Category Archives: Community

City invests in phase II of Ferncliff Village

The first phase of Ferncliff Village development. (Brad Camp/Special to the Kitsap Sun)
The first phase of Ferncliff Village development. (Brad Camp/Special to the Kitsap Sun)

City Council agreed Tuesday to provide $150,000 for phase II of the Ferncliff Village, an affordable housing development by Housing Resources Bainbridge on the island.

Phase II will include 16 two and three bedroom townhomes, a playground and trails. Each townhome will cost about $200,000, according to the development’s website.

Housing Resources Bainbridge started the first phase of the development in 2011 and sold all of the homes by the fall of 2013.

The city will contribute $75,000 a year for two years after Housing Resources Bainbridge has a construction loan agreement.

Payments from the city will be reimbursements, and Housing Resources Bainbridge must submit receipts.

Local author’s tour stops by the island

Barcott
Barcott

Bainbridge Island author and journalist Bruce Barcott will be on Bainbridge Island next Thursday signing and discussing his latest book on the ramifications of legalizing marijuana.

“Weed the People: The Future of Legal Marijuana in America” talks about cultural, social and financial adjustments surrounding legal weed.

Barcott discusses his last minute change of heart to vote for legalizing marijuana in a CNN opinion piece, where he notes that marijuana possession can come with more prison time than some rape and other violent crime convictions in states like Louisiana.

weed-barcott“Legal weed hasn’t inspired an army of hooligans to tear up the state. It’s just kept 10,000 people with a little bud in their pockets from being branded as criminals,” he wrote. “Instead of losing their jobs, they keep them. Instead of draining tax dollars as prisoners, they contribute tax dollars as workers and consumers.”

Barcott’s other work includes “The Last Flight of the Scarlet Macaw” and “The Measure of a Mountain.”

He will be at the TreeHouse Cafe in the Lynwood Center on Thursday from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

BARN crafts new building design

Bainbridge Artisans Resource Network, known as BARN, has architectural designs for a new facility, as I reported in Monday’s Kitsap Sun.

Watch the video of its current building, which is 2,000-square-foot.

The proposed building is 25,000-square-foot.

Click on the images below to enlarge them.

Leash requirements expanding on the island

Claire Hicks plays fetch in the water with her dog French at Pritchard Park on Bainbridge Island. (LARRY STEAGALL / KITSAP SUN)
Claire Hicks plays fetch in the water with her dog French at Pritchard Park on Bainbridge Island. (LARRY STEAGALL / KITSAP SUN)

Bainbridge Island City Council is moving forward with changes to the city’s animal ordinance, which will affect where dogs need to be leashed on the island.

The ordinance updates will require dogs to be leashed in two major business areas on the island — Winslow and Lynwood Center — and give teeth to the park district’s current leash rule.

Under the city’s current code, dogs can be off leash on city property if under voice command.

The school and park districts already have their own regulations that require dogs to be leashed on their property, except at Strawberry Hill’s off-leash dog park. Those rules are not included in the city’s current city ordinance.

Updates to the city’s animal ordinance will include that dogs must be leashed on park district land, providing penalties for violators.

Dogs owners can face up to a $300 fine for not keeping their dogs under voice control or on leash.

Dog owners who do not prevent their dogs from injuring or intimidating pedestrians or cyclists can face up to a $1,000 fine for having a dangerous animal.

The city began discussions about changing its animal ordinance months ago at the request of the park district, which has struggled with enforcing its leash rule.

One resident who spoke out against changes to the ordinance Tuesday night said the park district hasn’t enforced its own leash rule.

Terry Lande, the park district’s executive director, previously said that the park’s rule has little teeth without the backing of a city ordinance and its penalties. Violators of the leash rule can only be asked to leash their dogs or leave the park property, Lande said.

The city had previously considered requiring dogs to be leashed in city owned parks as well, but has since decided to only apply the leash regulations to park district owned parks.

Other updates to the ordinance will require dogs be leashed in the Winslow and Lynwood Center business areas. The Winslow business area will extend from the waterfront to High School Road, and fall between Madison Avenue and Ferncliff Avenue.

The city-owned Waterfront Park will be included in the Winslow business area, and dogs will have to be leashed there.

The city also is considering a trial period to specifically allow off-leash dogs at Pritchard Park, another city-owned park, during certain hours, days or in certain parts of the park.

The off-leash experiment for Pritchard Park is expected to be discussed at a later council meeting.

Eventually, the city plans to transfer nearly all of the Pritchard Park over to the park district. About half of the park is already co-owned by the city and park district, where the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial is located.

The park transfer is expected to take place some time after September, said City Manageer Doug Schulze.

The city won’t make any conditional requirement in favor of off-leash dog spaces or times at the park for the transfer to take place, Tollefson said.

While leashes will be required in more areas on the island, there are no plans to change the animal control budget for enforcement or code penalties.

Updates to the city’s animal ordinance are expected to be adopted next week.

Creative Space for artists proposed off Day Road

Bainbridge Island architect Michael Wangen talks to residents about the proposed Creative Space development.
Bainbridge Island architect Michael Wangen talks to residents about the proposed Creative Space development.

Developers and Bainbridge Island residents Dave Christianson and Terry McGuire shared details and took questions about their proposed community workspace for arts and artisan Monday night during a public meeting.

Christianson is with Tseng Properties, LLC, which is leading the development on a 4.5-acre property off of Day Road near the Bainbridge Island Saddle Club’s facility.

Only 1.5 acres of the site is buildable land because of wetlands, said Michael Wangen, the Bainbridge Island architect working on the project.

Construction on the 10-building project, known as Creative Space, could start as early as this summer and be finished in six to 12 months, said Christianson.

Island Craft, a similar artist development, is being constructed nearby Creative Space on Day Road.

All 10 of the Creative Space buildings are 40 feet by 48 feet, and proposed uses include boat and vehicle restoration, woodwork, painting or sculpture work. Space is not intended to be used for office or retails space, although there could be display and sales events open to the public, Christianson said.

Two of the buildings would be 1.5 stories with a 1,920-square-foot garage on the first floor and a 920-square-foot loft above. One building would be a residence for the facility’s manager. No other units would have residential space.

Eight of the buildings would be divided into two studio spaces, each side about 960 square feet, with the possibility a 440-square-foot storage loft. Tenants could potentially rent the whole building.

The developers want to rent space at about 75 cents a square foot, they said Monday.

McGuire said the goal is to rent the 960-square-foot studios for about $720. A unit with a loft would be about $1,050. The final price would depend on construction costs, which are still unknown, she said.

McGuire and Christianson also live next to and have their own personal workspace by the proposed development. They have lived on the island for about 25 years, Christianson said.

Access to Creative Space would be off of the same gravel road used to drive to the Saddle Club facility and Manzanita Park.

There are no proposed changes to the road or its overhead tree canopy, although about a dozen Saddle Club members at Monday’s meeting voiced concerns about who would maintain the road with the new development.

There is an easement for the road use and the county will be looking into who is responsible for the road’s upkeep according to that easement, said Heather Beckmann, a planner with the city.

Christianson said he was “willing to pony up” and help maintain the road.

“If I am causing wear and tear on the road, I have to cover the expense,” he said.

Saddle Club members also were concerned whether the road could handle more traffic and how how safe it would be because it has mainly been used as a trail.

Juliet LeDorze suggested creating a trail alongside the road for equestrians and pedestrians.

Beckmann said the city would talk to the park district about that possibility.

The project is in the pre-application phase and there will be another public comment period after an application has been submitted to the city.

FCC approves radio station for the island

Kitsap Sun file photo
Kitsap Sun file photo

The Federal Communications Commission recently granted the city of Bainbridge Island a 10-year license to operate an AM information radio station.

The city expects to have the station — which will be transmitted on 600k Hz and 1700 kHz — broadcasting in late summer or fall, according to the city manager’s report.

The radio station will provide information about Amber Alerts, school incidents, bridge closures, earthquakes and other types of emergencies.

“During nonemergency times, the station could be used to inform motorists of street repairs, traffic hazards, community events, travel advisories, city history and even visitor information,” the report says.

The city has been working to start a radio station alongside Sustainable Bainbridge, an island nonprofit that created Bainbridge Community Broadcasting.

Bainbridge Community Broadcasting provides podcasts and radio shows online via its website.

Another development planned for artists

There will be a public meeting Monday about a newly proposed development for artists.

Tseng Properties, LLC, is proposing ten buildings on 4.5 acres of undeveloped land located west on NE Day Road W, and accessed off of Saddle Club and Manzanita Park access roads. The buildings could be used for “light manufacturing” such as workshops, storage and display spaces for lease.

The public meeting will be at 5:30 p.m. Monday in the council chambers at City Hall.

Leash ordinance changes will likely be discussed next study session

blog.dogpark

Although the Bainbridge Island City Council did not discuss updating the animal ordinance during Tuesday’s meeting, it is expected to be on the council’s next study session agenda.

The proposed changes would require dog owners to leash their dogs in the Winslow and Lynwood Center business areas, as well as city parks. A story in last week’s Islander incorrectly stated the changes would not apply to city-owned parks. The story has been updated online.

The potential ordinance change also would include that the school and park district require dogs to be leashed on their property.

In recent years, the park district has had incidents of off-leash dogs intimidating or injuring people as well as horses.

Under the current city code, dog owners can face up to $1,000 fine for not preventing their dogs from intimidating or injuring pedestrians or cyclists.

Owners failing to keep their dog under voice control or leashed face a citation and up to a $300 fine.

There are no proposed changes to the ordinance’s penalties.

Third site lands on list for new police station

The Bainbridge Island Police Station on Winslow Way.
The Bainbridge Island Police Station on Winslow Way.

The city is considering third site option for a police station.

The newest property being considered is nearly 9 acres of undeveloped land “outside the Winslow core.”

City officials did not provide an address, general location or cost estimation for the property.

The two other locations still being considered are a .75 acre property on Madison Avenue, north of City Hall, and 1.89 acres along New Brooklyn Road by the Bainbridge Island Fire Department headquarters.

All three sites are large enough to accommodate police, municipal court and the Emergency Operations Center.

The newest site option would leave room for expansion or building other city facilities. The city also could sell part of the property to reduce the overall project cost.

A “significant amount” of the land is buildable, although a portion is unbuildable, said City Manager Doug Schulze.

The site near the fire station headquarters could require a two-story building, resulting in a “loss of operational efficiency.” The land also has a slight slope, requiring a retaining wall.

The Madison Avenue property near City Hall does not have room for expansion, and would require a two-story building. The property is “marginally large enough for the police facility and required parking.”

While the Madison Avenue property is the smallest, it is closest to City Hall and would allow for a government campus.

Having a campus was one of the reasons city officials declined to build a joint station with the fire department. Council members also voiced concerns with being a tenant of the fire department.

Keeping the police station close to City Hall also allows for accountability, Schulze said.

“The citizens of the community have concerns about unnecessary use of force and expect police officers to be skilled in tactful communication, de-escalation, and crisis intervention,” according to Schulze’s memorandum to the council.

The city plans to make a final site selection by the end of June.

Where do you gas up?

IMG_6957

Last week, Kitsap Sun business reporter Tad Sooter wrote about how there will be one less gas station on the island.

Brown Bear Car Wash will be shutting down its Chevron station off off Hildebrand Lane, leaving the island with only two gas stations.

Brown Bear also owns the station on Highway 305 and High School Road. That station will stay open.

The other gas station on the island is a 76 station that operates in Island Center.

 

Where do you buy gas on Bainbridge Island?

  • Suquamish (37%, 13 Votes)
  • Chevron at Highway 305 and High School Road (26%, 9 Votes)
  • Chevron off Hildebrand Lane (20%, 7 Votes)
  • Poulsbo (6%, 2 Votes)
  • The closest station I can find when I am low on gas. (6%, 2 Votes)
  • 76 in Island Center (3%, 1 Votes)
  • I bike or take public transportation. (3%, 1 Votes)
  • Seattle (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 35

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Community resource officer could help mend relationships with residents

 Bainbridge Island Police Department evidence technician Jennifer Cooper, Lt. Chris Jensen and Reserve Officer Mark Crowthers inspect ammunition turned in by a Bainbridge resident in 2013. TAD SOOTER / KITSAP SUN
Bainbridge Island Police Department evidence technician Jennifer Cooper, Lt. Chris Jensen and Reserve Officer Mark Crowthers inspect ammunition turned in by a Bainbridge resident. TAD SOOTER / KITSAP SUN

Bainbridge Island Police Department is looking to improve its once rocky relationship with residents through a designated community resource officer.

“When you have that good relationship of trust between officers and the community, we’re more effective,” said Police Chief Matthew Hamner.

City Council unanimously gave the department the go-ahead to apply for a federal grant that would cover 75 percent of the $100,000 annual salary and benefits of the community resource officer for three years. The department would cover the full cost the fourth year.

The community resource officer would be responsible for community related events and programs with the department, such as the citizen police academy, neighborhood watches and the police youth advisory group.

The community resource officer would be a liaison for the island schools, although it would be up to the schools how often the officer meets with students.

While the district has been without a school resource officer for more than a decade, there might not be a great demand for one just yet.

The district recently determined students and parents felt safe at the schools based on surveys and meetings with the police department, said Galen Crawford, communications specialist with Bainbridge Island School District.

Although residents don’t have a safety concern for the schools, community trust in the police department was waning and the City Council was split on whether to support a school resource officer before Hamner became chief in June 2013.

In May 2011, the council stalled in a 3-3 vote to apply for a school resource officer grant.

The city manager at the time, Brenda Bauer, blamed a Facebook post by Officer Michelle Vollmer for turning the council against the grant, a post Vollmer said was a joke.

Vollmer’s Facebook comment was one of a string of issues the Bainbridge Island Police faced.

In October 2010, a Bainbridge officer shot and killed a mentally ill man during a welfare check, ending in a $1.4 million lawsuit settlement and a federal jury finding the city and then Police Chief Jon Fehlman at fault for not providing enough training for handling situations with mentally ill residents.

Another officer — president of the Bainbridge police guild at the time — was accused of harassing City Council members the same month as the fatal shooting.

During the summer of 2011, the department hired a volunteer reserve officer — giving him a badge and the authority to carry a gun — who had a criminal history, including a misdemeanor assault charge and a weapons charge.

City Council learned about the reserve officer’s background a couple months after he was hired, and he was asked to resign.

Fehlman was the Bainbridge Island police chief during each of these issues. He resigned in September 2012.

Public support for the police department has been increasing, Hamner said, citing the council’s approval for a community resource officer and the police department having more residents apply for the citizen police academy than there were spots available.

“I think the chief has shown he has the best interest of this community and our children at hand time and time again,” said resident Dominique Cantwell, a former board member of the Bainbridge Youth Services.

A full story on the community resource officer grant will be available on the Kitsap Sun website.

This post has been updated to include a response from the school district.

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.