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Council moves ahead with comprehensive plan

Bremerton residents showed the City Council their overwhelming support for the new comprehensive plan, but remained silent during the hearing on the 2005 city budget.

“What resulted is a great plan, and if we move ahead and implement the plan, it will be a better city in the future,” said Councilman Will Maupin.

Maupin expressed his thanks for the work done not only by the Planning Commission, but residents of the city as well.

Acting chairwoman of the Planning Commission Linda Streissguth said the new plan describes a vision of a new more vibrant Bremerton.

“The centers represent a very new concept for the city and while it represents a new direction, it also represents a lot of work ahead,” Streissguth said.

One of the challenges will be implementing disciplined zoning regulations to ensure the successful implementation of the plan, Streissguth said.

Councilman Mike Shepherd said he learned lessons from working on the city’s old comprehensive plan that he shared with other council members who hadn’t worked on one before.

One of the reasons the old plan failed was because the expectations for population growth weren’t realistic, Shepherd said.

“By being more realistic with those number, we can think realistically about where growth is going to be happening,” he said.

Even though the centers concept has been used in larger cities, Shepherd said he has some reservations about its success in smaller city like Bremerton.

“While I believe the city should be one center, it hasn’t worked out,” Shepherd said. “By building into small pieces and by concentrating our efforts on these small pieces or linch pins, I hope it will be successful.”

Several residents spoke in support of the comprehensive plan and thanked the city its respect for pubic input.

“I’m relatively new to Bremerton, so I wasn’t quite sure how citizen input would be treated,” said Richard Nerf.

By being heavily involved in the Shaping Bremerton process, Nerf said he was surprised by the city staff’s and City Council’s reception to public input.

“I found through the process that I believe citizen input has been treated respectfully and has been integrated into the plan as well as it possibly can,” Nerf said.

While the Council and city staff has accommodated public input on the comprehensive plan, one Bremerton resident spoke out about the Council’s changes that have affected public comment during its meetings.

“There has been a slow but sure reduction of public access to the Council,” said Susan Brown, who was involved in the Shaping Bremerton project. “It’s now an afterthought that the public has access to you.”

The Council has also limited public comment to the business it is conducting

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