Annexation, roads hot topics at CKCC meeting

The gray area shows the current Port of Tracyton district. The yellow represents the proposed areas for annexation into the port. Those who live within the yellow boundaries will have the option to vote next month on whether or not they want to become part of the port district. - Courtesy graphic
The gray area shows the current Port of Tracyton district. The yellow represents the proposed areas for annexation into the port. Those who live within the yellow boundaries will have the option to vote next month on whether or not they want to become part of the port district.
— image credit: Courtesy graphic



Port of Tracyton officials have big plans in the works for existing port facilities, although the acquisition of funds is contingent on the potential annexation of two large areas bordering the current district boundaries.

“We have some clear goals of what we want to do for our community,” said Port of Tracyton Commissioner Gary Keenan during his presentation to the public and members of the Central Kitsap Community Council (CKCC) at Wednesday night’s meeting.

Current and long-range goals include adding picnic tables, benches and a boardwalk to the Tracyton Port area to make it more useable and family friendly. Other projected goals are to create a widened, elevated all-tide boat ramp and increased parking. Currently, the only port facility is a dilapidated boat ramp that is unusable at low tide.

To acquire the funds needed to expand the port, officials are hoping to increase their tax base by expanding the port’s boundaries to about 1,500 more homes in areas that it already serves.

“We have to be a little bit bigger to help support development costs,” Keenan said.

The two proposed areas for annexation border the current district and are not served by any port.

The proposed annexation will appear on the Feb. 19 primary ballot. Those living within the proposed boundaries will have the option to vote on whether they want to be annexed in to the Port of Tracyton.

Should they vote yes, the average homeowner with a house value of $300,000 would pay $9 a year in port taxes.

The Port of Tracyton tax rate is 3 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value — the lowest of all port districts in the state.

The Port of Bremerton’s tax rate is 77 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value and the Port of Silverdale’s is 19 cents per $1,000.

“What motivation will people have to vote themselves taxes?” questioned Gary Johnson from the audience at Wednesday’s meeting.

In response, Keenan explained the potential of those proposed areas to be annexed into another port district in the future, one with a higher tax rate.

“If it is the Port of Tracyton it can’t become the Port of Bremerton,” Keenan said.

He added that the port is dedicated to limited development and wants to make the area more inviting to local families, many who are just outside the port’s boundaries, but would potentially use the facilities especially if they were upgraded.

“The more family friendly we make that area the better it will be for families surrounding it and the people who use it,” Keenan explained.

To help pay for improvements to the port area, officials also will apply for grants which require 25 percent or more in matching funds. The grant would come from unclaimed gasoline tax refunds for boaters which is available to the port should they raise the matching funds. Port officials also plan to sell the Tracyton Community Hall.

Ballots for the Feb. 19 vote are expected to be mailed out Feb. 1.

In other CKCC news, Washington State Department of Transportation Project Engineer Brenden Clarke discussed the SR 3/303 interchange and answered many of the questions surrounding the project.

In response to complaints from the community, he explained many of the constraints that project engineers had to work around including right-of-ways, wetlands and designing the interchange to tie in with the county’s future Waaga Way extension road.

“A half urban interchange brings ramps tightly into the interchange,” he explained. “One downside is having to bring everything in ... so everything can be controlled by one connection.”

A major constraint in the project was engineers had to utilize the existing bridge. Many comments WSDOT has received has been about distance from the stoplights to the actual ramps.

“We had to utilize the existing bridge. Had we designed this with a clean sheet of paper we would have brought it in closer,” Clarke said.

He added that the overall capacity of all movements has been increased and accidents have decreased at SR 303 and Clear Creek Road.

“Accidents at 303 and Clear Creek Road are non-existent, not to say there haven’t been fender-benders with people getting used to the interchange,” he said. “There’s a big difference in congestion.”

Not all comments from the public were negative at Wednesday’s meeting.

“I’ve driven all over the country and long-turn intersections are not that uncommon,” said Jim Sommerhauser. “Not having to wait at Applebee’s through nine light cycles is really nice.”

Clarke added that WSDOT officials are still watching the interchange and making improvements where needed including adding more signage and striping on the roads.

“At this point we’re reacting to what we see with traffic out there,” Clarke said. “Are we done? No. But technically the project is complete.”

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