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Neighbors don’t want street named after decades without
In the 13500 block of Olympic View Drive, right across from the long winding fence warning folks to keep out of Bangor near Cougar Valley School, sits a kiosk of mailboxes next to a rocky dirt drive.
That shared easement of a driveway leads to 10 properties and residences. Nobody in those well-kept houses with manicured lawns and gardens wants the county to put a name on the “street” and have their addresses changed. Many of them have lived there more than 20 years.
The county, though, and more specifically, CenCom, wants the road named in order to increase public safety so that emergency responders can arrive on scene more quickly when things go awry. There is a waiver process, but it’s proving to be so cumbersome as to be impossible.
Every property owner must sign a notarized deed and notarized waiver attached to the property’s legal description and pay about $75 in filing fees.
Robert Walker, a Special Forces veteran from the Vietnam era, has lived on the road for 25 years. Last week, he went to the Kitsap County Commissioner’s meeting to get some help keeping things the same.
Walker told commissioners about one property at the dead end of the road that has been abandoned for about 10 years. The owner, he said, can’t be located and the longtime residents on the road shouldn’t have to lose their unnamed rural road because of someone who doesn’t even live there.
Walker said this week that, under the circumstances he and his neighbors find themselves in, the waiver process is merely a “bait and switch.”
Commissioner Josh Brown told Walker that he knew exactly where he and his neighbors live because Brown’s own parents are just a few doors down on Olympic View Drive.
“If you have near unanimity in terms of signing the waiver, that’s what we’re looking for,” Brown said. “If you have one parcel where somebody doesn’t live there and it’s an abandoned property or whatever, that wasn’t the purpose we were striving for in having that waiver. I haven’t heard of a situation like this. I’m happy to work with you on it and try and come up with a solution.”
It was, in fact, Brown himself who fought to create a waiver process when new county codes were written to allay CenCom’s public safety concerns. Brown said that the waiver is essential to avoid liability in the event that emergency responders can’t locate a home because of inadequate address sequencing or lack of a street name.
Brown reiterated this week that he is still willing to work with Walker and his neighbors “and come up with a waiver that’s reasonable for that stretch of road” as long as everyone living there exempts first responders from liability.
“This is the only situation where I’m aware of folks having brought it to our attention,” Brown said. “This specific type of situation hasn’t come up before and I don’t think it’s necessary for the policy to be amended, we just need to say, ‘What do we need to do in this case?’ ”
Gene Knoll built his house down the way from Walker’s in 1982 and said that if the driveway was a new road, naming it might make sense, but at this point it isn’t necessary.
“It’s like anything else you deal with at the county, it’s a revenue stream and a roadblock,” he said. “It doesn’t make real good sense from our standpoint.”
Larry Graska, another longtime neighbor, also doesn’t want the road named, but remains guarded.
“What are you gonna do, it’s pretty hard fightin’ city hall,” he said.