Daily Archives: July 9, 2009

Housing that’s green, affordable and may “forever change Bainbridge”

Poised to move forward with an innovative housing pilot project combining affordability and green design, the City Council on Wednesday opted instead to allow further deliberation, citing concerns that the project may burden Winslow with too much population density.

“Density is a huge issue on the island,” Councilwoman Debbie Vancil said. “None of us wants to take density we can’t handle.”

The proposed Housing Design Demonstration Project is aimed at encouraging earth-friendly affordable housing projects through density bonuses and flexible design standards. The 22-page proposal uses a tiered system to determine a project’s level sustainable design, affordability and the corresponding level of density or design flexibility the city would allow. Recent changes to the project limits it to three years, confines it to the Winslow area and gives the city Design Review Board an expanded role in assessing the project’s developments.

Affordable housing advocates say the project is crucial for moving forward with a 48-unit, green-built housing development planned on a 6.4-acre Ferncliff Avenue property. Architects specializing in sustainable design say the project is on the cutting edge, incorporating new ideas in that could achieve a “net zero” impact on the environment.

But some island residents say the project may crowd too many people downtown, change Winslow’s character, boost crime and draw down the island’s water supply.

“It will forever change Bainbridge,” said Robert Dashiell, a critic of affordable housing efforts.

Housing Resources Board Director Carl Florea said fears of dramatic change are not in- line with the project’s scope.

“Quite frankly, low density in an urban area is not as scary as it sounds,” he said.

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Cafe Trios closing

This month is Cafe Trios‘ last.

The coffee shop and wine bar on the east end of Winslow Way will close sometime in the next two weeks, likely on July 19.

“For a year and a half, you’ve allowed us to live our dream of creating a comfortable, sophisticated place – a relaxed place where people enjoy friends, family and community. You have helped us achieve these goals, and your enjoyment of Cafe Trios has been our greatest reward,” wrote owner Jamie Hinchey in an e-mail to customers. “Unfortunately, the simple reality of cash-flow has not worked in our favor, so we must say ‘Good Bye.'”

The cafe’s closure was noted on the Island Moms online discussion group.

“This is so sad,” wrote one commenter. “Cafe Trios is one of the best places to go on the island…fabulous people, atmosphere, and food. (It) would be a terrible loss for the island.”