Gateway: News

Puget Sound Regional Council: Regional growth around Gig Harbor on target

Anyone living in the central Puget Sound counties of King, Pierce, Snohomish and Kitsap would not be surprised to hear that their county’s population is growing.

These are some of the fastest growing counties in the state, according to Paul Inghram, the Growth Management Program manager for the Puget Sound Regional Council. Ingram presented some growth statistics to the Gig Harbor City Council at Monday night’s meeting, providing information on projected growths and the regional plan held by the PSRC.

The Seattle metropolitan region is one of the fastest growing regions in the United States, and that the region as a whole has grown by 64,000 people and 76,000 jobs in the last year. With the region anticipated to reach four million people by next year, 2017, Ingram said that those predictions are right on target with the growth the council has been tracking.

Specifically, he said Pierce County has seen a one-percent annual growth rate, which has occurred mostly in the urban areas, right in keeping with the plan for the regional council, whose goal is to encourage development within already urban areas and to preserve rural areas.

“This community has seen some pretty strong residential growth and population growth itself,” he said of Gig Harbor.

With resident concerns about development running high, Ingram cautioned that while cities can help to control and manage growth, there is little they can do to stop it entirely.

Recognition of legislators

The Council recognized the work of local legislators to secure $2.5 million in order to keep the tolls on the Narrows Bridge from rising this summer as scheduled. Mayor Jill Guernsey thanked Sen. Jan Angel, Rep. Jesse Young and Rep. Michelle Caldier for their teamwork, creative solutions to problems and dedication to the Gig Harbor community

Councilmember Tim Payne echoed the mayor’s remarks with thanks of his own.

“We could not accomplish the great projects we’ve done in our community without you,” he said. “I’m honored the three of you are here.”

Angel took a moment to reiterate the team effort that highlighted this achievement.

“It definitely is a team effort,” she said. “It is just a joy and an honor to represent this district.”

Young echoed Angel’s emphasis on teamwork and added that he felt the transportation commission underestimated them and their dedication to this cause.

Finishing the presentation, Caldier extended the thanks to include the people of Gig Harbor and their dedication to reaching out to their legislators with voicing their concerns.

“I just want to thank the good people of Gig Harbor,” she said. “If it hadn’t been for the hundreds of letters I received about the bridge tolls, then we wouldn’t have had the power to go the legislature and say, ‘This is important to us.’”

Ancich Park update

An update to the plans for Ancich Waterfront Park was given by Katrina Knutson, Parks Project administrator, to include public comments from recent public meetings.

Two designs have been proposed for the park to offer bathrooms, storage for non-motorized watercraft and a viewing platform for park visitors.

Guernsey took a moment before the staff presentation to speak of the history of the park and of other Gig Harbor parks, and of the intended use for the park, including the public benefit.

“With Ancich, we are fortunate to have another opportunity to build something special,” she said.

Knutson took several minutes to address concerns mentioned by residents, which include parking, traffic congestion, view obstruction and use of the park. A lengthy public hearing followed, with the majority of speakers in favor for the park and development and several others opposing the intended development and park use.

Read more on the Ancich Park here.

Andrea Haffly: 253-358-4155, @gateway_andrea