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Bremerton Lanes renovation in the gutter

Frank Evans has put a halt to hiring employees for Bremerton Lanes, a bowling alley that was slated to open in Bremerton in August.

Evans, owner of the biggest bowling alley in the state, Kenmore Lanes, bought the empty West Park Lanes building on Bruen Avenue planning to refurbish the building.

Evans was forced to stop hiring because he has yet to receive his building permit from the city of Bremerton, he said.

More than 300 people turned in applications replying to Evans’ help-wanted ads. He had planned to hire 50 employees, and would have paid about $4.5 million annually in payroll, Evans said. Letters will be sent to applicants explaining why they can’t be hired.

“I can see why people build in the county rather than the city,” Evans said. “Because it’s faster.”

Now Evans wishes he had started from scratch, and built a new building in an unincorporated area.

According to Chris Hugo, director of community development, Evans turned in his application for a building permit on July 9. Hugo said the planning department is waiting for him to meet parking and landscaping requirements before he is awarded the permit. Evans chose not to go through the pre-submittal process, where code requirements are explained, Hugo said.

“That’s probably why we’re where we are on this,” Hugo said.

Evans countered that he did go through the process, and that his architects and attorneys have been in constant contact with the planning department.

Evans hoped the bowling alley would be open before bowling season, which begins Sept. 3. Now it might be another year because if he misses the peak season, business will be slow.

“I never would’ve imagined in a million years it would be this difficult to deal with the city of Bremerton,” Evans said.

When Bremerton Lanes opens it will include a restaurant, bar, billiards, pull tabs and 36 lanes. Evans said everything will be open 24 hours except the bar, which will close at 2 a.m.

Evans originally planned to open a mini-casino as well, but because of permitting hassles he scrapped the plan.

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