Forum on SR 303 land use set

"With temporary land-use polices now regulating the State Route 303 corridor between Silverdale and Bremerton, Kitsap County officials will hold an open house and workshop Monday to obtain public input on permanent rules.The County Commissioners approved the interim regulations Feb. 14 in an attempt to provide short-term control over new commercial developments and remodeling projects along the highway.The temporary policies implemented specific restrictions on development, such as the placement of storefronts and building design.Among the regulations are requirements that 60 percent of a building's ground floor wall consist of nonreflecting glass and that one tree be planted for every six stalls in a parking lot.The forum is designed to gather public input on a set of permanent policies being considered to replace the interim rules, which are scheduled to expire in May, said Darryl Piercy, senior planner for the Kitsap County Planning Department.Feedback gathered from next week's forum will be used along with public testimony at a planning commission meeting scheduled for March 28, Piercy said.We want to get a good feeling of what the public envisions for the corridor, he said. They'll have the opportunity to talk about all different aspects of the policies.Based on the public input gathered at the meetings and studies being conducted, Piercy said the commission has several options available to them. Rules from the interim policy could be maintained, modified or even eliminated in their final recommendation.At the forum, scheduled from 7-9 p.m. at the Fairgrounds Pavilion, representatives of the planning department will explain the interim policies and what effect they will have until their scheduled expiration in May.Members of the audience will then break into smaller groups to discuss different aspects of the development that the policies affect, such as pedestrian access, landscaping and building size. The groups will rotate through the various subjects, allowing the audience to speak with representatives from DCD, the City of Bremerton and the state Highway Department. Commission-ers Tim Botkin and Chris Endresen also plan to attend.After the workshops, Piercy said representatives would provide the audience with a timeline of the decision-making process and other ways they can provide input for the project.While whatever policies are adopted will apply to commercial development, Piercy said housing, which is regulated by zoning ordinances, would not be affected.Frankly, it's not our intention to go down that path, Piercy said. We feel that (commercial development) has the largest impact on the corridor's ability to handle traffic safely.But Vivian Henderson of the Kitsap Association of Realtors said the implementation of the interim policies was unfair to businesses and property owners along SR-303. Henderson said placing the regulation into effect without sufficient public input has made the commission's actions a farce.We do not feel that the commissioners were fair and open in the public hearing process, she said. What is the big hurry for allowing this interim draft to be put into action without due process?One of the many issues Henderson said the association is dissatisfied with is the regulation of the amount and type of glass on the front of the storefronts. Vital shelf space will be lost, she said, if businesses are required to have windows where they could have displays instead.With this policy, we're even dictating to retailers how they need to market their products, she said."

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