Kuhn will bring much-needed change to city
Local artist and businessman Kit Kuhn has entered the Gig Harbor race for mayor to affect a much-needed change to the direction our city has taken over the past decade by coming out of retirement to use his typical hands-on approach to cost management and problem solving.
Drawing from his 30 years as a successful artist, Kit will assure our lovely harbor village is molded by any future development in a fashion that enhances the lifestyle of its residents. Daily, our city government is pressured by outside interests for approval of construction variances and new projects. Kuhn is prepared by decades of local experience and leadership to direct the alterations our expanding community is sure to see — in a direction that will please its citizenry.
Traffic problems are solved most effectively by outside-the-box thinking, inherent in the mind of a leader in the business community, even more so by an artistic businessman such as Kit Kuhn.
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I support Kit Kuhn for mayor of Gig Harbor.
Robert Archer, Gig Harbor
Discussion about city’s future starts with facts
We are constantly reminded on social media, conversations, newspapers, etc. that everyone wants Gig Harbor to remain like they remember it.
Depending upon the year you first arrived or were born, Gig Harbor has experienced changes. Why? Because the life of the town changes with as the population changes. How does this effect the community?
The estimate given in 2017 for 2016 was population of 9,065. Can you visualize any of the changes community felt with each growth period?
Each of us, even family members, remember different things that we loved when we first arrived or if born here, those things we most loved growing up.
Think about all the stores, restaurants, medical facilities including the hospital and other things that are available at present in the city that weren’t here when you came. Do you patronize any of them? Would you miss the convenience of shopping in town rather than across the bridge or driving to Silverdale? If you had a medical emergency before 2009 you would have been transported across the Narrows Bridge or Harrison Hospital in Bremerton.
Think about all the businesses that are no longer in town. What replaced them without creating changes? Or were they replaced?
How does a town or city receive revenue to support the infrastructures of the community and required by its residents if it does not grow and existing businesses close?
A hot button is always traffic. If you use a car, you are part of the traffic problem that is on everyone’s — including your own — lips. The transportation grid in the downtown area was established long before the city was incorporated. The existing roads have to accommodate the traffic because it is virtually impossible to redo the streets. One possibility is to limit use of the downtown streets to residents within the downtown and Millville districts. People living west of Stinson, in the Finholm district, in East Gig Harbor, and on Peacock Hill would not be allowed to drive along Harborview Drive on their way home or to the west side of state Route 16. People living in north Gig Harbor would be requested to use the roundabout at Borgen Boulevard. Another possibility is making the waterfront streets one way. Would you consider such traffic revisions acceptable?
Again, each of us has a separate vision of what Gig Harbor was like when we came (or born and growing up). We each also have our own idea of what changes are acceptable.
This is why it is important for our residents to sit down together, discuss with complete objectivity, without insulting those with an opposing opinion. It is also important to the discussion that any rebuttal is based upon actual facts, not partial fact, or an interpretation of said fact(s).
Hopefully we can do better — can we work as a community for a cause?
Tomi Kent-Smith, Gig Harbor
Unlimited growth is bad for our quality of life
Peter Norman has admitted that he has a conflict when discussing real estate development because he is in the real estate business. So it is not surprising that in the Sept. 14 of The Peninsula Gateway, he stated that there has been “unreasonable curtailment of growth” in Gig Harbor. Simply put, he claims we have not had enough growth lately. Why would Peter want to make our traffic congestion worse, already overcrowded schools even more overcrowded, and clear cut more of our trees?
Peter is in favor of the One Harbor Point development, which is requesting 21 deviations from our existing zoning and building codes. These deviations include 29 apartments on land zoned for 11 single family residences, clear cutting the trees and paving 72 percent of the property with asphalt, dumping 2.5 million gallons per year of untreated runoff pollution directly into the Harbor, deviations from height restriction, side, front and rear setbacks and many more. Why doesn’t Peter want to follow our existing zoning? Why doesn’t he want to protect our beautiful bay?
Peter serves on a board of one of the Milgard family’s foundations. So he is also in favor of the Milgard’s proposal to build 115 apartments downtown in 2 to 5 story buildings in the Peninsula Shopping Center. Just imagine what all those additional cars will do to traffic.
Well, I believe that we the people of Gig Harbor are wise to Mr. Norman, who is promoting the same old and tired ideas of increasing development, increasing traffic and ruining our beautiful environment. All are destroying our quality of life. We the people of Gig Harbor are all for responsible growth and progress, as are Mayoral Candidate Kit Kuhn, and City Council candidates Jim Franich and Bob Himes.
Peter Norman is a nice enough guy for sure, as he does try to convey a message that he cares about quality of life in the Gig Harbor community. However, given the examples above, it should be obvious that if elected, this guy is capable of some serious damage. Unfortunately, he has forwarded no ideas about how to help us grow in a smarter/better way.
John Skansi, Gig Harbor
City administration isn’t listening to citizens
The vast majority of the residents of the Gig Harbor and Key Peninsulas do not live within the city limits of Gig Harbor, which means they do not have a voice in the city government and the decisions they make. Long-established zoning areas are being overturned, and inadequate traffic infrastructure is being neglected while new development is being permitted. All of us are affected by these decisions because we shop within the city limits and support local businesses.
The current city administration has had the last four years to show us their “stuff,” and the citizens of Gig Harbor who do live within the city limits have been extremely vocal about the responsible direction they would like to see the city take with growth management. Unfortunately, most of the current city administration is not listening to the constituents/residents they are supposed to represent.
Our concern is not about no-growth, but rather it is about responsible growth while maintaining the uniqueness and beauty of Gig Harbor and the surrounding area. Kit Kuhn, Jim Franich, Bob Himes and Jeni Woock have all stepped up with creative and sensitive ideas for Gig Harbor. Growth is inevitable, but that doesn’t mean we have to look like Federal Way or Bellevue!
Gig Harbor is “The Maritime City” located in an amazing area, and we need the new ideas being offered by these four individuals to lead Gig Harbor in a new and more productive direction.
Sharon Panchot, Gig Harbor
Kuhn is the right choice for Gig Harbor’s future
People aren’t drawn to Gig Harbor because of our big, beautiful Costco or our impressive new IMAX theater. The attraction of Gig Harbor emanates from its simple, authentic, historic downtown harbor village. It’s the only thing we’ve got that sets our town apart from everywhere else in the country. We as a community — and our elected leaders — need to do everything in our power to protect and preserve this vulnerable area.
If Mayor Guernsey were actually concerned about preserving Gig Harbor’s unique character, why did she eliminate the historic preservation officer position within the first couple months of her term? Why did she vote against an 85-percent majority of citizen input and allow a 2-acre, cookie-cutter apartment complex to continue their oversized, rule-deviating development plan in our historic district?
The opposition is claiming that Kit Kuhn is unqualified to be mayor. Really? The previous mayor was a builder. Before him, our mayor of 16 years was a kindergarten teacher. For 28 years, Kit Kuhn was the owner of a successful business on Harborview Dr. when the population was half what it is today. He was so successful that he comfortably retired at the age of 53. It doesn’t require a law degree to represent our town, it requires someone who is one of the people, who respects what it takes to preserve our quality of life, and who will listen to the citizens and work with our city council. Mayor Guernsey has shown disregard for the council and decision-making procedures. This is a fact I’ve heard directly from frustrated council members.
I’ve attended many council meetings, spoken at public hearings and written numerous letters (Mayor Guernsey replied once). I’ve been involved and I’ve been paying attention. I’ve met Mayor Guernsey a couple times and she may be a fine lawyer and a nice person with good intentions, but I honestly think that, as mayor, her vision is a threat to the simple, uncomplicated, non-pretentious qualities that make Gig Harbor special. Maybe her talents and objectives are more suited for larger cities that welcome flashy modern development, like Tacoma or Bellevue.
My husband and I chose to live in Gig Harbor. We do not want to live in Everytown USA. We do not want four more years of what the last 10 years have brought. This is why my choice for mayor is clear — vote for Kit Kuhn.
Lynn Stevenson, Gig Harbor
Influx of condos and apartments hurt Gig Harbor
The concept that a gated, over 55, high-density apartment complex at our town entrance would somehow revitalize downtown is short-sighted and outdated. Retail is undergoing a transformation similar to the Industrial Revolution, and even those new, large grocery stores and box stores popping up along state Route 16 will soon be replaced by online shopping.
There is no stopping the fact that in the future convenience shopping will be done by a click of the mouse rather than a trip to the store. Retail is transforming and its future is one of experience, community, entertainment and education. People will still go to the brick and mortar stores, not because they need to, but because they want to. Gig Harbor will benefit greatly from this retail revolution if we understand the value of our brand as an idyllic Pacific Northwest town. Already we see businesses capitalizing on this — 7 Seas, The Fly Shop, Gig Harbor Audio and Heritage Distilling — and as long as we protect our brand as a small fishing village, more will follow. The new economy will be defined by destination retail — stores that people are willing to travel to. This means stores will need to be somewhere their patrons want to go, a place that represents the lifestyle and character associated with their products, helping to bolster their online presence. We are perfectly poised to represent the best of Northwest, and more businesses in the future will seek to align themselves with the Gig Harbor brand.
My fear is that people are looking at the past, thinking that if we cram enough people into downtown somehow our grocery store will come back — it won’t — and if we go down a path of relinquishing our commercial properties for condos and apartments we will only succeed in euthanizing our town. We need to be patient, foster our brand by protecting the scale and simple character of our town while the new economy takes root — the results will be unique niche businesses drawing people to our town from near and far.
We don’t need more people living downtown, we need more businesses.
Jamie Stevenson, Gig Harbor