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There's good news and there's bad news
The Wheaton Way corridor has most certainly suffered its share of disappointments over the years.
Disappointments that have been the direct results of poor planning and leadership as well as extremely poor investor and private property owner decisions.
I really feel for the businesses that do exist and succeed there. I frequent many of them as often as I can for what services or goods I need and can still obtain within the city of Bremerton.
The good news is that at the last Bremerton City Council meeting, the council voted to revoke the long term development plan that never really fit what was needed, desired or more importantly affordable for Bremerton.
While in place, this plan with its visions of pedestrian and bike pathways connecting a mixture of residential and retail stifled a considerable amount of development that could have and should have occurred.
It was incapable of accommodating the needs of what developers and well established nationally and regionally recognized businesses with money in hand to construct were asking for.
The misconception prevails that it is and was only the city’s business and occupation tax to blame for driving away or preventing new businesses from operating within the Wheaton area. When, in fact, it was actually a restrictive development plan that caused the city to turn away what could have been some much needed improvements and new businesses.
I would like to thank the city planning commission for their recommendations and hard work they put in on getting this plan revoked.
Now that the Wheaton area goes back to being a less restrictive mix of high-density commercial corridor and residential zoning you would think that existing businesses who are currently bringing in that all important tax revenue to the city would be encouraged to thrive and improve.
Unfortunately that is not the case.
In a “cut off your nose to spite your face” type of move, the city of Bremerton administration has decided to engage its own determination of what types of business does and does not “belong” within the city limits to fit individual agendas.
Sure, on the surface certain corrections and leeway regarding business operations within certain types of zoning might seem reasonable. However, this leeway is not always exercised in the best interest of the city.
One example is the for-profit needle exchange that was operating out of compliance within a residential area.
Also, of additional note was the occupancy and business permit that was approved for the bondage club that moved into the Charleston area.
Approval was granted for this additional adult-only business despite existing city restrictions and a rather hard limit on the number of such adult type businesses that are allowed to exist at any one time within the city limits.
Mistakes with permitting and the questionable choices of enforcement within a pick and choose environment of what does or does not “belong” only undermines the faith and trust of the existing business community which works very hard to operate within the existing rules or for those new businesses looking to locate their operations in Bremerton under a community development system that is clearly defined and is executed in a correct and professional manner.