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Rosses argue for Central Valley ballfield project
How complicated can a pair of Pee Wee ballfields be?
Kitsap County Hearing Examiner Steve Causseaux heard both sides of a simmering brouhaha Wednesday, Jan. 8, and will be back with a decision in about two weeks.
It all started last summer with long-time Pee Wee sports boosters, Pete and Ron Ross of Silverdale, putting a couple of small practice fields on their property at the southwest corner of Central Valley and Paulson roads.
Neighbor Mahlon Wixson to the south on Central Valley worried one of the fields was too close to his house. Home plate on one of the field was within yards of his home. Wixon wondered if the Rosses had gotten building permits for moving so much earth; didnt like not being notified, was concerned about a nearby salmon stream (Hoot Creek), and was concerned about parking and traffic too little of the former and too much of the latter.
During informal conversations with former CK Commissioner Tim Botkin, the Rosses said theyd gotten the impression they didnt need to go through the county permitting process, since they were moving less than 500 cubic yards of earth. They said they only moved 150 yards to level existing pastures, already nearly level. Wixson estimated they moved more like 1,500 yards, and filed a formal complaint with the county.
The county admitted they may have misled the Rosses, apologized, examined the site, and stated that since the fields were already mostly finished, a compromise could be reached to ensure completion.
At the hearing examiner meeting, Wixson amassed a dozen or more neighbors testifying that though they loved youth sports, they were worried about no building permits, lack of notification, little parking (16 spaces), salmon (in Hoot, a tributary of Barker Creek), and traffic.
Traffic concerned them because of a small convenience store across the street from the fields, which they claimed could prove an attractive nuisance for kids on a Central Valley road posted at 35-50 mph and well travelled.
This has been pasture for some time, testified Pete Ross. We intend no harm, and to enhance the stream. The Rosses said they have already reseeded and fenced the fields.
Neighbors protesting the project said the 16 parking spaces were not nearly enough, and were in a position forcing cars to back out onto Paulson.
County staff admitted county code forbids such parking arrangements, but said it may be allowed in this case if the fields remain practice fields only, with no competitive games. Staff received special permission from Public Works on the parking issue since Paulson had few houses (about two dozen).
Testimony indicated there were 47 Pee Wee teams, 650 kids, but only five fields in Silverdale. Practice fields were needed.
Weve never turned kids away, Ron Ross testified, Ive even paid for some kids to join. It costs $1,500 to use CK School fields were a non-profit, all volunteer organization. We cant afford much. The fields would be used by 7- through 10-year-olds.
Neighbor Gay Egelson, who works with Girls fast-pitch and is a self-described professional designer of sports fields and facilities, said the Rosses fields are small, and fences should keep balls out of the road and neighbors yards.
Wixson and neighbors testified they doubted this. They pointed out there was a VFW clubhouse nearby and another ballfield which routinely drew 30-40 cars and many people.
A third alternative was raised by neighbor John Olson (not the editor of this newspaper), who lives with his wife on Paulson.
Maybe a win-win on this would be to use only one field, he said. It would provide (enough) parking and if the field is used at the corner, it would distance the action from Wixson.
Wixson claims he will move if both fields went in.
Others said stern warnings by coaches, about the store across the street, would keep the kids from straying, and taller fences can be built if necessary.
Ron Ross testified that the Pee Wees exist on a shoestring. If the project is reduced to one field, it would become unaffordable and have to be abandoned.