Comment to Planners: No Rezone for Forest and Rural Open Space

I’ve been following the research about climate change and watching what is happening in our own county related to increasing temperatures, water supply issues, and rising sea levels. Because of these changes and the increasing economic stresses on many people in our county, I want to express my support for Alternative 2 in the Comp Plan—with a critical exception.

That is, I urge no rezoning of forested and environmentally sensitive areas on the edges of the current UGAs and cities because it is essential to incentivize multifamily housing within the core of the existing UGAs and cities. Multifamily housing needs to be close to where affordable transportation and employment is concentrated. We need to think in terms of affordable living and affordable community, not just affordable housing.

A second reason for no rezoning of these areas on the edges of UGA is that we need to protect our rural areas from sprawl. Sprawl weakens the natural environment that supports us all; our beautiful natural environment is a major reason people move to and visit Kitsap County.

As part of supporting Alternative 2, I urge that you call for a concentrated look at the rural areas and open spaces of Kitsap County in 2025-26. Make a commitment in the 2024 Comp Plan to such an investigation. Leave rezoning considerations that affect rural changes until after Rural Kitsap and Open space can be looked at as a whole. Such a look needs to be centered on how we encourage farming, agroforestry, healthy protection of critical areas, rural employment, and health for all living things.

Beverly, Kitsap County