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BREMERTON,WA-Port Blakely Communities is now free to move forward with its proposal to build a 440-acre industrial and housing development here on the Kitsap Peninsula.

Foes fear environmental destruction while project supporters argue the development will pump money and jobs into the area, which has lost 8,000 jobs to downsizing by the U.S. Navy.

Under the current Port Blakely plan, about 140 acres are to be left as natural forest. Roughly 200 acres are earmarked for business development and about 100 acres have been reserved for 1,200 homes.

The Suquamish Tribe and Kitsap Citizens for Rural Preservation had attempted to block the development and challenged the annexation of the property, citing environmental concerns.

The dismissal of their lawsuit follows a prior legal defeat in May, when the Central Puget Sound Growth Hearings Board ruled that Bremerton and Kitsap County had acted legally when they incorporated the property into the city’s urban growth area. Both parties had said they likely would drop their legal challenges following that ruling.

Next up is a transportation study, which will be conducted to determine whether the primary access should be around the south or north end of Kitsap Lake. The results of that research are expected to determine where ground breaking begins.

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