Council finally passes ordinance for green + affordable housing

Rendering of the Ferncliff housing project
Rendering of the Ferncliff housing project
The two most politicized words on Bainbridge Island are “density” and “water.” *

Having those two words attached to a proposed ordinance aimed at encouraging sustainable design and affordable housing ensured it would go through the wringer of staff revisions, several City Council-ordered rewrites and intense public scrutiny.

After about a year of work, the version that arrived before the council on Wednesday was trimmed and polished enough for unanimous approval.

Some supporters still worry that the ordinance, which establishes density bonuses and flexible design standards to encourage the construction of earth-friendly housing affordable for to middle-income people, may now have limited appeal to developers.

And critics say the ordinance may alter the island’s small town feel with high-density developments that draw down limited groundwater supplies.

The ordinance is likely to achieve one of it’s key goals: allow the Housing Resources Board to move forward with its planned 48-unit project on Ferncliff Avenue.

For more, read my story here.


*There’s also “Winslow Way,” but that’s a combination of two words.