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Port Orchard City Council’s goals unchanged since last year
The Port Orchard City Council had used about one third of the time allocated for its annual retreat and had barely completed one agenda item when City Councilwoman Carolyn Powers added some perspective.
“We don’t need to solve all the short term problems right now,” she said. “We should just identify them.”
The council holds a retreat each year, where it outlines plans for the future, both short and long term. On Friday, the agreed upon goals nearly matched previous ones, although those present felt they have made some progress.
In the short term, the goals are to move toward development of a parking structure, get the Tremont corridor “shovel ready” for the roundabout project, develop the waterside trail behind Bay Street, resolution of the revenue sharing agreement with the county and the development of a financial plan.
Among the items removed from last year’s list were the annexation of the Bethel corridor and the disposition of the library. Both are important, but are not short term goals that are under the city’s control.
The long term goals, which are identical from last year’s list, includes managing annexation, developing parks, increasing tourism, economic revitalization and parking--which Mayor Lary Coppola feels is the most important issue.
“Parking is the one thing that needs to be happen before we do anything else,” Coppola said. “Businesses are not going to come downtown until this problem is fixed, so it is the one thing that controls everything else. Nothing will happen until this is solved.”
Councilman John Clauson mentioned the domino-like situation, that “my dream of replacing the asphalt next to the water can’t happen until we can find another place to park.”
The parking situation needs to be re-examined after the council’s resolution to not encroach on the Sidney Museum, as the current plan includes underground spaces below the museum.
“We will follow this agreement but also need to make up for the spaces we are losing by finding them in another location.”
The council also attempted to streamline its meeting structure, limiting the topics that are attached to the work study agenda. Additionally, it instructed the staff to issue reminders about the short term goals in six months, so they don’t fall through the cracks.
“Our goals need to be more than lip service,” Clauson said. “We need to make sure there is some way that we follow through on them.”
With regard to annexations, Development Director James Weaver reminded the council that such actions are citizen driven and are not under the control of the city. Nevertheless, he asked how the council wants to deal with smaller annexation requests, instead of looking to encourage the larger Bethel Corridor actions.
Powers said she supports downtown redevelopment but stated that economic support be extended to all areas of the city.
“We need to pay attention to locations like the South Kitsap Mall,” she said. “Right now, it really needs some help. And the K-Mart building has been empty for a few years.”
Coppola responded that the K-Mart location “is on my radar” and he has suggested that several businesses consider it as an option.
City Attorney Greg Jacoby, working off the clock, facilitated the meeting and attempted to keep up its pace. There was some frustration at first, until council members accepted the planning nature of the meeting.
“I don’t think there is any dispute about what we need,” Clauson said. “I think the question is how to pay for what we need.”