Bremerton's Manette subarea plan still moving along

An outline of the Manette area shows the boundaries of the city’s subarea plan. - Courtesy graphic
An outline of the Manette area shows the boundaries of the city’s subarea plan.
— image credit: Courtesy graphic

Iconic Manette has a long and storied history not only in Bremerton, but throughout Kitsap County, and now city leaders are attempting to lay out a path for the area’s future that creates a harmonious balance between the past and the future.

Although the Manette Subarea Plan, which is one component of the city’s overall centers-based Comprehensive Plan, was scheduled to be completed by the end of year, the Bremerton City Council extended its completion until spring 2009 at its Sept. 24 meeting.

“Public input has played the largest role in the Manette Subarea Plan to date,” city planner Lindsey Sehmel said. “Public input will continue to shape and define the future of Manette, therefore the more input and consistent attendance that is received by the property owners and neighbors of Manette during the meetings, charettes and throughout the whole process will only guarantee that the residents’ visions of growth for the future of Manette are met.”

On Sept. 24, the city council was presented with a mountain of public input and after being briefed on the plan’s progress the board decided a longer timeframe was needed for the plan’s completion, Sehmel said.

“It is our intention that the best historical preservation methods available will be used. We have utilized well informed citizens of the Manette community to be on the Key Communicators team, representatives from the historical club, neighborhood coalition, and business association to name a few,” Sehmel said, with the area’s historic nature in mind.

The representatives on the Key Communicators team represent the entire cross-section of interests in the Manette community, and in order to best preserve and promote the community character of Manette, the participants of the next few meetings will need to define this character, she said.

“We have to have vision statements that define what the character of Manette is,” she said, adding she is hopeful a general consensus can be reached by those involved. “This will allow the group to apply them into design guidelines and development regulations for the core of Manette.”

Future elements of the plan may include parking and circulation patterns, design review, height and bulk issues, public amenities such as street furnishings and crosswalk designs and increased sidewalk widths among other things, she said.

“Traffic flow will play a large role in the development of streetscape standards, non-motorized transportation and all other pedestrian and auto related issues,” Sehmel said. “From my understanding the new bridge will have a 10-foot- wide sidewalk on the southern side of the bridge (easterly direction of traffic), this walkway will be a strong link into the Manette commercial core and the planning and development of these previously stated standards should involve it.”

There have been a wide variety of committed individuals throughout the process so far and their input and dedication is invaluable to the development of the subarea plan, she said.

“In order to have a well crafted plan it is important to have a wide variety of participants with different viewpoints, this allows for a more holistic approach to the community as a whole,” she added.

One common misconception of the process is the area under the planning for the subarea plan, she said, adding it is not the whole peninsula of Manette, but focuses on the commercial areas and residential areas that surround E. 11th Street near the Manette bridge.

The final draft is expected to go to the legislative process beginning in late spring and the Department of Community Development would like to see its adoption by May or early June, she said.

However, in order for that to happen, Sehmel said, “Until the citizens and residents of Manette clearly define the important elements of their neighborhood as worth promoting and preserving, we will not have a clear understanding of these issues.”

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