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400 years of development | Editorial
Hopefully lessons from 405 years of development in America creates a foundation under the planning department decisions and reconsiderations that have gone into the redoing of the Kitsap County Comprehensive Plan, which will be presented in preliminary form to the Board of County Commissioners on Monday.
The comprehensive plan, untranslated, is a overlay upon the landscape of bureaucratic designations such as Urban Medium Residential and Neighborhood Commercial that exist for the decision makers and planners to work with in accordance with state requirements. It also exists to keep developers from turning Washington state into a copy of the Northeast's Megolopolis that crams 50 million people onto 2 percent of the nation's land wiping out all traces of the natural world.
To the people that populate those zones, grids and sections on the map, the plan addresses self-perception. In Central Kitsap that concern is over whether people live in an urban setting or rural setting. A glaring example of the complexity in perception differences held by residents can bee seen on Darling Road, near Tracyton. The east side of the small street is lined with ranch style homes on traditional urban 1/8th acre lots; a widely different lifestyle that the west side of the street which hosts gated estate waterfront living.
One speaker at the May 4 public hearing on the redoing of the UGA boundaries, a resident of Central Kitsap, described well the essential problem of almost any planning overlay; it doesn't blend well with the topography of Kitsap County. It's true, and understandable when you consider that the township and range system was developed and implemented by Thomas Jefferson. An enlightened man on many fronts, Jefferson was a product of a time that did not seed cultural or natural borders, let alone respect them.
Another understandable scenario is that county planners and elected leadership overshot its projections while creating the comprehensive plan in 2006 as the crest of the building boom silently passed with no telltale of the pending collapse of the development-based economy that for years filled county coffers with money made on permits, property tax and sales tax.