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McCormick Woods annexation backers collect enough petitions

The annexation of McCormick Woods into the city of Port Orchard is apparently heading for success, with the gathering of support from property owners who control 75 percent of the subdivision’s assessed value.

“We are thrilled that McCormick Woods has passed this threshold,” said Port Orchard Mayor Lary Coppola. “That they did it without the support of land developers and the school district shows how strong the support was among the residents in their desire to become part of the city.”

The numbers were tallied at a meeting on Wednesday morning. The final tally, distributed to the Annexation Committee, reported that they only needed an additional $175,000 (.6 percent) to reach the goal.

However, four petitions with a total value of more than $1 million were submitted at the meeting, surpassing the requirements with room to spare.

“We now have the insurance we need,” said Annexation Committee President Dick Davis. “So we have some breathing room, if anything changes or falls off of the table.”

As a resident-driven effort, petitions were required from property owners totaling $285 million of the total $379 million of assessed value (these numbers differ from those provided by the committee in the past).

While developers such as the McCormick Land Co., along with the school district, declined to commit, the petition gathering effort continued.

The annexation effort had six months to gather all the signatures. If it failed, it would have needed to start from scratch later in the year, using a new assessment as its basis.

The deadline was April 1.

The matter is now scheduled to be addressed at the March 24 meeting of the Port Orchard City Council.

At first, the committee discouraged involvement from the developers, but subsequently made overtures for support when it looked like their support would make the difference.

It then became a point of pride when the goals were accomplished without the developers, although Davis said he expected the South Kitsap School District to get behind the annexation measure during its Wednesday night meeting.

“We wanted to be as resident-driven as possible,” Davis said. “I’m glad we were able to accomplish this.”

The next stage of annexation is proscribed by law, and most likely will not be completed in time for a McCormick Woods resident to run for city council in 2009.

The first step, which is now in progress, is to approve all the signatures.

Following this, the completed petition list will be sent to the county assessor for certification. It then goes to the city council for approval, which could occur on March 24 if all the other steps are completed.

A comment period follows, along with a hearing by the boundary review board.

A simple annexation, which this is not, takes about 45 days, according to Port Orchard Development Director James Weaver.

This annexation will require the development of an agreement about the disposition of stormwater and allocation of services between Port Orchard and Kitsap County, which could take as long as 90 days, according to Weaver.

The filing deadline for the fall election is in June.

Since it is unlikely that the annexation will be complete at that time, any McCormick Woods resident with council ambitions will have to wait until 2011.

All city council members run at large in Port Orchard. A measure to divide the city into election districts failed to pass last year, but could re-emerge before the next election and also accommodate any other land annexed in the next few years.

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