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Commissioners work on plan to resolve building moratorium issue

One week after imposing a construction moratorium in selected expanded urban growth areas (UGAs), the Kitsap County commissioners began developing a plan to resolve the situation while soliciting public comment.

The moratorium was a reaction to a ruling from the Central Puget Sound Growth Management Hearings Boar, which questioned proposed sewer development in certain UGAs.

The commissioners unanimously approved the moratorium at their Sept. 24 meeting, over the protests of several members of the development community. At a meeting on Monday the commissioners began planning for a Nov. 5 public hearing, at which all viewpoints will be considered.

“This is frustrating for everyone,” said County Administrator Nancy Buonanno Grennan. “We were working on a sewer strategy before the Hearings Board made its ruling. Now we have to focus on that issue instead of solving the initial problem.”

Senior Planner James Weaver presented a memo outlining public input strategy, which includes a Web site (www.kitsapgov.com/moratorium), a direct-mailing program, public comments, technical advice and a coordinated media response plan.

The county seeks to ensure that “any press releases or interviews with Kitsap County Personnel are provided accurate and complete information that supports the goals and efforts of the intended solution.” 

Weaver said the Web site will go live later this week and will be updated daily.

“This is the same thing we do with our community plans,” Weaver said, “although there is more interest because of the multiple jurisdictions.”

At least one observer didn’t wait for the county to set up its comment structure. Central Kitsap resident Jack Hamilton wrote that the moratorium “places an unwarranted financial burden on citizens attempting to carry out lawful commerce, impacts the cost of business and housing throughout the county and fails to recognize or punish those actually responsible for the error condition.”

Hamilton recommended the county file an immediate actions request for reconsideration of the order, an action the county plans to take.

He also said the county should “open immediate discussion and negotiation with the respective sewer service providers to (meet) the GMC concurrency requirements.”

Hamilton sent his recommendations to Central Kitsap Commissioner Josh Brown, who had not read the document as of Monday afternoon.

Weaver had not seen Hamilton’s letter but said, “We want to gather all these comments so they can be considered.”

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