Open Kallgren, planning director decides

Neighbors rally to keep Kallgren Road closed to thru-traffic at a  recent evening event. Neighbors invited Mayor Darlene Kordonowy to hear their concerns over a connection to Day Road. - Photo courtesy of Rebecca Robbins
Neighbors rally to keep Kallgren Road closed to thru-traffic at a recent evening event. Neighbors invited Mayor Darlene Kordonowy to hear their concerns over a connection to Day Road.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of Rebecca Robbins

Neighbors are upset by the decision, which will bring thru-traffic from Day Road.

Roads don’t always end where you want them to.

The residents of Kallgren Road are finding this out the hard way after a months-long march to preserve their quiet street’s dead end.

The city on Wednesday issued its official position that Kallgren should be linked to Day Road East. The city will require a proposed development, between Kallgren’s dead end and Day Road, to include an 18-foot-wide, paved connection.

“We gathered 300 signatures saying we didn’t want this connection,” Kallgren resident Rebecca Robbins said. “No one really stood up and said they wanted this, except the city.

“It’s a bum deal and we’re not happy with it.”

Robbins and many of her neighbors said they moved to Kallgren for the peace and quiet the lane affords.

“The issue is that this road connection will connect us with Day Road – a very dangerous road – making our road also dangerous,” she said.

Deni Christensen, a Des Moines, Wash., resident who owns the affected 18-acre parcel, said the road extension could reduce the value of three new homes she plans to build.

The project could also cost up to $30,000, which Christensen would be required to pay.

City and fire officials, on the other hand, say a paved extension would improve traffic circulation and emergency access, while cutting down on auto emissions.

The 400-foot stretch of trail and trees between Kallgren and Day roads has been considered a prime, untapped traffic connection.

Well before all-island government, Kitsap County obtained a two-acre strip of land for a road right of way, but never built the connection.

When Christensen proposed a new short plat of her property, the city dusted off the old right-of-way rules and asked that changes to the property include a road connection.

“Under state law, developments need to provide legitimate public access for safety and welfare,” said city planning Director Larry Frazier, who issued the city’s final decision. “When a development takes place, we need to make sure these public issues are addressed.”

But Robbins feels the city’s concern is misguided and that the city is muffling the public’s voice.

“The process in dealing with the city was disrespectful to us,” she said. “We learned we can write letters, sign petitions, attend council meetings and make our voices heard, but in the end they’re going to make whatever decision they want to make.”

Paul Sanders, also of Kallgren Road, feels that Frazier’s decision, while perhaps based on city guidelines, doesn’t match a consistent policy throughout the island.

“Drive around Bainbridge and you’ll see any number of what they call ‘non-connected streets,’” he said. “On one hand, you might have some master plan on the books that calls for more connections but, on the other hand, this (decision) seems arbitrary at best.

“Why not apply this to dozens of other streets?”

Robbins said some sympathy expressed by the City Council and mayor never translated into action to save Kallgren’s dead end.

“I feel that the planning department, and Larry Frazier, have too much power in this situation,” she said. “(Frazier) is at the bottom of the government chart and the City Council, the mayor and citizens are on the top. Somehow, the chart got turned upside down.”

Frazier said the council vested such decisions in the planning director to, in part, avoid politicized decisions on land use that have led to lawsuits in the past.

“Many local decisions have been taken to court because politics has interfered with land use laws,” he said. “Rules are what they are. They can’t be based on petition, and the rules can’t be changed mid-game.”

While this game appears over, Robbins is looking toward a possible change of venue. The code provides for an appeal to the city hearing examiner.

“The city said, ‘We want an open road. Period. End of story,’” she said. “But we say that’s a very bizarre decision and nobody’s convinced of it.

“At this point, we’re talking to our attorneys, we’re seeing what options we have and I assume we’ll appeal.”

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