Port Gamble Legislative Amendments

Image of Port Gamble


The proposed code amendments attempt to update the 20-year-old code requirements to marry the historic character of the Rural Historic Town with current environmental stewardship, shoreline protection and open space preservation. They propose reduced land use intensities along the waterfront while allowing additional residential and tourism uses throughout the Rural Historic Town and agritourism in adjacent rural area.


Previously occupied by Native American Tribal settlements, the Port Gamble Town was established at the tip of Port Gamble Bay in 1853 with the opening of the Pope and Talbot Mill. The Mill site was developed with industrial timber production uses on the waterfront; in retail, hotels, and restaurants; as well as other services on the hill and a variety of residential housing surrounding the commercial.

Serving as an employment center in early Kitsap, the town was robust from the late 1800's to the 1980's when timber production decreased. Eventually, the mill closed in 1995 leading to discussions of Port Gamble's future.

To maintain its historic character, Pope Resources received National Historic Landmark status for the town in the late 1990's. In 2000, the Growth Management Act was amended to include the Rural Historic Towns as a form of Limited Area of More Intensive Rural Development (LAMIRD). Unlike other LAMIRDs whose allowed uses and densities mimic those in existence in 1990, Rural Historic Towns were allowed to include development at intensities similar to any portion of its history. Port Gamble was designated as a Rural Historic Town by the Kitsap County Board of Commissioners soon after. This designation included zoning code requirements, development limitations and the expectation for the development of a Town Master Plan prior to significant redevelopment of Port Gamble.

Kitsap County Code construction, definitions and permit processing have changed substantially as well as increased interest in environmental protection and open space preservation since 2000. These have been supported by environmental clean-up efforts in Port Gamble Bay, the Mill Site as well as a 3,500-acre open space acquisition south of the town. These efforts have had an impact on the logical future of Port Gamble and the surrounding rural areas. 

Multiple community conversations having been held between the property owners, the Tribes, community groups and other stakeholders to discuss Port Gamble's future in recent years. These proposed amendments were educated by these conversations and recent mediation between Pope Resources and the Port Gamble/S'Klallam Tribe.


Amendment Summary

The proposed amendments to Title 17 (Zoning) relate generally to the Port Gamble Rural Historic Town and adjacent rural areas. Click here to view proposed amendments. The proposed amendments revise:

  • Development regulations including parking, street design and signage included in a Town Master Plan.

  • Review requirements for site design and architectural standards to maintain consistency with the Town Development Objectives (TDOs).

  • Allowed uses in the Rural Historic Town and adjacent Rural Residential and Rural Wooded zones.

  • Establish limitations for newly allowed uses in the Rural Historic Town and adjacent Rural Residential and Rural Wooded zones.

  • Notification requirements to local Tribes for specific uses in a Rural Historic Town

  • Agricultural code definitions and limitations for certain agricultural uses in the Rural Residential and Rural Wooded zones adjacent to the Rural Historic Town.


After close collaboration with the local Native American Tribes, affected property owner and other stakeholders, Kitsap County released draft amendments on October 15, 2020. The impacts of these amendments and their consistency with existing planning documents were assessed and included in a comprehensive staff report. Click here to view the staff report.

The Kitsap County Planning Commission received public testimony on the proposal February 4, 2020; recommending approval of the amendments with revisions. Click here to view the Planning Commissions recommendation.

 Upcoming Meetings

The Board of County Commissioners will be holding a public hearing on the Planning Commission's recommended amendments on:


March 23, 2020
County Commissioners' Chambers
619 Division Street, Port Orchard

Public Hearing Presentation

Oral testimony may be limited to 3 minutes per speaker, but written testimony may also be submitted at any time up to the hearing for Board consideration.

 Contact Information

​For more information regarding the proposed amendments, the process for their consideration or other questions, please contact Eric Baker, Policy Manager, at (360) 337-4495 or ebaker@co.kitsap.wa.us.