Category Archives: Community

Leash ordinance changes will likely be discussed next study session

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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?

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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?

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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

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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

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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

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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.