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Examiner OKs Pee Wee fields

Kitsap County Hearing Examiner Steve Causseaux has issued his edict on the contested PeeWee “practice” fields in Central Valley:

“Request (for fields) granted, subject to conditions,” he said in his official 16-page decision, issued Jan 31.

It’s the “conditions” that may quash the project:

l Proximity to Hoot Creek (a salmon stream) will require a buffer zone consisting of a grassy area to the west and the planting of about 60 native trees and shrubs between the grassy area and stream.

l Ballfield owners may have to provide more parking if fields generate more use than expected through the year.

l Portable toilets must be installed.

l The fields will not be illuminated.

l Other conditions may include increasing street widths, restricting access of automobiles to certain areas, increasing or decreasing off-street parking or loading areas, landscape screening, monitoring noise and glare, creating better access, and signs.

l Plus, the facility may be limited to use of the north field only.

Ron Ross has said previously that if only one field could be used, the whole project might have to be scrapped.

The hearing examiner also noted the nearness — and lack of buffer — between the south field and complainant Mahlon Wixson, who lives just south of that field, a few yards from home plate.

In the Ross’ favor, the examiner said “The Silverdale PeeWees provide a quality, much needed sports program for the Silverdale area at no cost to the public. The practice fields will allow expansion of their program.

Baseball fields which propose no improvements other than a small shed, backstops and fencing is consistent with uses allowed in the rural area of the county.”

Both sides of the controversy took the matter before the county’s hearing examiner Jan. 8. The Ross brothers, Pete and Ron, vs. numerous neighbors who said they feared a ballpark in their midst would disturb the rural atmosphere.

Last summer, long-time Pee Wee-sports boosters, the Rosses of Silverdale, began construction on a couple of small “practice” fields on their property at the southwest corner of Central Valley and Paulson roads.

Wixson worried the southern field was too close to his house and wondered if the Rosses had received building permits for the location of the fields and for moving so much earth. He also said he didn’t like not being notified, was concerned about a nearby salmon stream, and was concerned about parking and traffic — of which there was little of the first and too much of the latter.

During informal conversations with former Commissioner Tim Botkin, the Rosses said they’d gotten the impression they didn’t need to go through the permitting process, since the project was so small. Wixson declared it a big deal and not a little one, and enlisted neighbors.

The county admitted they may have mislead the Rosses, apologized, examined the site and stated that since the fields were already mostly finished, something could probably be worked out.

At the hearing examiner meeting, Wixson amassed a dozen or more neighbors testifying that they loved youth sports, but were worried about no building permits, lack of notification, little parking (16 spaces), salmon, and traffic — especially with a small general store kitty-corner across the street from the fields, which could prove an attractive nuisance. Central Valley Road is posted 35-50 mph and well travelled.

There are 47 teams involving 650 kids in Silverdale Pee Wees, but only five fields in Silverdale. Practice fields were needed, said the Rosses. The fields would be used by 7- through 10-year-olds.

When reached Monday, Wixson alleged the Rosses didn’t care if they won or lost the ruling on the fields. He alleged the Rosses might have different purposes for the field in the future.

Pete Ross was reached and told of those allegations.

“I have no comment,” he said.

Ross said he had seen the hearing examiner’s decision, and would not comment on that either.

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