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Public help to revamp Comprehensive Plan

OK. We give up. What’s a “charette”?

Leaflets have been spread all over town announcing a “charette” would be held to determine Bremerton’s future.

“You’ve heard this word ‘charette’ and wondered what it was,” new Bremerton city planner Matthew Keough said to about 75 citizens who’d gathered in the “Grand Room” at the Max Hale Center (former Elks Lodge) Tuesday, April 30. “It’s a planning method to enable you, the people, to determine where your city will be in 20 years.”

Specifically, “charette,” when used as a planning and zoning term, refers to a “rigorous and inclusive planning process undertaken by an inter-disciplinary team (or teams) over a brief time period.”

In Bremerton’s case, six committees have been formed to enlist input of citizens on how to improve such things as:

• Housing

• City Services

• Transportation

• Land use

• Environment

• Economic development

Each committee is headed by a planning commissioner. The whole is overseen by the Building and Planning Department. The charette is part of a process to overhaul the city’s aging Comprehensive Plan. State law mandates an overhaul by September.

The 75 citizens at last week’s charette rotated their time between six stations or tables — each representing a topic listed above. Each table was covered with a large, color map of the city, a blown-up list of goals, and a big blank sheet of paper — a yard square — for suggestions. People were encouraged to write down suggestions, talk among themselves, and mark maps as to where they wanted, say, a bridge or a park.

It was organized chaos. Eavesdropping at various tables:

• “If we’re going to have another bridge, it should be at a place we don’t already have one,” said one citizen.

• “The problem with high density around a park, is that then no one would use the park,” said another.

• “The Manette Bridge is one of two examples of Victorian architecture in the city, and we should find a way to preserve it.”

• “Are there signs up about littering in town? We need more stone garbage containers.”

• “How about a garbage can for pet waste?”

• “I told a city worker a public garbage can was full, and it (the can) was gone a week later.”

• “On housing ... there needs to be more pride of ownership.”

And so it went — for about two hours. Stated goals included such things as (in economics) a supportive business climate, homeowner majority, regional connectivity, etc. From the environmental committee: access to nature, development should contribute to green space, water sources need to be protected, etc.

Planning commissioners include B. Scott Buckingham, John W. Cockburn, Joan Dingfield, Jessica Kennedy, Andy Kosusko, Clarence Nelson and Angela S. Wood.

About 30 citizens attended the first public meeting of the Comp Plan Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) in February.

The timeline on revising the city’s Comp Plan is divided into three sections:

• “Visioning” from January to about March

• “Drafting” from about March to June

• “Adopting” from about June to September.

For more information, call B&P at 478-5275.

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