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Port Orchard, Kitsap County get closer on annexation
Coppola, Angel trying to find common ground on McCormick Woods plan
South Kitsap Commissioner Jan Angel fired back last week at critics of how the county has handled the proposed annexation by Port Orchard of McCormick Woods.
“The county is actively participating in the annexation process in its appropriate role,” wrote Jan Angel, in a letter to the Port Orchard Independent that was cc’ed to several of those involved in the issue. “To that end, the county has a dual responsibilities of ensuring that a high level of support is provided to the McCormick residents, but also to county residents as a whole.”
Angel said her purpose in writing the letter was to explain the complexity of the process, something the general public often does not fully understand.
“They do not know what this entails,” she said of the annexation.
The letter, sent on Thursday, prompted an angry reaction from Port Orchard Mayor Lary Coppola, who contacted Angel on Friday and had “a lengthy discussion that cleared the air about most issues, so we are down to the financial nuts and bolts of getting this done.”
The result is a private meeting between Angel, Coppola and their respective staffs, to take place today in Port Orchard.
Coppola said he does not know the agenda for the meeting, but hopes that it will provide the opportunity “for everything to be put on the table so we can solve this.”
Coppola said he thinks Angel has the best intentions to address the annexation issue. He added that he has not wavered in his support for Angel in her quest to capture the 26th District House of Representatives seat.
Angel wrote the letter, which contained highly technical language, as a way to explain the complexities of annexation to the public. Coppola countered that the situation wasn’t all that complicated: The county needs to define exactly what projects are pending, and has collected money to complete.
It can then complete these projects or transfer the funds and the city can take them over.
On Monday, Coppola said that the conflict revolved around some basic financial issues, and that “once they are resolved everything will fall into place.”
Angel said she still stood behind the letter but felt that it did not to be published in its entirety as long as certain points were emphasized.
“The proposed annexation nearly doubles the size of Port Orchard in geography and includes all of its existing and future services and infrastructure needs,” Angel wrote. “Due to these factors, this effort is unlike any recent annexations in its breadth and complexity.”
Angel said she wanted to stress that the county was not “dragging its feet” with regard to annexation, as it has been accused of doing by several McCormick Woods residents.
She maintains the issues are being discussed in an expedient manner, with three agreements becoming the most important aspects of the discussion. These include:
• a transportation agreement that outlines the necessary roadway projects and improvements for the area, as well as they costs — additionally, it provides a specific revenue stream in the form of a special impact fee on new development within the McCormick Urban Village to find these improvements;
• a parks and open space agreement that outlines required parks and trail facilities, as well as their costs — additionally, it provides a lump-sum payment of over $640,000 as well as the dedication of land for the development of these facilities; and,
• a stormwater agreement which also includes the South Kitsap School District regarding certain stormwater facilities and the vested rights associated with them.
Central Kitsap Commissioner Josh Brown said he thought the letter was “right on” and that “the county is not dragging its feet here. We can support annexation but it is not our responsibility to provide all the details.”
Angel seconded this, noting that annexation agreements prepared by other cities “have a lot more detail than what Port Orchard has given us.”
Angel began the letter-writing process last Wednesday, after several quotes in a newspaper story singled her out for criticism and a lack of support for annexation.
She met with two aides, Eric Baker and Angie Silva, who composed a draft statement.
Angel added her own flourishes, running the results by County Administrator Nancy Buonanno Grennan and the county’s legal department before sending it to a distribution list.
“I was a little puzzled by that letter,” said McCormick Woods resident Dick Davis, who is heading the annexation effort. “I got the feeling that it was written by staff and signed by Jan, rather than something Jan wrote in her own voice.”
Davis, who said he “liked Jan and voted for her several times,” thinks that the issue could be co-opted by Angel’s opponent, former Port Orchard Mayor Kim Abel.
“Jan’s opponent may be able to make some hay out of this if she handles it in the same way she has handled it so far,” he said. “She has positioned herself as a decision-maker, but this is an example of a leadership decision and she punted.”
Davis said that Angel has time to change this perception, but “a lot is at stake.”
Despite withdrawing the letter from publication, Angel said she does not retract his contents.
Anyone wishing to see the complete text of the letter can view it below: