Category Archives: Community

Agate Pass Bridge down to one lane for three weeks

Agate-Pass-Bridge

Agate Pass Bridge will be down to one lane for 21 days starting Feb. 9 for cleaning and inspection.

One lane will be closed 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 7:45 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, according to Washington State Department of Transportation.

The bridge, which was built in 1950 and is more than 1,000 feet long, has about 22,000 vehicles cross a day

Bainbridge Island Mayor Anne Blair assured residents the council voiced their concern with WSDOT, along with Poulsbo city officials and the Suquamish Tribe, about traffic issues.

“The cries of ‘Are you kidding?’ and ‘Can you do something else?’ were loud,” Blair said. “They are certainly aware of the difficulties.”

Work cannot be done at night, because of safety and efficiency concerns, WSDOT said.

Workers will remove “yards of hardened debris and animal droppings by hand, a time-consuming and labor-intensive process.”

WSDOT has to remove the debris by hand, unless it can “fully encase” the bridge to meet water quality standards. The full-encasement requirement is too expensive for WSDOT, the agency said, and cleaning the bridge is the affordable alternative that meets the Clean Water Act requirements.

Crews also will repair and patch the bridge and roadway, sealing joints, replacing rivets and repairing damaged rails and walkway railing. If possible, they will remove rust from the bridge, too.

Bicyclists and pedestrians will be “escorted” across the bridge while work is being done, and “accommodations” will be made for emergency vehicles.

While the Chilly Hilly bike route does not go across the bridge, those going to the event Feb. 22 should expect delays.

The work is done in February to avoid the peregrine falcon nesting period. The falcon is a protected species and have historically nested on the bridge. February also has less traffic than summer months.

Freezing rain and snow could delay work on the bridge, which hasn’t been cleaned since 1991. It is inspected every two years, requiring lane closures then as well. It was last inspected in 2013.

Housing, hotel, rooftop restaurant coming to Lynwood Center

LynwoodCenterSeattleTimesBanner
Bainbridge Island’s Lynwood Center.

A nearly 5-acre development is being proposed off Lynwood Center Drive for residential and business space, along with a park.

Blue Moon & Roost Land Companies, LLC has plans for multiple homes, town houses, a hotel and rooftop restaurant and bar, along with office, retail and artist space.

While the Lynwood Center buildings have a Tudor style, the developers architect said the project will not be the same style.

INDIGO Architecture & Interiors does not “interpret” the center’s design guidelines require the Tudor style.

The proposal did not say what specific style would be used in the development.

Housing would be the first phase of the project, including five 2,000 square-feet single family houses with 800 square-feet mother-in-law homes, two 1,700-square-feet single family houses and six town house units above commercial space.

The project’s second phase would be three three-story buildings about 9,000 square feet each. These buildings would include a hotel called Hotel Charrette, rooftop restaurant with water views, ground-floor retail with room for working artists and second floor office space.

There also will be six “inn cottages” called Gypsy Wagons by the proposed park and a market plaza along Point White Drive.

An existing brick house on the site will be renovated and used for commercial purposes.

The site was previously a lumber yard and the rest of the property has been used as a pasture for the last 40 years, according to INDIGO’s proposal.

The Larson Lumber building is still on the site.

Developers also said in the proposal that they want to keep as many of the trees as possible, including a pine by the market to use as a holiday tree.

There will be a public meeting Monday night to address questions.

See drawings of the proposed development.

PUBLIC MEETING

WHAT: Public meeting on a development by the Lynwood Center

WHEN: Monday, Jan. 26 at 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

WHERE: Pleasant Beach Village Marketplace, 4738 Lynwood Center Road NE, Bainbridge Island

Council narrows site options for police headquarters

Bainbridge Island police car

City Council nixed two locations from its site list for a new Bainbridge Island Police headquarters Tuesday night.

The council discussed four different options, removing the Visconsi development location and the city-owned gravel lot by City Hall, because both sites were viewed problematic locations.

Expansion at the gravel lot could affect future retail development options downtown, while the Visconsi location was seen as too far away from City Hall as well as having potential traffic issues.

The two locations still being considered are a site on Madison Avenue, adjacent to the north of City Hall, and 1.89-acres along New Brooklyn Road by Bainbridge Island Fire Station 21 on Madison Avenue, which was assessed for $232,000. A nearby 2.1 acre parcel to the New Brooklyn Road site sold for $1.3 million in November 2013, according to city documents.

The city will not provide any additional information on the property north of City Hall at this time, said City Spokeswoman Kellie Stickney.

Last fall, City Council voted 5-2 against a joint police and fire station.

City Manager Doug Schulze said the goal was to have the police headquarters near City Hall, while other council members voiced concerns about being a tenant to the fire department.

A Seattle architectural firm presented the idea of a joint facility by the fire station along New Brooklyn Road, where the city is considering purchasing 1.89 acres for a police station.

The architectural firm found in June that building a joint facility would cost $15.3 million, versus $17.6 million for building them separately. A June phone poll of 200 island residents found 87 percent favored a combined facility.

While location was the primary concern for the Visconsi location, couple council members had issue with the price tag of the site as well.

The Visconsi $2.05 million price tag includes the land, cost of a new road, utilities and project costs.

Bradley Goldberg, vice president of development, told Schulze in an email earlier this month there would need to be a “quick close” in 60 to 90 days to sell the city the land at $2.05 million.

Councilman Wayne Roth said he saw the Visconsi development offer as a “really strong invitation not to located there,” because the city had repeatedly asked for more information and a presentation nearly two months ago that were never provided.

The city had asked about the option to own the land after a lease, but was instead given a rent option.

Last month, Visconsi developers sent the city a letter of intent, outlining a general 20-year rental agreement with the city. The 24,500 square-foot building would be two stories. Rent would start at $943,250 a year and increase 10 percent every five years, being about $1.255 a year after 15 years, totaling more than $21 million over 20 years. The city would have the option to renew the lease every five years before an increase with the ability to end the lease with one year notice.

The city would be responsible for traffic impact fees, wiring and building the interior, including drywall, first floor slab, flooring and lighting.

The city is continuing to seeking other sites.

This post was updated to correct who owns the property on Madison Avenue by City Hall and typos from the City Council agenda, including information for the New Brooklyn Road property.

Sherman rewards 12th man’s sportsmanship

Sherman-looks-for-PJ

After the Seahawks pulled off an awe-inspiring win against the Packers, 12th man PJ LeDorze gave his Sherman Seahawks jersey to a 13-year-old Packers fan who had been harassed by other Seahawks fans during the game.

LeDorze, a Bainbridge Island alumnus, found his picture with the boy in the local Seattle news after the boy’s family tried to track him down and thank him once again.

The story eventually caught Richard Sherman’s attention. Now Sherman is tracking down LeDorze to offer him a signed jersey to replace the one he gave away.

“This is awesome. PJ showing why the 12th man are the best fans in the league! Must have been hard for that kid, but now he won’t ever want to forget that moment. Much respect 12s, you never disappoint,” Sherman said on his website.

One city council candidate withdraws application

Greg Millerd has withdrawn his application for the City Council’s open seat after realizing he could not make Thursday night’s interviews for the position.

During the Jan. 13 council meeting, the board discussed letting Millerd participate by phone or Skype because he had a family event planned out of town. He told the council he did not know when or where he would have cellphone service.

The five remaining candidates are Monica Aufrecht, John Green, Joe Levan, Gary Pettersen and Michael Scott.

You can read their bios on a previous blog post.

Revisiting waterfront park’s priorities

Participants in a city park visioning meeting walk the Waterfront trail in 2013. Photo by TAD SOOTER / KITSAP SUN
Participants in a city park visioning meeting walk the Waterfront trail in 2013. Photo by TAD SOOTER / KITSAP SUN

Eagle Harbor Waterfront Park and its new dock will be back on the city council agenda after the board rescinded last week’s vote following public outcry on the decision to prioritize the dock.

During the Jan. 6, the council voted 4-2 to phase in park construction as funds are available, because anticipated grant money didn’t come through and left the city $835,000 short on the project.

Council members disputed the original vision of the park priority and some noted the project had been listed as an information only item on last week’s agenda.

Councilman Wayne Roth and Mayor Anne Blair said the motion that passed last week in favor of prioritizing a new dock was also unclear.

Roth, who voted against last week’s motion, said that he isn’t against a new dock and had understood funding for it would be dealt with depending on what grant money was available.

The new dock is estimated to cost a little more than $2 million, and the park improvements about $1 million. Without the grant funds, the city has $2,232,000 for the project, leaving less than $250,000 for the park after paying for the dock.

Sarah Blossom and Steve Bonkowski voted against rescinding the vote Tuesday night.

Bonkowski said he didn’t believe the council was going in the wrong direction by prioritizing the dock, which he views as dangerous.

The city began looking at updating waterfront park last summer to improve the 5.5-acre park space and dock, which is more than 30 years old. Its 20 concrete floats and 23 piles are deteriorating, and also contain toxic creosote.

Along with a new dock, park improvements would include connecting trails to neighborhoods, along with ADA accessible paths and a viewing plaza or vendor area. The current plans call for turning the tennis court into a “multiuse area.”

Bonkowski said he understand previous discussions on the park concept to be for water access and “water access includes a dock.”

The project has been added to the Jan. 20 agenda for discussion and public comment.

A full story will be online with the Kitsap Sun on Wednesday.

Mother-in-law houses could get size boost

Increasing the allowed size of accessory dwelling units, commonly called mother-in-law houses, could be one way Bainbridge Island handles affordable housing and density concerns.

The city’s current code says mother-in-law units cannot be larger than 800 square feet.

Local architect Jeb Thornburg told the council that is a “reasonably sized” single person or couple’s home, although a 900-square-feet mother-in-law unit could have two bedrooms and be more family friendly or allow for live-in caregivers.

Thornburg said there could be “significant market demand, significant market value” by increasing the threshold.

Poulsbo also has an 800 square-feet limit for mother-in-law units with the stipulation that they can be bigger if the unit is located on the ground floor or a basement.

The county allows 900 square-feet or 50 percent of the primary residence’s square footage, whichever is smaller.

Port Orchard has the same restrictions as the county, while Bremerton allows for the largest mother-in-law units at 1,000 square feet or 60 percent of the primary residence’s square footage, whichever is smaller. Bremerton also has a minimum of 300 square feet.

The city of Bainbridge Island has permitted 280 mother-in-law units since 1992, although others could have been permitted by the county or built without permits, said Kathy Cook, City Planning and Community Development director.

The council did not take any action with plans to discuss the increase at another meeting.

Free Wi-Fi up and running in Winslow

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KPUD’s free Wi-Fi coverage. Map from the Bainbridge Island Chamber of Commerce

The Kitsap Public Utility District’s community Wi-Fi project is off the ground in downtown Bainbridge Island.

The island’s chamber of commerce approached KPUD several years ago about providing free wifi in the downtown area, and now that free Wi-Fi  is available to residents and visitors along Winslow Way and Madison Avenue, the chamber said in a news release.

While the Wi-Fi is free, it is not secure, meaning users shouldn’t transmit any personal information or make financial transactions using it.

KPUD has been testing Wi-Fi in downtown Poulsbo as well, contracting with Intellicheck Mobilisa, Inc., last spring to analyze the best ways to provide public wireless Internet to a variety of mobile devices and laptops. The Port Townsend technology company specializes in wireless technology and identity systems, according to its website.

KPUD had encountered problems with smartphones being compatible with the Wi-Fi antennas before bringing in Mobilisa to test and possibly install new antennas for the wireless project.

The Wi-Fi is free to the public, for now at least.

KPUD was not testing the wireless project with hopes of making a profit, said Steve Perry, superintendent of telecommunications, last year.

“All options are on the table right now. Right now we are testing to see if it’s sustainable or reliable enough to charge for,” he said last March.

State law that requires public utility districts to sell the Internet at wholesale price to providers that offer it to consumers at retail prices.

Eventually, KPUD wants to have wireless testing done in six of the county’s community hubs — Poulsbo, Winslow, Port Orchard, Kingston, Bremerton and Silverdale.

I am waiting to hear back from Perry on current details about the Winslow project, including speeds.

KPUD requested the Internet speed be between 4 to 30 megabytes per second, ideally at or close to 30.

The Federal Communications Commission defines fast Internet as 4 or more megabytes per second.

Residents still torn over Suzuki property

While residents packed into a standing-room-only city council meeting Tuesday night to share suggestions on what to do with the city-owned Suzuki property, no action was taken and no new ideas were discussed by the council.

The property at the southeast corner of New Brooklyn and Sportsman Club Roads by Woodward Middle School is forested and has several trails. There are no wetlands, streams or steep slopes. There is a pond, but because it is man-made it does not meet the definition of a “critical area” under the city’s codes.

Residents continue to be torn between leaving the 13.83 acres of undeveloped land as is, using it for affordable housing, or allowing the school to use it for possible expansion in the future or outdoor education.

All of these ideas had previously been discussed at a public workshop last fall, where the Housing Resources Board, Housing Kitsap, Cutler Anderson Architects and Arcstudio each presented preliminary concepts to more than 100 residents.

According to multiple options presented to the city, the site could have anywhere from 45 to 75 housing units if developed.

Only 30 affordable units have been created on the island since 2002.

In 2000, the city purchased the land as a site for a police station and courthouse. Since then it was decided the property was too close to schools for a police station.

Some residents were concerned about increased traffic problems near the school with more housing.

Experience a day in the life of a Bainbridge Island cop

An America's Most Wanted television crew sets up in the intersection of Winslow Way and Highway 305 on Bainbridge Island Thursday morning. In the police car is Bainbridge Island Police Officer Steve Cain who was involved in the car chase.
An America’s Most Wanted television crew sets up in the intersection of Winslow Way and Highway 305 on Bainbridge Island Thursday morning. In the police car is Bainbridge Island Police Officer Steve Cain who was involved in the car chase.

If you are interested in learning first hand what your local law enforcement does, apply for a hands-on learning experience with the Bainbridge Island Police Department. And it’s free.

The Citizens’ Police Academy is designed to show residents how the department functions, including everything from traffic enforcement, narcotics and criminal law to defensive tactics and investigations.

“The program was started to give citizens insight into what officers do while on patrol. It’s a great opportunity, as students get to gain a perspective of what happens behind the scenes, while also having the opportunity to get acquainted with some of the officers who serve them,” Chief of Police Matthew Hamner said in a news release.

While the academy is not intended to prepare people for a career in law enforcement, it is an opportunity better understand the job of local officers.

The academy is offered once a year. This year’s program runs on Tuesday nights from Tuesday, Feb. 10 through Tuesday, April 14. Classes are two hours long and start at 7 p.m. There are two optional Saturday sessions.

Students also have the opportunity to visit the CenCom 911 dispatch center, the Kitsap County Coroner’s Office and the Kitsap County Jail.

The class size is limited to 20 students.

For questions or an application, call the Bainbridge Island Police Department at 206-842-5211 or visit the department’s website.

Bainbridge Island Fire opens its doors before February election

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The Bainbridge Island Fire Department will be asking voters for a levy and 20-year $16 million bond next month during the special election.

Before voters  head to the ballot boxes, the departments is looking to answer any questions residents have on the levy and bond.

The levy would increase the 2015 regular property tax to 95 cents per $1,000.00 of assessed valuation. Without the increase it is estimated to be 86 cents.

The levy would be used to hiring three more firefighters, and pay for three that have been recently hired.  Those firefighters would be used to open Fire Station 23 on Phelps Road, which is currently closed and unmanned.

The money will not be collected until 2016.

The 20-year $16 million bond would be to pay for rebuilding, remodeling and equipping the department’s fire stations.

You can read more about the bond and levy details in a previous story I did in the Kitsap Sun.

The open houses will be:

  • January 07, 2015  6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Station 21 – 8895 Madison Avenue, NE
  • January 14, 2015  6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Station 22 – 7934 NE Bucklin Hill Road
  • January 21, 2015  6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Station 23 – 12985 Phelps Road
  • January 24, 2015 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. at Station 21 – 8895 Madison Avenue, NE
  • January 24, 2015  2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Station 22 – 7934 NE Bucklin Hill Road

Residents can also attend the bi-monthly fire commissioner meetings.

Six candidates eye central ward vacancy

Six candidates are looking to fill the central ward vacancy on the Bainbridge Island City Council since David Ward resigned at the end of last year.

The six that have applied for the position are Monica Aufrecht, John Green, Joe Levan, Greg Millerd, Gary Pettersen and Michael Scott.

The council will interview candidates during a public meeting this month before voting on and choosing the new council member to finish Ward’s term, which ends in December 2015. Council members serve four year terms, earning $1,000 a month. The mayor earns $1,250 a month.

MONICA AUFRECHT

Aufrecht is a college instructor who moved to the island in 2012. She earned a Ph.D in philosophy from the University of Washington, where she is now an instructor. She also teaches at Seattle Central College.

Last year, she served as a committee member for the Metropolitan Parks and Recreation District for the island, helping with the new Strawberry Hill Dog Park.

Aufrecht’s top three priorities on the council would be affordable housing, reducing pollution in Puget Sound and traffic and safety.

JOHN GREEN

Green owns and manages his own development and construction company on the island, where he has lived for 20 years. With his business he has worked with city planners, the public works department and city council, among other government agencies.

Green ran for the central ward position in 2011, losing in the primary election with 14.35 percent of the vote.

Green’s top three priorities would be the comprehensive plan, stormwater cleanup and fiscal responsibilities. He suggested “outsourcing” and raising the car tab fee, which is set at $20. Raising the car tab fee would require a vote from residents.

JOE LEVAN

Levan has lived on the island since 1995, and is an attorney currently working for the Municipal Research and Services Center in Seattle. He has provided legal services to multiple cities and served as interim assistant city manager of Maple Valley in 2007, where he also served as city attorney.

Levan earned two bachelor’s degrees from Seattle University in 1989, before earning his law degree from the same college a decade later.

He ran for the central ward position in 2011, losing in the general election to David Ward by about 1,000 votes.

Levan’s three priorities would be a smooth transition after Ward’s resignation, creating a safe and green community, as well as a more diversified economy.

GREG MILLERD

Millerd is a commercial real estate agent with Cushman & Wakefield, where he has been for about 20 years.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and mass community cation from the University of Wisconsin before earning a masters in business at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California.

Millerd’s top two priorities would be to evaluate the city’s current real estate portfolio and review having a joint police and fire station. “It makes no sense to me that both the fire departments and police department would have unique facilities,” he wrote in his application. The city council voted 5-2 against a combination station last fall.

GARY PETTERSEN

Petterson, who most recently worked for Boeing Everett plant, has served on the planning commissioner for Winslow and Bainbridge Island.

He worked most of his career as a draftsman and computer programmer throughout the greater Seattle area.

Petterson also served in the Army from 1967 to 1971.

His top three priorities would be keeping downtown Winslow pedestrian friendly, help resolve ferry traffic congestion and broadcasting city council meetings again.

Bainbridge Island Television, which use to broadcast council meetings, went off air in 2010. The meetings can be streamed lived from the city’s website or viewed on BKAT.

MICHAEL SCOTT

Scott, an attorney with Hillis Clark Martin & Peterson in Seattle, has lived on the island since 1989. And he served on the Bainbridge Island School Board from 2001 to 2004.

His law practice focuses on litigation between commercial disputes, as well as arbitration and mediation.

Scott’s top three priorities as a council member would be balancing development with open space, improving infrastructure surrounding the ferry terminal and maintaining economic business centers — downtown Winslow, Lynwood Center and Rolling Bay, among others.