We congratulate those who ran for office in the Nov. 7 general election.
The beauty of campaigns is that, win or lose, all candidates bring forth ideas, shed light on issues, and propose solutions. Here are some ideas and solutions from the 2017 election that we encourage local government to pursue.
1. Evaluate and monitor the condition of the sewer main that carries Poulsbo’s wastewater across Liberty Bay to the treatment plant in Brownsville. Poulsbo is growing, new neighborhoods are being developed, and all of the wastewater from this city of 10,500 people is piped down Highway 305 to a main that carries it across the bay to the Central Kitsap Treatment Plant. An underwater break in that line would be disastrous to our marine environment. At some point, Poulsbo may need a second main down Viking Avenue that would connect with the Keyport-Brownsville main, accommodating growth in west Poulsbo. A former City Council member 0nce told the North Kitsap Herald that that idea was explored but abandoned because the council feared am additional sewer main would encourage more growth. But growth is controlled by zoning. And Poulsbo is going to grow to nearly 15,000 population in 17 years anyway.
2. Develop a downtown master plan. A lot of change is coming to downtown: Sound West Group has purchased the Sluys families’ properties; 3rd Avenue is slated to be improved; apartments are proposed at the former city hall and police station sites. These will all affect traffic levels, traffic flow, and pedestrian safety. A new master plan should consider how vehicles and people will move downtown. The plan should consider one-way routes on Front Street and 3rd Avenue (making Front Street one way would create pocket park opportunities and make the road safer for pedestrians); storefront parking for motorists and passengers with disabilities; and a parking garage location.
3. Identify and address issues that negatively affect quality of life. Housing affordability must be Priority One. Provide incentives to developers to make available a percentage of new homes or apartments at below-market rate. Poulsbo’s regulations allow up to six non-related people to live in the same house; more housing options should be developed. Consider zoning regulations that would encourage more child-care services to locate here. Ensure there are transportation options that meet the needs of residents who commute.
4. Designate downtown Poulsbo a cultural district. Downtown features century-old buildings, two museums, a marine science center, a performing arts theater, galleries, live music, public art, craft breweries, and ethnic restaurants. Downtown Poulsbo should be designated a cultural district. One, because it is. Two, communities with designated cultural districts report growth in visitors, new jobs, and wages. Three, cultural districts build community. According to David Malmuth, one of the founders of downtown San Diego’s I.D.E.A. District (so-designated for its focus on innovation, design, education and arts): “Artistic, cultural and social experiences are what keep people in a community.”