Should Silverdale limits be scaled back further?
By KRISTIN OKINAKA
Central Kitsap Reporter staff
June 29, 2011 · Updated 7:10 PM
As proponents of Silverdale incorporation prepare to gather signatures from residents in support of turning Silverdale into its own city, there are many residents who already know what they will say when asked to sign the petition: No.
And at least one person opposed to incorporation is leaving fliers on neighborhood doorsteps.
About 55 people attended a second Boundary Review Board public meeting last week on Silverdale incorporation, after proponents updated the proposed boundaries to exclude most of Chico last month. The first review board meeting at the beginning of May had some Chico residents opposed to being included in the proposed city, so Citizens United for Silverdale, the committee pushing for Silverdale cityhood, cut most of them out. But last Thursday’s meeting proved that not everyone is satisfied with the updated boundaries — and some don’t think incorporation is a good idea at all.
“I see more detriment, I see higher taxes,” said Gary Davis before last Thursday’s meeting.
Davis lives with his wife, Debra, in the northern part of Chico Way. They are still included in the proposed boundaries and are not happy about it. They moved from the city of Bremerton to Chico 27 years ago because they prefer a “country-like” neighborhood. Being a part of a city of Silverdale would make them belong to something they left behind.
And not only is the couple satisfied with the services they receive from the county, if the current proposed boundaries are accepted and Silverdale incorporation passes, they will be divided from their children who live in their own homes in the southern part of Chico.
“Splitting our neighborhood into county versus city would separate our children from us by an arbitrary line. Neighbors living right next door to each other would have different government, rules and regulations,” Debra Davis said at the meeting. “This would create a lot of confusion.”
Although the Davis couple and other Chico residents said the updated southern boundary was arbitrarily selected since it is not along a road or body of water, the committee replied that the line wasn’t drawn at random.
Carl Johnson, a committee member, said the new boundary line that dissects the Chico neighborhood was established by the county as part of the 2005 Silverdale urban growth area boundaries.
“We simply went back to what the county had established,” he said.
While the proposed boundaries are a concern for some, for others like Jerry VanFossen, boundaries don’t matter because they are entirely against incorporation.
VanFossen’s house is south of Bucklin Hill Road on Silver Street and he has lived in the area for 38 years. He’s voted against incorporation every time and plans to do so again if the petition makes it onto the spring 2012 ballot as the committee has planned. The committee estimates about 17,000 people live in the proposed boundary and they need signatures from at least 10 percent of registered voters in that area. They have six months to gather signatures.
If Silverdale becomes a city, money will be needed to pay for the city council plus their support staff and a new building to house them, VanFossen said, who doesn’t think the pay-off would be worth it.
“It’s a waste of money because we’re getting services now. All other cities are financially strapped so it doesn’t make sense to become a city,” he said Tuesday.
The days leading to the review board meeting, VanFossen went door-to-door dropping off fliers at homes explaining why he is against incorporation and talked to residents living on Bucklin Hill.
In the leaflet, VanFossen attributes the incorporation effort to “a few politically motivated individuals.”
He isn’t trying to organize a group to go against incorporation efforts, but said he just wants to inform people on the negatives.
“All the publicity is on all the benefits but not the downsides of incorporation,” VanFossen said.
However, some don’t think they are getting any information at all — either way — about incorporation.
Kristina Smith lives on Holly Park Drive in Chico and said the committee pushing for incorporation should concentrate on sending pamphlets out or going door-to-door to communicate better with residents.
“We need to know what the point of it is,” Smith said June 17. “They need to get the reasons out — the goods and bads.”
Even though Smith feels like she and her neighbors are not well-informed on how specifically incorporation will affect their community, Ron Mead, who lives down the street from her, is all for it.
“Silverdale is left out, unattended,” said Mead, adding that as a city, Silverdale would have its own voice in local government.
The 14-year Chico resident said he is not happy with what the county is currently providing him, giving the example that his sewer system rates continue to climb yet he hasn’t seen any improvements.
The committee hopes more people will have a similar outlook on incorporation like Mead. They plan to print out petitions before the end of the week and will begin to gather signatures, said Marcus Hoffman, committee spokesman. With the recent removal of most of Chico, Hoffman no longer resides within the proposed boundaries but continues to support the effort.
“We have a vibrant community. It is a city,” Hoffman said at the meeting. “We just don’t have a direct voice at the table.”
Contact Central Kitsap Reporter staff Kristin Okinaka at firstname.lastname@example.org or (360) 308-9161 ext. 5054.