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Port Orchard may challenge SKIA annexation

The City of Port Orchard is determining whether to request a review of Bremerton’s proposed annexation of the South Kitsap Industrial Area (SKIA) through the Kitsap County Boundary Review Board (BRB).

Port Orchard Mayor Lary Coppola said the city “still prefers negotiation to litigation” but is following the necessary legal steps.

“We are keeping all of our options open,” he said. “We may go to court in the future, and appearing in front of the BRB is a required step.”

Coppola said that a judge could, in the future, throw the case out if procedure wasn’t followed. He did not say what basis would cause the city to pursue the action.

The five-member BRB (one position is currently vacant) reviews all annexation actions within the county. Most such actions are approved by default unless another party invokes jurisdiction and requests a hearing — as Port Orchard has indicated it may do.

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Philip Bacus, who works as the county’s liaison with the BRB, said it has been at least seven years since its jurisdiction was invoked.

If Port Orchard decides to follow this route it would trigger a public hearing and an eventual decision as to whether the annexation would be approved.

Port Orchard officials do not oppose the annexation of SKIA per se. Rather the city is pressing Bremerton to honor a 2003 Memorandum of Understanding that would allow Port Orchard to supply sewer service to SKIA.

Port Orchard has already made an investment in building the sewer system with the expectation it would be selected to provide the service.

The BRB received the paperwork for the annexation on Aug. 22, opening a 45-day window for invoking jurisdiction.

Port Orchard now has until Oct. 6 to take action.

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