District 1 Newsletter

North Kitsap Newsletter

Members of the National Council of County Association Executives meet at Mount Vernon, George Washington’s home, to advocate for county issues at the national level.

Legislative priorities for 2020

WA State Leg logo

The Washington State Legislature is in the middle of its short session now, which is expected to run through early March. Kitsap County Commissioners and other elected officials have identified priorities that we’re closely monitoring. Many of Kitsap County’s legislative priorities mirror those of the Washington State Association of Counties, including:

  • Opposing new unfunded mandates
  • Fish passage barrier removal
  • Funding for public defense in the court system (currently funded at less than 4 percent of actual cost)
  • Funding stream for Involuntary Treatment Act for those that pose a danger to themselves or others.
  • Transportation funding, especially to cover the implications of the passage of I-976.

In addition to the above statewide issues, there are a few that Kitsap County is advocating for and following closely in Olympia.

  • SB 6436 – Limiting residential location of sexually violent predators in local communities and increasing community notification requirements.
  • SB 6411 – Allowing Kitsap County to provide a multi-family property tax exemption to incentivize affordable housing.
  • SB 6566 – Amending Kitsap County’s Comprehensive Plan schedule to allow for access to 2020 Census and Office of Financial Management data before the next required update
  • A Capital Budget request for $150,000 to build a fishing pier and restore a creek at Norwegian Point Park in Hansville

Watching what happens in Olympia can have a direct effect on Kitsap County taxpayers. The Board of County Commissioners watches the legislative sessions closely, with the help of a lobbyist, to ensure that Kitsap County taxpayers don’t get stuck with the bill for any new legislation.

Fix It Fair

Fix-it Fair coming to Kingston in April

In an effort to decrease the amount of waste going into our landfills, the Solid Waste Division of Kitsap County Public Works is teaming up with Zero Waste Washington and community members to put on Fix-it Fairs. The first one was held in Port Orchard January 25. North Kitsap residents will have the opportunity to participate in an event from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 25 at the Village Green Community Center, 26159 Dulay Rd NE, Kingston.

Repairs are free and first come, first served but pre-registration is strongly recommended. The events are family friendly and refreshments will be offered. To learn more about what can be fixed at the Fix-it Fair and other guidelines, and to pre-register, go to www.kcowa.us/fixit .

Fix-it Fairs offer other benefits. They support and grow the repair community, provide an option to people with lower incomes who can’t afford to buy new items to replace broken ones, and give those who want to learn to repair items a chance to apprentice with seasoned fixers.

Most people have items lying around our homes that we’ve been meaning to fix, but maybe don’t have the right tools or the knowledge to get it done. The Fix-it Fair will hopefully inspire residents to finally get those items fixed. Mendable clothing, lamps, small appliances, electronics, furniture, bicycles, jewelry, toys and outdoor equipment are some of the items that can be repaired at the fairs. If special parts are needed, residents will need to bring those with them, but common basic parts and tools will be on-hand.

Funding for the Fix-it Fairs is provided through a Public Participation Grant from the Washington Department of Ecology. To find out more or to register, visit www.kcowa.us/fixit or contact Caitlin Newman at cnewman@co.kitsap.wa.us or (360) 337-4678.

Naomi Maasberg and Joleen Palmer honored at Kingston Town Hall

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At a Kingston Town Hall in December, Naomi Maasberg and Joleen Palmer were presented with a resolution from the Kitsap County Board of Commissioners honoring them and their work. Naomi and Joleen established the Stillwaters Environmental Center in Kingston 20 years ago to advance scientific research, education and restoration in Puget Sound lowland streams and estuaries. Stillwaters is located on the Carpenter Creek Estuary and hosts community celebrations, watershed tours, environmental classes and discussion groups. They also work with Western Washington University’s Huxley College of Environmental Studies to provide internship and study opportunities for students. 

Naomi and Joleen were instrumental in helping Kitsap County get state funds to replace undersized culverts with bridges over South Kingston and West Kingston roads. The bridges restore tidal flow to the estuary, improving fish and wildlife habitat. Stillwaters volunteers will continue monitoring the water and changes to the surrounding environment for years to come.

Naomi and Joleen have retired, but their legacy and the environmental improvements they championed continue to benefit Puget Sound. For more information about Stillwaters Environmental Center activities and opportunities, visit http://www.stillwatersenvironmentalcenter.org/.

The countywide bag ban is here

Bag ban

Hopefully, most of you are getting used to the single-use plastic bag ban that went into effect on January 1. Kitsap County, along with the cities of Port Orchard and Bremerton, passed ordinances with the same requirements for retailers that went into effect on the same day. Bainbridge Island has banned single-use plastic bags since 2012. The City of Poulsbo is looking into passing an ordinance as well.

Thin, single-use plastic bags are no longer allowed at checkout stands. Ideally, shoppers will bring their own reusable bags. If they forget, they can purchase a thicker plastic or a paper bag for a fee of $0.08 each Thin plastic bags are still allowed to protect and contain produce or bulk foods, takeout, and dry- cleaning.

There are several reasons County Commissioners and local city councils passed bag ban ordinances. Kitsap County alone uses 87 million bags a year. Washington state overall accounts for two billion a year, yet only 12 percent of them were recycled. Many bags end up in Puget Sound, creating hazards for wildlife and increasing concentrations of dangerous chemicals in the water and in fish and shellfish we eat.

Plastic bags have a monetary toll as well. People mistakenly put their recyclables into these plastic bags and then toss them into recycle bins. The bags end up tangled in sorting machines, requiring workers to shut them down and clear the bags out. This costs time and money.

The state legislature may pass a state-wide plastic ban in the future, but county leaders did not want to wait. For more information on the ban, including tips to help remember your reusable bags, visit https://www.kitsapgov.com/pw/Pages/bringyourownbag.aspx.

Comprehensive Plan amendments

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Under the Growth Management Act, counties in Washington may choose to consider minor amendments to their comprehensive plans every year. The 2019 amendments to the Kitsap County Comprehensive Plan will soon be submitted to County Commissioners for a final public hearing and adoption. The public hearing is currently scheduled during the Commissioners’ regular business meeting, which begins at 5:30 p.m. March 9 in the County Administration Building, 619 Division Street, Port Orchard. Final deliberations are scheduled April 1.

One of the major amendments under consideration is a revision to the Kingston Urban Village Center (UVC) zone. The proposed amendment repeals redundant design standards, defines a high-capacity transit station area around the Kingston ferry terminal, creates new parking standards for transit areas, and updates allowed uses within the zone. One of the changes that could be most noticeable to residents is an allowance for taller buildings. The existing 35-foot height limit will be increased to 45-feet if the area above 35-feet is stepped back from the property lines.

Although comprehensive plans and zoning regulations can seem very dull, they affect what can be built in your community. The public is encouraged to look at the proposed changes, ask questions and comment at this point in the process. Once a building or development is permitted, it’s too late. To learn more about the 2019 Comprehensive Plan Amendments, visit the webpage. The Planning Commission staff report for the Kingston UVC update is available here.

comp plan zoning map

Preparing for inclement winter weather

Inclement Weather

As our recent snow storms reminded us, we should be prepared for winter weather. Kitsap County has a team in place to keep citizens updated on road conditions and whether county offices will be operating on different schedules. The county’s Inclement Weather page has updated information about road conditions and resource links for information and preparation for winter weather. You may also keep up-to-date by calling the Inclement Weather Phone Line at (360) 337-5775 or following the county on Facebook or Twitter.

Business Spotlight: Kingston Firehouse Theater

Firehouse logo

Four blocks up from the Kingston Ferry Terminal on Highway 104 is the Kingston Firehouse Theater. Housed in a (you guessed it!) former fire station, the theater shows first-run movies as well as independent films on its two screens. You can also rent one of the stages for private events.

Craig Smith, the founder/owner of the Firehouse Theater, is an Indianola native who graduated from North Kitsap High School in 1972. He founded the soccer program at NKHS in 1981 and has been the Kingston High School head soccer coach since the school opened in 2007. “I’m known more for my soccer than the theater in some circles,” Smith says. 

Four blocks up from the Kingston Ferry Terminal on Highway 104 is the Kingston Firehouse Theater. Housed in a (you guessed it!) former fire station, the theater shows first-run movies as well as independent films on its two screens. You can also rent one of the stages for private events.

Craig Smith, the founder/owner of the Firehouse Theater, is an Indianola native who graduated from North Kitsap High School in 1972. He founded the soccer program at NKHS in 1981 and has been the Kingston High School head soccer coach since the school opened in 2007. “I’m known more for my soccer than the theater in some circles,” Smith says.

The Firehouse Theater uses real butter on the popcorn served there, unlike larger theaters. He said they go through about 100 pounds of butter a month, and often people stop in to buy popcorn without seeing a movie. Volunteers help save on labor costs, selling tickets and concessions in exchange for a free movie ticket.

A December 2019 Wall Street Journal article (yes, THAT Wall Street Journal) highlighted the Firehouse Theater and challenges faced by the small local business in an era when fewer people are attending movies and profit margins are slim. The article got the attention of CBS news, which sent a film crew to Kingston to film a segment that will air on CBS Sunday Morning at 7 a.m. February 9, the day of the Academy Awards. At the urging of a CBS producer, friends of the theater will be launching a Go Fund Me campaign to help with the costs of running the business. Look for a link to that soon. 

To celebrate the Academy Awards, the theater will host its annual Oscar party February 9 to watch the awards show live in high-definition on the big screen. The awards ceremony begins at 5 p.m. Kafe Neo, located next door to the Firehouse Theatre, will provide the food, and previous attendees guarantee a fun evening.

To find out more about the Firehouse Theater, see what movies are playing or buy tickets, visit http://www.kingstonfirehouse.com/index.php or Facebook page.

Upcoming Walk & Talks

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The North Kitsap county commissioner continues monthly Walk & Talks on the first Saturday of each month. February’s Walk &Talk will be in Keyport, with events to follow in Kingston and Indianola. If you have ideas, compliments, or complaints, or just want to hear what the commissioner has been up to, you are welcome to join. The walks start at 9:30 a.m.

• February 1 – Keyport Mercantile, 15499 Washington Avenue
• March 7 – Kingston Office, 26076 Illinois Avenue
• April 4 – Indianola Country Store, 9175 N. Shore Drive

For more information, contact the Commissioner’s Office at (360) 337-7080 or click here for a Walk & Talk flyer.