PORT ORCHARD — A hearings board decision that went in Kitsap County’s favor has cleared away the last land-use litigation pending against the county. Washington State Growth Management Hearings Board has ruled that the county’s 2006 comprehensive plan, as amended in August, fully complies with requirements of the state’s Growth Management Act. The board endorsed new urban growth areas, as approved by the Kitsap County commissioners after extensive public review.
County planners spent nearly a year revising the 2006 plan after the State Court of Appeals ruled that a fixed average density of four homes per acre in urban areas did not adequately take into account local circumstances. The court also said the growth hearings board erred by applying a “bright line” rule that allowed a blanket four-units-per-acre as the minimum zoning in urban areas.
Planners spent months this year analyzing growth patterns in each urban growth area of the county, eventually concluding that an average five-units-per-acre was more appropriate. The revised density resulted in shrinking urban growth areas for Silverdale, Port Orchard, Kingston and Central Kitsap by a total of 21 percent.