Thursday hearing set for Arborwood development agreement

KINGSTON — The proposed south Kingston Arborwood development is creeping toward county approval.

On Thursday morning, the Kitsap County hearing examiner will review development agreement for the proposed 751-unit neighborhood. The agreement, essentially a contract between the developer, Olympic Property Group, and the county, details how construction would proceed and what standards the development must meet. The hearing examiner will make a recommendation to the county Board of Commissioners, which has the final say on the agreement.

At public meeting last week, Olympic Property Group President Jon Rose stressed to Kingston residents construction is still a long way off.

"This project, as you might be able to tell, is in no hurry to get done," Rose said of Arborwood, which the Olympic has been planning since 1991. "It's hard to underscore how not in a hurry this project is."

Rose said because of the slumping housing market, it will likely be at least three years before Olympic begins work on the proposed South Kingston Road development. Construction could take another 20 years.

Arborwood has drawn intense interest from Kingston residents because of its scope. Olympic estimates that the development could eventually house 2,000 residents, based on an average of 2.4 residents per household. About 1,800 people currently live in the Kingston area. Arborwood would be included in the Kingston urban growth area, where higher density development is allowed under the Growth Management Act.

County Planner Dennis Oost said the Arborwood plan is a model for new developments in Washington, with residences clustered around swaths of open space and trails. Arborwood would include a 104-acre greenway.

About 50 residents attended the Oct. 1 meeting, organized by neighbors of the Arborwood property. Rose and several public officials, including Kitsap County Sheriff Steve Boyer, North Kitsap School District Superintendent Rick Jones, and representatives of several county departments answered questions for nearly two hours.

Most questions were focused on how the population spike created by Arborwood would effect public services, especially roads, sewer, water and schools.

Rose said the Arborwood proposal includes plans for a traffic roundabout at its main entrance at South Kingston Road and Taree Drive NE but its possible a traffic light would be installed instead. The county does not have plans to widen South Kingston Road or add turn lanes. A sewage treatment plant and a water tower would be built to serve the neighborhood.

Jones said the school district has included Arborwood in its long-term planning. Many schools in the district can absorb more students, he said, but the district will eventually have to bring a construction bond to voters as Arborwood and other North End developments are built. Kingston High School, the newest school in the district, was designed to have a new wing built on if needed.

George Kimball, who lives just outside the Arborwood property on Hillbend Road, said he and his neighbors are still concerned the development could damage down property values and bring congestion to South Kingston Road.

"We just hope (Rose) takes his neighbors into consideration," Kimball said.

The Kitsap County hearing examiner will review the Arborwood development agreement at 10 a.m. Oct. 8 in the County Commission Chambers, 619 Division St. Port Orchard.

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