PORT ORCHARD — Kitsap County planners have embarked on a three-year process to update the county’s comprehensive land-use plan and to make it more … well … comprehensive than ever before.
The county commissioners have put out the word that they want more people involved in the planning this time, so that the resulting document will reflect the aspirations of county residents when it is adopted in 2016.
“The next comprehensive plan update is critically important for county residents, as it sets the tone and direction of county government for 20 years,” said County Commissioner Charlotte Garrido in a prepared statement. “Jobs, businesses, housing, transportation, protecting the natural environment, quality communities and providing services are the key elements of the plan. We need citizen involvement.”
This week, the county unveiled a new website, CompPlan.kitsapgov.com, to foster two-way communications between planners and county residents. As a starting point, the website contains a survey to gauge what people like and don’t like about their neighborhoods and the county as a whole. The site also contains existing planning documents, including a list of “vision statements” that outline goals adopted for the previous plan.
The vision statements are one of the first issues to be discussed as the county commissioners and planners hold a series of public workshops starting Sept. 30, according to David Greetham, who is spearheading the planning effort for the Department of Community Development.
The workshops will be Sept. 30 at Poulsbo City Hall, 200 NE Moe St.; Oct. 7 at Silverdale Community Center, 9729 Silverdale Way NW; and Oct. 14 at Kitsap County Administrative Building, 619 Division St. Doors will open at 5 p.m., with discussions planned from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Since January, planners have been reviewing the existing comprehensive plan and working with other agencies inside and outside of government, Greetham said. They have identified what goals have been accomplished from the previous plan, what more needs to be done, what changes will demand new approaches, what language is duplicated in the plan and what more needs to be done to meld individual community plans into the overall county plan.
For the first time, projections of residential and commercial growth will be based on a newly updated Kitsap County Buildable Lands Report, which will describe where local governments have achieved their density goals in urban growth areas, where they have fallen short and where future growth can be accommodated.
This is not the county’s first buildable lands report, but it will be the first completed in sync with the comp plan, including up-to-date information about current land capacity, said planner Katrina Knutson of DCD. County planners have been working closely with city planners to make the document as relevant as possible to the comprehensive planning process, she said. A draft of the report is scheduled for release in October.
The open houses will include an explanation about the planning effort and how people can become involved, Greetham said. Tables will be set up to focus on specific planning issues, and people can offer suggestions about how to proceed and whether the existing “vision statements” needed to be amended.
“There will be no new language to comment on at this time,” he noted.
Larry Keeton, director of the Department of Community Development, said success in drafting a new Kitsap County Shoreline Master Program led him to call for involvement from other groups, including Kitsap Public Health District, Kitsap Economic Development Alliance, Kitsap Community Block Grant Program, Kitsap Human Services and Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office.
“It has to be a holistic approach if we want quality communities,” Keeton said. “Our outreach aims to reach all of our citizens, including people who may not have participated in the past.”