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Gorst environmental planning, annexation topics of upcoming public meetings

Citizens will get their first real chance to weigh in on long-range environmental planning for Gorst and the possible annexation of the area by the city of Bremerton at a public workshop Monday, Oct. 29.

Andrea Spencer, the city’s director of community development, said that the workshop and subsequent public planning efforts will determine “what the future of Gorst is going to look like.”

The Gorst Creek Watershed and Gorst UGA together comprise the planning boundaries, and encompass over 6,000 acres. Several jurisdictional boundaries cross into the watershed: about 3,600 acres encompass Bremerton city limits, most of which is zoned as utility lands, about 335 acres are in the Gorst UGA, nearly 180 acres are in the McCormick Woods area of the city of Port Orchard and the balance of about 1,940 acres are rural, unincorporated lands.

The open house and workshop will afford a chance to talk about the Gorst Creek Watershed Plan, Gorst Urban Growth Area Subarea Plan, and Planned

Action Environmental Impact Statement under development by the city of Bremerton, together with Kitsap County and other state, federal, and tribal agencies.

Those who attend the upcoming meeting can review available information, participate in a visioning exercise, ask questions and provide comments on the future of the watershed and UGA. The open house is set to run from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Kitsap Square Dance Association’s dance hall, located at 6800 W Belfair Valley Road.

Officials say that a Capital Facilities Plan will be used to create a land use framework and implementing development, design, and street standards to establish a cohesive vision for a livable district and to encourage investment in the Gorst UGA. Concepts include a range of permitted land uses with emphasis on residential, retail and commercial uses.

Land use plans and regulations could include increased residential density in targeted areas and new development standards that provide for protection of environmental processes and provide development incentives for enhanced economic development.

The city is also proposing to adopt a Planned Action Ordinance for the Gorst UGA. A Planned Action Ordinance, if adopted, would indicate that the completed Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) adequately addresses significant impacts of the proposed action, and that future projects consistent with the analyzed projects and parameters of the Planned Action Ordinance would not require future State Environmental Policy Act threshold determinations or EISs.

The EIS will analyze the no action alternative, e.g. continuation of the city and county’s current comprehensive plan and development regulations applicable to the UGA and watershed without amendment. It is also anticipated that the EIS will address two action alternatives that may review various land use patterns such as an increase residential development options and enhancement of commercial options while promoting environmental restoration and protection.

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