Port Orchard’s success depends on a holistic view of our city. The commercial corridors of Bethel, Mile Hill and Pottery/Sidney, as well as the historic waterfront, deserve attention and planning. The development of sub area plans for our local centers are necessary to create a framework for infrastructure, transportation and density. Planning is necessary to make sure growth has a positive impact on our community.
In the city’s Comprehensive Plan, ten local centers are identified. Centers are focused areas of development that have key uses which allow the City to deliver services more cost efficiently and equitably and provide a means of influencing growth and change through collaboration in planning of these areas. Although the centers have common elements, each center is unique and has its own priorities. The goal is to ensure growth is compatible in scale and in character with Port Orchard’s small town character.
As an example, consider the prime commercial Bethel corridor. A high level plan will allow properties along Bethel to develop in a manner to minimize traffic impact, create employment opportunities, provide for denser residential housing, take advantage of transit and create sales tax revenue. If the corridor builds out one individual property at a time, each will require ingress/egress from Bethel. Without defined uses, the properties could be developed by businesses which do not offer a benefit economically – either with minimal employment opportunity or limited goods and services. The Bethel corridor is one of the few areas within the city which has enough land to house needed retail outlets. It is important the use of this property is maximized.
Building apartment complexes within centers, concentrates population within easy access to transit and services. This allows the areas away from the local centers to continue as single family neighborhoods. A mix of uses in each center will define its unique neighborhood.
All of Port Orchard has the same commercial zoning. I support establishing additional commercial zones – sorting different types of commercial activity into the new zones. One size does not fit all. Additionally, there are two Business Professional zone classifications. The Business Professional zones are transitional areas between residential and newly developing commercial areas. And there is one Employment Industrial and Office zone located off of Old Clifton Road. This is Port Orchard’s industrial center.
Port Orchard’s population is expected to increase 66% during the next 20 years. Including the Port Orchard Urban Growth Area, the population in 2036 is anticipated to be about 42,000. Welcoming this growth requires thought and collaboration.