Should or should BI remain the master of growth?
There is a lot of difference between “must” and “should”.
As a lawyer, Bainbridge Island board member Kirsten Hytopolous knows this well. It could make the difference between local or regional control.
She tried to explain this to the rest of the board at Tuesday’s meeting. They were discussing changes to Kitsap County’s directions for growth.
Council ended up approving the instructions by a 4-to-3 vote, with Hytopolous, Mayor Rasham Nassar and Deputy Mayor Michael Pollock dissenting.
Mark Hoffman, acting planning director, said county planning policies are the framework, but it’s still local control. Poulsbo and Port Orchard have already ratified it.
Jennifer Sutton, Senior Planner, explained in a slide show how policies need to ensure consistency across county towns. It is the framework of comprehensive city plans, which include topics such as affordable housing, transport, capital, coordination of growth in areas of urban growth, economic development and the environment. Added to this plan is a greater commitment to social and racial equity.
Population figures show the BI is expected to drop from 23,025 in 2010 to 28,660 by 2036, while Poulsbo is expected to drop from 9,700 to 14,808.
Hytopolous said the Kitsap County Coordinating Council spoke with the BI council last spring and did not mention any changes.
She has found some that concern her.
Growth allowance: The coordinating board was previously more fluid to reflect local desires. Now he says the county and the cities need to work together on growth. “Before, it was up to us. ”
Development centers: Each city must have at least one. “This will be where the growth is sent,” she said, rather than letting local control decide.
Employment: does this mean that business growth is linked to it?
“I don’t want to approve of this thing. I want to cooperate and get along and not make a stench, but we have to stand up for our values, ”Hytopolous said.
Following this, Sutton said the change that seems most concerning is the centers. She said Winslow does not meet the definition of a growth center. This is because its boundary encompasses too many residential areas. She said when Winslow’s master plan is complete, they might want to think about lowering the limit to make it dense enough to qualify.
Sutton said she views the county plan as a guidance document that supports BI’s goals, with growth in designated centers rather than conservation areas. “This supports our existing growth strategy,” she said.
The majority of the council seemed to agree.
Board member Leslie Schneider said, “I don’t think we’re losing control.” But she said BI wasn’t the only town in Kitsap to be concerned about it. Poulsbo is concerned that he will not be able to meet his target population goals.
Board member Joe Deets said this is a guidance document that supports our blueprint with growth in the Winslow area and not on the island.
Councilmember Jon Quitslund said the county’s goals are consistent with the overall BI plan.
“I don’t see anything to be afraid of,” he said. Since BI is part of Kitsap, it must face the need for development to adapt to growth. “We are so behind on our goals on the housing component of our Comp plan. ”
He added that there are more jobs on Bainbridge than there are people to fill those jobs. “People have to travel long distances” to get to work, he said, adding that there has to be a balance.
Hypopolous said the changes in the language make it more top-down. “It has always been a market compromise,” she said of the past. But there is “a bunch of ‘shall’s’ in there.” She added that it’s not just that BI doesn’t want growth. With only a single-source aquifer to provide water, it may not be able to handle all of the growth the county wants.
“We are not in the same position as other cities that are ready to submit to be dictated,” she said. Hytopolous said she didn’t want regional organizations telling BI “how and when we grow.” We need as much local control as possible. We have to do it on our terms. ”
Pollock said Hytopolous has obviously done his homework and raised a few good points. He said the county’s instructions should be more advisory in nature, but it’s not up to us to change them, so he thought they should “take a break from this.”
Meanwhile, also at the meeting, the council extended the housing design demonstration project for one year. A public hearing has been set for February 22, 2022.
Nassar and Hytopolous part ways on the vote. Nassar said density is one of BI’s most valuable assets. “You have to walk lightly,” she said, adding that in 2017 the council agreed the program was not up to what is acceptable to islanders.
Hytopolous also said the density is too high, even if only for a few months before the council develops a more comprehensive housing action plan. For housing to be this dense, she said, it must be more affordable than HDDP allows.
Deets said extending it doesn’t mean it’s acceptable, but “letting it expire sends the wrong message.”
Quitslund said that “not much is at stake” and that it is a “harmless action that eliminates a gap” in the coverage. He said he would vote for it with a “heavy heart”. It was embarrassing, ”he said of the time it took BI to draft a housing action plan. He added that the City Planning Commission has come up with a better plan that belongs to a larger-scale effort. “The sooner we do them, the better. We just limped along.
Pollock said that even though the extension is for a year, he certainly doesn’t want to take that long. He hopes that overtaking overtime “will keep the fire burning.” This allows a lot of density. This keeps the pressure on us to move on to something bigger. “We don’t want that.”
• King provided a year-end report on some of the top things the board accomplished, including:
The BI Ride program on demand; saving the city of more than $ 230,000 by refinancing the sewage bonds; protect the community from COVID-19 with vaccinations; 40 companies supported by the COVID recovery program; multiple tax exemption; ordinance on emblematic trees; protect property against forest fires; reduce the use of plastics; use federal stimulus funds for most affordable housing; water reuse project; improve local roads; non-motorized trail along Eagle Harbor; new public art; new source of funding for affordable housing; bicycle safety along Miller Road; upgrade the Eagle Harbor wastewater treatment plant; welcome signs for racial equity; responsible for climate action and Sound to Olympics Trail.
King said public work is not easy because it is easily criticized. Looking at the long list, “Hope you get a sense of accomplishment.”
• Council voted to continue to contract with Kitsap County for prison services at a cost of $ 100,000 for each of the two years, plus a per person per night charge. Police Chief Joe Clark said the agreements were needed to “fill a void because we don’t have an adult or juvenile detention center.”
Clark said that this year, 57 adults and a minor were arrested and jailed. He said they only book those who have committed a felony, domestic violence, impaired driving and certain offenses, such as a custody case or a case where public safety is an issue. Of those imprisoned, 75% were men and 84% white. Clark said juvenile offenders are usually referred to a parent. “This is the preferred approach,” he said.
Deets took the opportunity to say that the city’s public safety committee had been dissolved two years ago and that council was supposed to discuss the matter at council meetings, but that did not happen. .
• The board voted to discuss a crisis in primary care coverage on BI at an upcoming meeting. Hypopolous said thousands of people have lost primary care coverage and are going to Seattle or not at all. She said while the council can’t provide funding, officially calling it a crisis could send a message to providers to come here. Deets said 8,000 patients lost their coverage when Swedish shut down.
• King shared “good news” about a settlement with the county sewers. It was for the effluent county in Lynwood and south. These were the costs of each charge. They agreed to a lump sum of $ 86,346, “which is more than I think we should pay,” King said, adding that they plan to negotiate so that the gap does not happen again. . The total amount for the county is $ 484,000, but most of it is money we already owe, King said.
• During public comments, Steve Matthews urged the city to widen the sidewalk on the west side of Madison Avenue, and Jonathan Davis called on council to pass the affordable housing extension, which he said. do.