What should Kingston look like?

Planning commission to continue public discussions Sept. 26.

“KINGSTON-The Kingston Design Standards reached the next step in the approval process Tuesday when the Kitsap County Planning held a public hearing on the plan. The design standards, which took three years to develop, set guidelines for what new businesses and renovations to existing businesses should look like. About 15 people attended the hearing, and most of these people had helped develop the design standards. We’ve worked hard to get as much input from the community as possible, said Karen Ross, who oversaw the project. We’ve come a long way in three years, she said. The design standards, which were approved by the Kingston Citizens’ Advisory Committee in June, address items including lighting, landscaping, and signage. The 57-page document is based on the results of the 1993 Kingston Community Design Study. The purpose of creating the design standards is to ensure that design of new businesses is aligned with what Kingston residents want their community to look like. The only concern that arose from the hearing was a lack of strength in the language used in the document. Many of the guidelines were written to sound more like suggestions rather than mandates. There’s too many ‘encourages’ and not enough ‘shalls,’ said Dave Hildebrand, business owner and KCAC chairman. The planning commission will review the document and if any substantial changes are made to the wording, another meeting will be held. The commission is taking written input from the community until Sept. 8. The design standards will be discussed at the next meeting scheduled for Sept. 26 in Silverdale. The bulk of the plan is to make the three districts inviting to people touring the area on foot. The standards, if approved by county commissioners, will be applied to projects inside the Old Town/Waterfront District, Village Green District, and Lindvog Commercial District. Existing businesses are exempt from the standards unless they undergo improvements. If approved, businesses would be required to provide pedestrian-friendly areas in front of the building, if it does not sit directly next to the roadway. These areas can include fountains, furniture, and artwork to provide a safe, comforting and aesthetically pleasing, place. All buildings in the Old Town/Waterfront area would be required to have pedestrian weather protection that’s at least three feet wide for at least 80 percent of the front of the building. The plan also calls for architectural designs to have an Old Town feel similar to the Kingston Hotel. Facades that face a street or park should feature some of the following to create an old maritime town feel: steepened roof lines, gables, front porches, corner trim and window detail. The plan also recommends building heights for each area with Old Town/Waterfront to be no more than three stories or 35 feet and a minimum of two stories; the Village Green area to be no more than four stories or 45 feet and a minimum of two stories; and the Lindvog Commercial three stories not to be more than 35 feet. The design standards also call for specific landscaping using trees and shrub species that have been approved by Kitsap County. Business signs would be kept simple. A boards and freestanding signs would be limited to one per business entrance and animated, blinking or audio signs would not be allowed. Time and temperature signs, however would be permitted. All political, personal and event signs such as garage sale signs, for rent signs, for sale by owner signs, and campaign signs would have to be removed within five days after the event. “