Condo dwellers halt Harbour Pub’s plans

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The lines may grow outside, but the inside of the Harbour Public House isn’t budging to accommodate. Read my story below.

Pub loses to condo dwellers in latest ruling
By Tristan Baurick

The state Court of Appeals ruled last week against the proposed expansion of the Harbour Public House, a popular tavern and eatery overlooking Eagle Harbor in downtown Winslow.

The court sided with the residents of the neighboring Harbourside Condominiums who believe an additional all-ages dining area would block views, boost noise and increase traffic and parking problems.

According to Judge Elaine Houghton, the expansion “would not fit the character” of an earlier agreement struck between the pub’s owners and the condo’s residential association. Houghton also noted that the pub’s proposed roofline “would change the character of the view from the condominium property.”


Pub co-owner Jeff Waite said the court’s ruling will likely halt his long sought expansion.

“It doesn’t leave us many options,” he said. “We’d like to work in concert with the condo owners but they’ve been pretty emphatic that they want no more commercial use on our commercial property.”

Waite had hoped to turn the existing Parfitt Way building and deck into a new family dining area and add a separate bar. Currently about 1,750 square feet, the planned expansion would have almost doubled the pub’s size.

Harbourside condo resident Ronald McKinstry said he feels “very good” about the ruling but declined to discuss the matter further. In court testimony, McKinstry said he considered “the view and peaceful community” critical in his decision to buy a Harbourside condo. He characterized the pub expansion plan as “enormous” and “ugly in comparison,” and predicted it would double the neighborhood noise level.

Calls to other condo residents named in the appeal and their attorney were not returned.

The appeals court ruling is the second legal setback for Waite. The pub’s expansion was shot down in 2006 by the Kitsap County Superior Court in 2006. Like the recent state court, the Superior Court cited an agreement between the condo owners and the pub’s founders Roger and Judith Evans that specified limited commercial activity.

Waite doubts he has much of a chance if he were to appeal to the state Supreme Court.
Built as a residence in 1881 by Bainbridge homesteader Ambrose Grow, the pub building was purchased and repaired by the Evans family in 1990. Opening it as an English-style neighborhood pub in 1991, the Roger Evans turned the operation over a few years later to his daughter Jocelyn and her husband Waite.

Packed on the weekends and busy most weeknights, the pub is a popular waterfront watering hole for a broad swath of islanders, from yachtsmen to liveaboards.

“We have limited capacity and it’s not unusual to have a line out the door,” Waite said.
The pub’s popularity breeds the kind of revelry that doesn’t fit the quiet life some condo owners envisioned when they purchased their homes.

“I don’t live on Fifth Avenue in New York City. I live on Bainbridge Island,” one condo resident told the Sun in 2006.

While never a bustling metropolis, the area surrounding the pub, including the condo site, was zoned commercial before it was considered partially residential, said Waite.
Jocelyn Waite said downtown residents who desire both rural quiet and urban amenities endanger the business her parents started.

“In the name of quiet character, we are observing the systematic dismantling of our urban core – the place that is supposed to be vibrant, according to the city’s plans,” she said.

Hoping for a possible 20 to 70 percent boost in business he says he needs to stay vital, Jeff Waite is not sure how the pub will ever measure up to his neighbors’ expectations.

“I suppose if we are to build to fit our immediate neighborhood, a mausoleum is in order,” he said.