Waaga Way developers to work under interim rules

"Interim land-use policies will govern the State Route 303 corridor between Silverdale and Bremerton for 90 days while Kitsap County figures out how the commercial area should grow.The County Commissioners approved the temporary rules Monday in an attempt, they said, to make the highway a better transportation link for motorists and freight trucks.Commissioner Tim Botkin said past commercial development along SR 303 has been bad for traffic. He said the way to start repairing the damage is to implement interim controls while public input is sought on long-term land-use rules for the corridor.I know no one likes this in-your-face approach, Botkin said after hearing several developers and real estate representatives protest the interim move. But we need policies first and then projects. We'll do this and then see where we are in 90 days.The regulations specify setbacks from the highway for new development, including a maximum distance of 20 feet for at least half of a building's front. Other examples of the rules include coordinated access to businesses (shared driveways and connected parking lots), restrictions on where parking can be located (none between a building and its front property line) and the appearance of buildings (a minimum of 60 percent of their ground floor facing the road must be non-reflecting glass).Commissioners Chris Endresen and Charlotte Garrido said many citizens and officials, including Bremerton City Council members, have urged the county to change the way development can occur along the highway.The commissioners said the first of a series of public meetings will be scheduled in the first two weeks of March to get citizens involved in the process.Input came Monday from Larry Johnson, a Kitsap County Association of Realtors official. He said the 90-day interim rules are unnecessary and could become permanent, to the detriment of development.Loren Johnson of Reid Realty said similar regulations applied to the Bethel Road commercial zone in the South Kitsap area haven't worked there and won't on SR 303, either. On Bethel, they've unfairly tightened the amount of land that can be developed, he said.Joe Mickelson, a Windermere Real Estate agent, said businesses that he represents may be blocked from projects they're planning on property they own along SR-303."

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