To rezone or not to rezone?

Ron Ross will be back in the limelight Thursday morning during a Kitsap County Hearing Examiner public hearing. The hearing begins at 9 a.m. at the Kitsap County Courthouse in Port Orchard and the subject of rezoning 144 acres in Royal Valley is slated for 10:45 a.m.

Ross, a longtime Central Kitsap resident and the owner of Royal Valley LLC, and his neighbor, George Linder, are asking the county to rezone a plot from its current one home per every five acres to one to five homes per acre. The land in question is about one-quarter mile east of Central Valley Road and is bordered by Waaga Way to the south and by NE Paulson Road to the north.

The bordering land is zoned rural residential (one to five homes per acre).

At an informal public hearing on June 3, neighbors in the area expressed their concerns with the request. They had 150 signatures to protest the idea.

The change would require an amendment to the county’s comprehensive plan. The comprehensive plan is a guideline mandated by the Growth Management Act that outlines the county’s future land usage.

Ross filed the zoning request on April 16, but it hit a snag on May 24 when the Kitsap County Department of Community Development requested Ross complete an environmental impact study of how developing one to five houses per acre would affect the area. The study would cost an estimated $20,000-$50,000.

On June 9, Ross and Linder appealed the request for an environmental impact study. The hearing on Thursday will deal with that appeal.

William Palmer of W.M. Palmer Consultants in Port Orchard will represent Ross and Linder. He will be arguing a couple of major points on why the study is not necessary:

n He contends that the zoning request is right in line with what the county intended when it was working on its growth plan back in 1998. Putting one to five houses per acre in that area, he said, will not have a significant direct impact.

n A study isn’t necessary until there is a specific project planned. Currently, there is not a project planned, there is only a zoning request.

n The area already has the infrastructure to support one to five houses per acre, Palmer said, with water and sewer lines that run through the property.

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