Wheaton/Riddell plan goes to Planning Commission

In 20 years motorists traveling down Wheaton Way won’t see the same drab asphalt-riddled scenery that currently exists. Instead a greener, more inviting stretch of highway will grace the landscape and make the commute less like the Interstate 5 corridor between Seattle and Olympia.

That will be made possible through the city of Bremerton’s Wheaton Way/Riddell Road subarea plan, which will go before the Planning Commission at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Norm Dicks Government Center.

The area encompasses a total of 106 acres and includes a mix of residential, retail and commercial zoning.

“It’s a state highway, but we talked about making a little bit greener,” associate planner Geoffrey Wendtland said.

Because Wheaton Way is a state highway, the city can’t dictate any changes without working with the Washington State Department of Transportation to redo the streetscape, Wendtland said.

However, an improved landscaping plan isn’t the only significant change expected in the area, he said.

The redevelopment of the Marty Goit Topsoil yard is the first major project planned as part of the new subarea plan, he said.

“There are going to be 330 housing units as part of infill at the topsoil yard,” he said.

There will also be a forest buffer on Almira Drive, which was requested by residents during the subarea adoption process, he said.

“There are a lot of nonconforming things that will change as part of the redevelopment of the area,” he said.

The most noticeable changes will be seen on the edges of the area as multifamily residential projects are blended into the character of existing single family neighborhoods in the area, he said.

The plan has been discussed since last fall as numerous residents, property owners and other interested parties have worked with the city to develop the final draft, which is being presented to the Planning Commission, he said.

“We feel we had a pretty good mix, and we think it is a reflection of what we heard from the public all along the way,” he said.

After Tuesday’s public hearing with the Planning Commission, the final step in the plan’s adoption will be a public hearing before the Bremerton City Council, which will include any recommendations from the commission, he said.

Until then the public is encouraged to continue providing comments on the plan, he said.

“We always welcome public testimony,” Wendtland said.

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