Kitsap County is seeking public comment on three alternatives for a proposed conversion of approximately 6,000 square feet of land at its Norwegian Point Park in Hansville.
A county news release says in exchange for approximately 4,000 square feet and an easement of about 2,000 square feet, adjacent property owners have proposed transferring to Kitsap County approximately 1.3 acres to add to Norwegian Point Park.
The property owners requested a trade because of trespassing issues and a lack of privacy due to their proximity to the park, the release states. The property exchange would allow them to construct fencing and install landscaping to more clearly define the property boundaries. The addition of acreage to the park would allow for restoration of Finn Creek, wetlands and wildlife habitat.
Norwegian Point Park was acquired and enhanced with funds from what is now the Recreation and Conservation Office. An Aquatic Lands Enhancement Account grant was used for the project, which was completed in 2008.
The grants may only be used for the acquisition, improvement or protection of aquatic lands for public purposes, and to provide or improve public access to the waterfront.
The transfer of 1.3 acres to the park allows Kitsap County to follow through on its commitment to restore a stream and wetlands to enhance habitat, which the county committed to in the original grant application in 2004.
In order to allow the exchange, the county must acquire a replacement property that meets criteria and is of equal or greater value to the conversion property.
This alternative involving no action would mean Norwegian Point Park would remain the same size at 5.68 acres and limit land available for the proposed Finn Creek restoration project. It would also allow an existing encroachment into the park to continue on the southwest side, in violation of the grant agreement.
This preferred alternative would transfer approximately 4,000 square feet to the adjacent property owners via a boundary-line adjustment. An 8-foot strip along the northern property line and a 58-by-45-foot section along the western property line would be transferred in exchange for a 1.3-acre portion of a vacant parcel immediately east of the Norwegian Point Park boundary at no cost. The owners would retain the northern 120 feet for their septic system.
This alternative would also adjust an existing easement to allow for construction of an approximately 2,000-square-foot turnaround area, just south of the expanded property line for the three homes that share a driveway.
Because the property conversion results in the county obtaining a larger piece of property, no significant expenditure of public funds would be required.
The exchange would allow Kitsap County to restore Finn Creek and surrounding wetlands, enhancing wildlife habitat, as stated in the grant application. Wild Fish Conservancy is applying for additional grants for the Finn Creek restoration and the additional acreage to the park would be beneficial to those efforts.
Kitsap County considered other exchange properties, as required by the conversion process. The properties considered did not have a willing seller, were not immediately adjacent to the park or were cost-prohibitive.
Property 1 is listed for sale for $179,000. The property is vacant, doesn’t meet criteria, is not adjacent to Norwegian Point Park and is cost-prohibitive.
Property 2 is vacant. It does provide some opportunity for restoration, but is not adjacent to the park. The property is not for sale and would be cost-prohibitive.
Property 3 is adjacent to the park and could meet criteria. The site contains commercial buildings and is not for sale. This property is almost completely covered in impervious surfaces, which would greatly increase any restoration costs and would be cost-prohibitive.
Comments will be accepted through 4:30 p.m. Jan. 21, 2022. Written comments may be submitted to Jennifer Haro, policy analyst in the Kitsap County commissioners office, at email@example.com or through the mail (must be postmarked by Jan. 20) at: Kitsap County Commissioners Office, Attn: Jennifer Haro, 614 Division St., MS-4 Port Orchard, WA 98366.