POULSBO — With two citywide moratoriums still in effect since September 2006, the earliest the Poulsbo City Council can bring an end to the wait is the middle of July. About four months later than originally promised.
Currently, the city has a moratorium on development on or near critical environmental areas and one on planned residential developments until the adoption of the city’s proposed Critical Areas Ordinance and new Planned Residential Development Ordinance.
Planning Director Barry Berezowsky said staff plans to have a draft of the new CAO in front of the council to begin the process of adopting the ordinance in May.
The entire document will be rolled out to the council during a workshop before a public hearing regarding the adoption of the ordinance is scheduled, he said.
“We will be bringing the council what we believe is necessary and supported by best available science,” Berezowsky said.
While some parts of the existing CAO won’t change, the council will have to make decisions regarding issues such as setbacks for creeks, streams and wetlands, he said.
“We will give you the options and our recommendation,” Berezowsky told the public works committee last week.
Because of the concern expressed about the impacts of large setbacks along Poulsbo Creek, Councilman Ed Stern asked whether staff had acted on the council’s concerns about the creek in the latest CAO draft.
“We have crafted what we feel is an acceptable solution to Poulsbo Creek,” Berezowsky replied.
Stern then asked if the council would have a public hearing after the workshop or whether the two events would be held at separate meetings.
“If we had a council meeting with one and half to two hours, then we could go right into it,” Berezowsky said. “We will know more when we get into it.”
Staff needs a clearer idea of the council’s direction regarding the undecided issues of the ordinance before a public hearing is scheduled, he said.
That guidance is critical in the official announcement of the final public hearing for the CAO’s adoption, Berezowsky said.
“We need to make sure it is one of the first items, because then we’ve opened up the box,” Stern said. “With five Wednesdays in May we should be able to wrap this up before June.”
However, Stern’s hopes were dashed when it was announced that the CAO public hearing isn’t scheduled until June 20, meaning the earliest the ordinance could be adopted by the council is June 20 or possibly June 27.
Any further delays would place the CAO on top of the PRD public hearing, which is scheduled for July 11.
City consultant Karla Boughton told the council that the Planning Commission and PRD advisory group are three weeks from concluding their deliberations on the matter at Wednesday night’s city council meeting.
“The group is having to compromise and really do what’s best and right for the city of Poulsbo,” Boughton said.