Bremerton Mayor Greg Wheeler sent out a letter Monday, challenging Kitsap County to amend its regulations regarding housing for Sexually Violent Predators in the Bremerton community. Below is the letter in full.
Over the past few months, the City of Bremerton has requested several times that Kitsap County amend its regulations regarding housing for Sexually Violent Predators (SVPs) in our community. Under Kitsap County’s proposal, housing for SVPs will be free to open just steps away from well-established Bremerton neighborhoods and areas where our children walk to school.
While the predators wear GPS locator ankle bracelets for monitoring and employees work at a residence 24-hours-a-day, we remain very concerned about protecting our residents living near a house like this. We believe that zoning for SVP housing, while required by state law, can be amended by Kitsap County to provide better safety for individuals and families.
In fact, the County took special measures, including issuing a land use violation and adopting interim zoning regulations, to respond to Poulsbo residents about SVP housing. Frankly, it’s unfair that Kitsap County has taken steps to amend its regulations to benefit the Poulsbo community, and will not even consider doing the same for the City of Bremerton.
Bremerton is being targeted by Kitsap County to establish these areas in our neighborhoods regardless of the City’s objections and concerns about protecting our residents (please review maps and information here that show the neighborhoods that are impacted by the County’s regulations.)
We have met with Commissioner Gelder to ask that Kitsap County amend its regulations to include additional considerations such as setbacks from existing homes. We have also asked the County to consider children’s walking routes to Bremerton schools as part of its regulations for SVP housing. Each time the City has made a request, we have been ignored.
I am asking our residents to tell Kitsap County this is unfair and that the County can – and should – better protect our families. The County Commissioners listened to the Poulsbo community and they should listen to you, too. Please join me in demanding that they amend the regulations and consider protections for our neighborhoods by establishing setbacks, and ensure these facilities are not placed along our children’s walking routes to schools.