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Bremerton Council approves South Kitsap Industrial Area annexation

Bremerton City Council approved a plan to annex the South Kitsap Industrial Area (SKIA) into the city Wednesday night, but made no promise to either honor or ignore a previous agreement for Port Orchard to provide SKIA’s wastewater services.

City council approved a petition to annex SKIA South. The council already approved a petition to annex SKIA North and SKIA South still must go before the county’s Boundary Review Board.

The annexation was characterized as one of the most important land actions in the history of Bremerton due to its increase of the area and bringing Bremerton Airport into the city limits.

During testimony, land owner David Overton expressed support for Bremerton’s “stable leadership and competent staff,” joining later with Bremerton Mayor Cary Bozeman and two Port of Bremerton commissioners to laud the decision.

Port Orchard Development Director James Weaver spoke during the Bremerton public hearing, requesting the agreement be honored, while saying that cooperation between the cities would represent “a joint economic powerhouse” that will benefit the region. But aside from a reference from City Councilman Mike Shepherd, no council member made any reference to Weaver’s request prior to the motion.

Weaver said later he was disappointed the city council chose to not take an action “that would have brought the cities together.”

He said Port Orchard would not actively oppose the annexation of SKIA by Bremerton, conceding the action “made sense legally.”

Still, he said if the situation was reversed — if Port Orchard attempted to annex land that Bremerton had invested in — Bremerton would have the same concerns as he voiced before the council.

After the meeting, Bremerton Director of Community Development Andrea Spencer said the council’s lack of acknowledgment of Weaver’s request one way or the other did not indicate a disposition on sewer service.

Whether or not Port Orchard provides sewer service “depends on the growth model we choose for the area,” she said.

On Thursday, Port Orchard Mayor Lary Coppola seconded Weaver’s disappointment, but did not close the door on legal action, as he said, “We would prefer negotiation to litigation but we believe the agreement is binding. We will go to the wall on this. And the (Port Orchard) City Council is unanimous in this opinion.”

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