City embarks on new direction

The Bremerton City Council steered the city’s growth into a new direction as it gave its final approval to the city’s new comprehensive plan at its meeting on Wednesday at the Norm Dicks Government Center, 345 Sixth St.

By a clear margin of 7-2 with only Councilmen Cecil McConnell and Brad Gehring expressing opposition to the plan, the Council embraced the centers concept for new growth in the city.

Council members struggled with the term “smart growth” in the plan, but after lengthy discussion agreed with the concepts of the plan.

“Smart growth basically says that cities ought to do what we’re doing in this plan,” said Councilman Will Maupin. “I don’t see a problem with that term.”

However, most Council members agreed with Councilwoman Carol Arends’ observation that smart growth is about intelligent growth.

“It’s about doing the best you can with what you have, and that’s what we’re doing with the plan,” Arends said.

One of the key concepts in the plan is creating urban growth centers throughout the city, said Chris Hugo, the city’s director of community development.

“The city can’t support all of the centers at one time, and it can only support one or two at time,” Hugo said. “It may take five years for one to take hold.”

The department of community development will ask the Council for its priorities regarding, which centers should be created initially after the first of the year, he said.

“The zoning package will have provisions to promote the growth of the centers,” he said. “East Park and West Park are recognized in the plan as redevelopment opportunities.”

After the Council approved the plan without any public comment, Hugo thanked the Council for its efforts.

“This should be the last plan the Council has to work on for the next 20 to 40 years,” he said. “This plan was designed to be durable and can be updated every two years.”

The Planning Commission will begin its work on the city’s new zoning regulations on Dec. 21 at 5:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers at the Norm Dicks Government Center, 345 Sixth St.

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