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Group for Silverdale incorporation continues to define boundaries

Sue Borgeson, 54, of east Island Lake, places a pin on a map indicating she is undecided on Silverdale incorporation last week. Citizens United for Silverdale, the group supporting incorporation, is in the process of gathering information and determining the boundaries for a city of Silverdale proposal.  - Kristin Okinaka/staff photo
Sue Borgeson, 54, of east Island Lake, places a pin on a map indicating she is undecided on Silverdale incorporation last week. Citizens United for Silverdale, the group supporting incorporation, is in the process of gathering information and determining the boundaries for a city of Silverdale proposal.
— image credit: Kristin Okinaka/staff photo

Figuring out the boundaries for a proposed incorporated Silverdale will be more difficult than playing “eeny, meeny, miny, moe,” especially for those who live along the Silverdale urban growth area boundaries.

“We understand the passion they have for their community, but we have the same passion for the city of Poulsbo,” said Jim Gillard, 37, who lives on the west side of Island Lake in Central Kitsap. “I very much associate with the Poulsbo community.”

Gillard attended a meeting last week hosted by Citizens United for Silverdale, the group pushing for incorporation, that was arranged to gauge east Island Lake residents’ interest in being a part of a city. The group continues to figure out what areas within the Silverdale urban growth area want to be included into a city, and which would rather opt out. They originally hoped to file a petition to the county for incorporation at the end of the month, but are pushing it back another month as they continue to gather information and determine the proposed city boundaries. A proposal to voters is planned for spring of 2012.

Although Gillard lives within the Silverdale urban growth area, his children go to school in the North Kitsap School District and they have never felt associated with Silverdale. The boundaries for the urban growth area don’t necessarily have to coincide with the proposed Silverdale boundaries, organizers said. The population for the entire urban growth area is about 19,140 people and should the entire area be incorporated, Silverdale would be the third largest city in Kitsap County.

Aside from the feeling of just not belonging with Silverdale like Gillard has, many want to know what it will cost them.

“A lot of people make voting decisions based on their pocket book,” said Carl Johnson with Citizens United for Silverdale. The group continues to gather data and make calculations to determine what changes in tax burden, if any, will accompany incorporation. They plan to build a website with the information when it is available, Johnson added.

Besides the concern of taxes increasing, conversations about incorporation also lead to boundary-related concerns.

“Anything with the word ‘district’ is a different entity,” said Jennifer Forbes, a land-use attorney advising the pro-incorporation group. “Incorporation won’t change your port district or school district.”

She added that mailing addresses are controlled by the post office and that the post master would determine whether or not to change a resident’s address should Silverdale be incorporated.

Although the group sent mailers to more than 200 Island Lake residents, about 18 east Island Lake residents came to the meeting Feb. 10. Of that handful, about half of them were opposed to being a part of a Silverdale city. But, they said that they did not want to speak on behalf of all area residents.

In 2000, the last time a measure to incorporate was on the ballot, voters rejected it. Peter Bieber, 54 of east Island Lake, voted against the proposal, along with a majority of east Island Lake residents.

“I’ve always been content living in a county, and not a city,” Bieber said, adding that he is undecided now on whether he wants to incorporate but is leaning toward “no.”

“Urban growth areas are designed to be cities,” said Marcus Hoffman, a member of the pro-incorporation group. “If they don’t want to be a part of it, that’s fine.”

While many have begun to take sides on their view on Silverdale cityhood, there are some residents who don’t know what their thoughts on incorporation are.

“I don’t have an opinion honestly,” said Melissa Payfer, 32, of Brownsville, who did not attend the meeting. “I haven’t put much thought into it.”

Peyfer has lived in the area all her life and has a Silverdale post office box and a physical address of Poulsbo. If she had to pick a side on whether or not Silverdale should be its own city, she would be “right in the middle.”

For some, it’s not whether or not their neighborhood should be included into the proposed city boundaries. It’s about not wanting to be a part of a city at all — at least not now.

Olivia Galles, 71, said Silverdale is “hanging in” as a community but turning it into a city would mean more services that require more money.

“I don’t think we can afford it,” said Galles, who lives on Bucklin Hill in Silverdale. “I know taxes would go up.” The 1957 Central Kitsap High School graduate said she is not against progress but that it might be better to propose incorporation when the economy picks back up.

If Silverdale does not become its own city, there is a possibility for nearby Bremerton to annex the Silverdale urban growth area into its city, Forbes said.

Citizens United for Silverdale do not want to be a part of an existing city — the members want local control over local issues.

“We’re here to form the city of Silverdale so the citizens can form their own future,” Hoffman said.

Citizens United for Silverdale can be contacted at UniteSilverdale@gmail.com

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