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It’s hard to understand why Kitsap County failed to protect families and signed off on Sexually Violent Predator (SVPs) housing zones in neighborhoods. Bremerton area residents took action and sent comments telling Kitsap County to protect our community.
Instead, Kitsap County Commissioner Gelder, Garrido and Wolfe did the opposite. They approved regulations which allow housing for dangerous and violent sexual predators to move into established Bremerton areas and live along children’s walking routes to school. (Please review maps here to see the areas impacted by the County’s action.)
As we’ve said from the beginning, this wasn’t their only option. While SVP housing is required by state law, the County could have legally amended their regulations to provide better safety for individuals and families.
In fact, over the past several months, we made suggestions on ways the County could amend the regulations to include additional considerations such as setbacks from existing homes and for children’s walking routes to schools. Unfortunately, these suggestions were continuously ignored, and they did not accept the City’s proposals.
Frankly, it seems clear timing was an issue in the County’s response. They adopted final regulations on Monday, July 22, and a land use violation decision, which essentially shuts down SVP housing in Poulsbo, was affirmed four days later. With these two decisions, Kitsap County can now drive residences for sexually violent predators from Poulsbo and elsewhere into Bremerton and out of sight of other parts of the County.
The City of Bremerton considers this a very important issue. We’ve already put in place codes that protect our residential neighborhoods. Unfortunately, the areas that now allow SVP housing are not within the City. If they were, the County’s regulations would not apply.
It is disappointing the County Commissioners chose to ignore suggestions for improving safety for families. Your neighborhood should not be a primary destination for SVP housing. We hope that County Commissioners will consider your concerns about protecting the quality and security of your community in the future.