County hearing on Port Gamble's proposed dock Jan. 9

PORT GAMBLE — A public hearing on Port Gamble's proposed dock is tentatively scheduled for Jan. 9 at Kitsap County offices in Port Orchard.

Environment-related documents which evaluate the project are available for review at the Department of Community Development. The county is accepting public comment on the project until the date of the hearing. Write to:

Kitsap County Department of Community Development
Attention: Karen Ashcraft
619 Division St. — MS36
Port Orchard, WA. 98366

Olympic Property Group, the real estate arm of Pope Resources, hosted a public open house on Nov. 7 in the Hood Canal Vista Pavilion to discuss the dock project. The open house was an opportunity for North Kitsap residents to learn about the proposed dock. Company representatives made a presentation that included an overview of the proposed dock, its location and its potential benefits to the community. A question and answer session followed.

According to the Notice of Application with the county, the proposed dock will be 356 feet in length and will include an abutment, pier, truss, and gangway, as well as a primary float, seaplane float, and kayak launching float. OPG President Jon Rose said the dock proposal incorporates a number of changes that address concerns from various agencies and potential users.

Rose said the dock will accommodate up to nine boats — below the state’s threshold of 10 boats for the dock to be considered a marina. That’s been a major concern for the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe, which fears that a marina would result in shellfish closures.

“The dock will facilitate a connection between the town and the water for commerce and recreational uses that have existed since the inception of the town in 1853,” Rose said in a press release.

According to the Notice of Application, "The dock will serve as a recreational community dock for primary activities including fishing, crabbing, kayak launching, and other water-dependent recreational activities and will also be used for loading and unloading of fishing vessels, research vessels, vessels servicing the industrial users on the adjacent mill site, tour vessels, emergency fire and sheriff vessels, water taxis, charter boats and occasional float planes that are visiting Port Gamble.

"Overnight moorage will be provided at the dock for commercial and recreational vessels by invitation only ... The dock will also be used for mooring vessels associated with the adjacent upland industrial area, such as tugboats, barges, or other work-related vessels."

With the removal of other docks and structures as part of the Port Gamble Bay cleanup, there will be a reduction of 2,119 square feet of overwater cover within the bay, according to the county.

The dock is part of the upcoming evolution of Port Gamble — from mill town to historic tourism destination to year-round community. An environmental impact statement has been completed on the town’s proposed redevelopment plan, which includes construction of a hotel, stores,  restaurants, and approximately 200 new homes and a neighborhood pavilion. Century-old homes owned by Pope Resources would be sold.

An agricultural district is proposed, with a farmers market, orchard, production garden, vineyards, and a landscape and horticultural center. Plans also include a waterfront boardwalk, nature trails and parks.

Concomitantly, Pope Resources and the state Department of Ecology are working to finalize the clean-up action plan for Port Gamble Bay, which is expected to be completed by year end. Clean-is expected to take a few years. The company anticipates that the dock will be constructed after the environmental clean-up has been completed.

Also, proponents of the North Kitsap Forest & Bay Coalition are expected to complete the purchase of Pope’s North Kitsap forestland, which will be used as public open space, in March. The coalition has raised enough money to purchase 564 acres and 1.8 miles of shoreline; and another 366 acres to expand Heritage Park.

Pope and the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe are discussing the sale and purchase of the Hansville Block, 1,784 acres.


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