find three front windows shot with pellets.

Shelia Cronan, 49, said she has been involved in an ongoing dispute with the neighbor, whom she alleges has been running a hair salon out of her home without a business license.

On Aug. 17, Cronan said she returned from a camping trip and discovered what appeared to be bullet holes in three of the windows in her home, which is located on the 200 block of Flowers Meadow Court in Port Orchard.

“One of the windows is where my three kittens sit all day and watch the cars go by,” said Cronan. “They haven’t sat up there since this happened.”

Port Orchard Police Department Commander Geoff Marti said his office is investigating the incident after Cronan reported it Sunday.

“Three of the windows did sustain damage from what appears to be a ball bearing or pellet,” said Marti, explaining that one of the pellets was found lodged inside one of the double-pane windows.

“She’s very upset, and thinks that this was retaliation,” Marti said, adding that it was not clear whether the pellets were shot from a gun or a slingshot, though he said it appears a firearm was not used.

Marti said he checked department records to see if Cronan had called to report prior incidents, but only found one call she made in April to report harassment.

Cronan said the long-standing dispute began when the neighbor, Amber Keehn, filed for permission from the city of Port Orchard to operate a hair salon out of her home on the 2300 block of Flower Ave. soon after purchasing it last spring.

Beginning in November of 2007, Cronan said she began noticing a “high volume of traffic coming and going from (her neighbor’s home) ... no less than 20 cars arriving and departing (in a 10-hour period).”

Between November and now, Cronan says she has filed numerous complaints describing the excessive traffic in her neighborhood, which she describes as zoned for residential only, and as having “no sidewalks and poorly paved streets.”

“I think she should be shut down,” Cronan said. “She could rent a chair in a salon, but instead she chose to violate city code. She doesn’t think the law applies to her.”

According to correspondence between Cronan and Port Orchard officials, including code enforcement officer Kathy Woodside and city attorney Greg Jacoby, Keehn filed for and obtained a conditional use permit last year, but was also served with a “stop work” order in January.

In a July 7 letter from Jacoby to Cronan’s attorney addressing Cronan’s complaints that her neighbor was violating the stop work order and continuing her business, Jacoby states: “the city’s order is still in effect and ... to the best of the city’s knowledge, Keehn is not presently operating a hair salon and is therefore in compliance with the stop work order.”

City Development Director James Weaver said Keehn received a conditional use permit to operate a one-chair hair salon out of her home, which he described as “pretty innocuous” and something that doesn’t typically reach “the level of intensive use” as far as impacts on the neighborhood are concerned.

However, Weaver said following an April 11 hearing with the City’s Hearing Examiner, certain conditions were placed on Keehn’s permit to mitigate Cronan’s concerns.

“(Keehn) has addressed all but one of those conditions, with the last being the letter from the health department,” Weaver said, explaining that Keehn’s current sewer facilities are not adequate for many of the chemicals that are used and washed down the sink during coloring treatments and other salon activities.

“I have been working with the city and the health district to complete this process,” said Keehn, 30, adding that she is not running the business out of her home currently and that the cars visiting her home belong to friends and family. “I just want to be able to live in my home, get the business license and be totally legitimate.”

In the meantime, however, Keehn said she feels “stalked and bullied” by Cronan, whom she described as harassing both her and the city.

“I have been her project ever since I moved into this house, and she couldn’t get her way, so she’s trying to shut me down,” said Keehn, who also said she went down to the Kitsap County Courthouse on Monday to file a restraining order against Cronan. “And she was there, filing one against me.”

Keehn denied having anything to do with the damage to Cronan’s home.

“She’s always watching me, I wouldn’t dare do anything,” she said.

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