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Board supports Port Orchard's SKIA sewer service standing

While Bremerton is still on its way to annex the South Kitsap Industrial Area (SKIA) into its boundaries, it now must consider the city of Port Orchard for the provision of sewer service to the area.

That's the upshot of a ruling made by the Kitsap County Boundary Review Board (BRB) on Thursday night that determined Port Orchard had standing in the matter.

While Port Orchard never intended to annex SKIA itself, the city had already begun building the sewer infrastructure that would serve the developing industrial area.

In a press statement Port Orchard Mayor Lary Coppola said “The BRB’s decision reinforced Port Orchard’s long-held position that negotiation is preferable to litigation, and that the best course of action for SKIA is to negotiate the issues regarding sewer provision, so we can find a win-win solution for everyone.”

“This is one small step,” said Port Orchard Development Director James Weaver. “It means that the individual parties need to sit down and resolve the matter among themselves.

“We are happy with this decision,” Weaver said. “But is it what we have been requesting all along.”

The Bremerton City Council voted to annex SKIA in September. Weaver appeared at the meeting to request that Bremerton honor a 1998 memorandum of understanding that Port Orchard would supply sewer service, regardless of which municipality annexed the property.

Weaver’s request was not acknowledged, and Port Orchard subsequently filed the BRB action.

Port Orchard was not able to annex SKIA, since the city has no contiguous property up to the SKIA site.

“We supported Bremerton’s annexation of SKIA,” Weaver said. “We just wanted to be part of the process.”

Bremerton Mayor Cary Bozeman said Friday he was pleased with the action and that it would pave the way for SKIA annexation.

”We look forward to the completion of the annexation process,” Bozeman said. “But it would be premature to comment about it at this time. When the annexation is over we can all sit down and we will be very happy.”

As a result, representatives of Bremerton and Port Orchard will need to meet to discuss next steps. Whether this will be a public meeting or a private chat between council and staff has yet to be determined.

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