A group of property owners who live near a proposed residential development at Tracyton Boulevard and Kint Drive took their concerns to the Central Kitsap Community Council last week, only to be disappointed.
The group was asking the council to recommend to Kitsap County Commissioner Josh Brown that the project not happen. Brown is the commission that represents the area where the development is slated to be.
Ron Gillespie, a property owner near the proposed development, told the council that the group had “gotten no where,” when taking their concerns to Kitsap County.
“Our concerns have gone into a bureaucratic void,” Gillespie said. “In the past, citizens could appeal land use decisions directly to the county commissioners. But now, to appeal, we have to go before a hearing examiner and pay $500. It seems the commissioners have washed their hands of any involvement in these issues.” (The hearing examiner process came into place several years ago.)
At issue is the proposed development of nine homes on 1.65 acres. It is classified as a short subdivision and by county land use rules, is a process that is handled within the community development office. Jeff Reed, who owns the property, submitted plans to the county in June 2012. But several components were incomplete and a completed application was filed and accepted by the county in January. Notice was then sent to the neighboring land owners advising them of the proposed development.
During that time, the zoning (as part of the Urban Growth Plan) was changed from urban low residential to rural residential, which would not allow for the proposed nine homes on 1.65 acres.
“We don’t feel the development should be considered to be vested,” Gillespie said. “We think it was rushed through to allow it to happen, even though the county still had missing information and questions about the application.”
That isn’t correct, according to Jeff Rowe, deputy director of the department of community development for Kitsap County.
“There are just too many misconceptions about this project,” he said, after hearing the neighbor’s complaints. He was at the Central Kitsap Community Council’s meeting to make an unrelated presentation. “What they need to understand is that we have a completed application. The property owner has submitted everything that he needs to at this stage.
“But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t time for review and revisions. We’re just now beginning our preliminary review and we will address their concerns.”
Primary on that list is storm water detention.
More than one neighbor said that they have experienced flooding on their property and in their basements, in part because the lot in question has had many trees removed and they say several feet of topsoil was removed and sand was brought in to absorb some of the moisture.
“In short, a wetland was filled and the soil that was tested was the fill that was brought in,” Gillespie said. “That’s just one of the things about this application that doesn’t ring true.”
The neighbors fear that there is not enough retention area for storm water, and once more of the acreage is covered with concrete and impermeable surfaces, more water will come pouring onto their land.
But owner and developer Jeff Reed, said he has followed all county regulations and has professional engineers working on the project.
“I’m doing everything that I’m supposed to do with regard to storm water on that property,” he said. “I’ve spent two years trying to get this project ready and I can tell you, Kitsap County has made me play by the rules, 100 percent.”
Reed said he was more than willing to meet with the neighbors and work with them on their concerns.
“I’ve never gotten one complaint from any of them, and I’ve been at the property a lot and I’ve talked with some of them.
“To me, there’s only one issue here and that’s the issue of ‘not in my neighborhood.’ The GMA has worked against developers for many years and now it’s swinging the other way.”
Richard Shattuck, president of the community council, said the council wouldn’t make a recommendations to county commissioners on this development because the application had already been accepted by the county. But he advised the upset neighbors to meet with county officials and see that their concerns are addresses in the review stages now underway.
Commissioner Brown was out of town and didn’t attend the council’s meeting. He was not available for comment on the issue.
County officials said the average length for the review process from the time a complete application is received, to the time that bull dozers arrive to begin digging, is about six months.