Business re-establishment surrounding pathway project costs city another $50k

The city of Port Orchard has approved the payment of additional moving costs and business re-establishment of Venture Charters, which was forced to move due to the city’s controversial pathway project.

The business originally operated out of the overwater home of Randy Jones and Frank Rusk, who attempted to hold out on selling the property to the city for construction of the Bay Street Pedestrian Pathway. The home also served as a vacation rental.

The two men finally sold last July, a move that cost the city around $1.4 million to both acquire the house and provide relocation.

The City Council passed a resolution March 28 approving additional funding for re-establishment of the business. That includes a $2,670.50 payment for additional moving costs and re-establishment benefits with a cap of $50,000. The city had previously authorized $7,743 in business moving expenses.

The subject did not go quietly as some costs were questioned by some on the council. Specifically highlighted were costs surrounding the installation of a hot tub.

“I’m having a hard time understanding how Venture Charters needs a hot tub and that’s our responsibility,” Councilmember John Clauson said. “Personally, I’m having a little bit of a tough time with it, but because our resident expert says these are all legitimate expenses, I guess I will support.”

Councilmember Fred Chang added his concerns with the hot tub but acknowledged that the previous use as an “Airbnb of some kind” would provide reason for such costs now.

Jones said the following day that their new home in Bremerton would be used as a future vacation rental.

City attorney Charlotte Archer assured the council of the validities of the costs, saying: “There has to be adequate evidence that there is an actual cost that is both reasonable and necessary for the business to become re-established. That’s the lens they review it through, and they confirmed.”