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Neighbors express access concerns

Residents in the vicinity of a proposed land vacation for the expansion of Olympic College’s parking lot voiced their concerns about accessibility during Wednesday night’s City Council meeting.

The proposal would vacate a portion of the alley between 13th and 16th Streets and a portion of 15th Street between Warren and Broadway Avenues.

“The alleyway is where I drive my car to park in the the back of my house,” said Justin Bland, who lives on Warren Avenue.

The alley provides the safest and quickest access to his residence, Bland said.

City engineer Ken Meacham assured the Council and concerned residents that public access would not be affected by the land vacation.

“What you see there today is what will be there,” Meacham said. “It will be exactly what you see today.”

Councilman Mike Shepherd, who represents the area, said part of the confusion has to do with a the lack of a clear picture of the proposal.

“I think it will be more clear if we have a picture and people can actually see it,” Shepherd said.

He plans on scheduling a meeting with the neighbors, city engineer and representatives from OC to discuss the proposal before the next Council meeting.

The Council unanimously approved the first reading of the ordinance after the discussion.

The other proposed land vacation near Kitsap Transit’s Gateway project was approved unanimously and without any public comment.

The proposal would give a portion of Coontz Street lying between Callow Avenue and Charleston Boulevard and the alley lying between Coontz Street and Charleston Boulevard to Kitsap Transit.

In other business, the Council approved the first reading of an amendment to the city’s municipal code relating to critical land use decisions and enforcement of violations of the critical areas code.

“It corrects the code to make reference to the zoning code for appeals to the Hearing Examiner,” said city attorney Roger Lubovich.

The amendment updates the code and helps make enforcement more workable, Lubovich said.

The city’s goal in land use enforcement is not to raise funds, but to get voluntary compliance, said Chris Hugo, the city’s community development director.

“All enforcement acts are part of the Bremerton Municipal Code,” Hugo said. “Our intent is get compliance to get things fixed.”

The Council also approved the draft of the 2005 Community Development Block Grant advisory community recommendations.

The recommendations will be incorporated into the CDBG action plan, which will be forwarded to HUD for review.

The Council also finalized several appointments during its weekly meeting.

Sharon Cromley and Sharon Shrader were appointed to the Bremerton Housing Authority Board of Directors and Sheldon Parr was appointed to the Public Access Citizens Advisory Committee.

The Council will meet at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday in City Hall, 239 Fourth Street. The Council is waiting for the final installation of the audio/visual equipment in its chambers at the Norm Dicks Government Center before having its first meeting in its new facility.

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