Tag Archives: development

Tree-sit inspires song, music video

Although 19-year-old Chiara D’Angelo’s recent Bainbridge Island tree-sit protest of the Visconsi Cos. 62,000-square-foot shopping complex didn’t prevent the clearing of 830 trees off state Route 305 and High School Road, her efforts have inspired a song and music video that was posted to YouTube Monday.

Leif Utne’s original “Girl in a Tree” song and video features D’Angelo and other Bainbridge residents of all ages dancing and holding up handwritten pro-environment signs in various locations around the island. Honey Toad Studio, located on Bainbridge, helped Utne with the video’s production.

Below is a link to the video:


As of 11:55 p.m. Wednesday, the video had received 1,728 views with 33 “likes” and two “dislikes.”

News of the video was starting to gain attention nationally. On Wednesday, Mother Earth News posted a story about it on its Facebook page and Kim Murphy, the Los Angeles Times’ assistant managing editor for foreign and national news, tweeted about it.

D’Angelo, a 2013 Bainbridge High graduate and a sophomore at Western Washington University, stayed approximately 41 hours on a wooden platform 70 feet up roped to an evergreen tree Aug. 18-19. She avoided being arrested for trespassing on Visconsi private property by making a deal before she came down from her perch, Bainbridge Island Police Deputy Police Chief Jeff Horn said.

Many islanders fought for more than a year against the 8.16-acre Visconsi shopping complex, which the Bainbridge Planning Commission unanimously rejected in November. It wasn’t until the island’s Hearing Examiner approved the project in March with 50 State Environmental Policy Act conditions that the shopping complex could move forward.

Five days before D’Angelo’s tree-sit protest began, a grade and fill permit with clearing was authorized by the city of Bainbridge for the property, which was zoned for commercial use.

Contributed photo Here's a screen shot of the tweet posted by Kim Murphy of the Los Angeles Times.
Contributed photo
Here’s a screen shot of the tweet posted by Kim Murphy of the Los Angeles Times.

Update: Hearing Examiner expects to make Visconsi decision no later than March 10

Story updated 3:45 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 12

BAINBRIDGE ISLAND – Attorneys involved in the proposed Visconsi shopping complex were requested by Bainbridge Hearing Examiner Stafford Smith to submit their briefs by Wednesday, Feb. 12, and Visconsi attorney Dennis Reynolds to submit his reply by Monday, Feb. 17.

Smith’s request on the final day of his hearings about the Visconsi project on Jan. 28, followed the Bainbridge Planning Commission voting 7-0 in November to recommend denying the proposed 62,000-square-foot shopping center. To be located on High School Road across the street from McDonald’s, the 8-acre complex would have a two-story medical facility, bank, drugstore, restaurants and other retailers.

Smith is looking at three parts to the Visconsi issue, a conditional use permit, a site plan review and a State Environmental Policy Act, Hearing Examiner Assistant Debbie Rose said.

Rose stated in an email Wednesday that Smith planned on having a decision in the case by March 10.

“Legal briefing by the parties is scheduled to be completed by 2/24/14 and the hearing examiner expects a decision to be issued within two weeks of that date,” Rose said.

When Smith reaches a decision on the Visconsi project it, Rose said will be posted on the city’s website.

It’s big, it’s green and it’s headed to Winslow

The largest housing development since Harbor Square is expected to break ground on the north end of Winslow by the middle of next year.

Planned for the eight acres to the west of the Pavilion, the 138-unit Grow Community aims to be a walkable, energy-efficient neighborhood with a mix of housing types.

“We’re hoping to create a community that doesn’t yet exist,” said Marja Preston, a planner for Asani, the company that’s developing the site. “The idea is to create opportunities for more community interaction through diverse housing and amenities on the site.”

Grow Community’s preliminary site plan calls for condominiums, townhouses, rental apartments and single-family homes set along a wide central trail. Asani plans to incorporate pea-patches, composting areas, rain gardens and a community hall.

Read my story HERE.

Asani’s preliminary site plan can be seen below.

Back when she was a Bainbridge city planner, Preston worked to get the site listed as pilot project with Forest Trends’ Business and Biodiversity Offset Program, which aims to strike a balance between large-scale resource use and environmental preservation.

In a story I wrote for the Review in 2007, the plan was generally panned by other conservationists who were brought to Bainbridge for a Forest Trends conference. The project site was seen as too small to have a significant impact, said conservationists who were leading biodiversity offset projects in Africa that benefit endangered animals and fragile forests.

Though smaller in scale, the project shouldn’t be discounted, a South African scientist said.

Don’t call it a biodiversity offset, he said. Call it sound urban planning.

It looks like that’s what Preston is aiming for, albeit now through the private sector rather than City Hall.

Grow Community Map

Island Gateway forum tonight

Developer Bill Carruthers reviews a map of the Island Gateway site. Photo: Tristan Baurick

The city is hosting a forum tonight about the Island Gateway development taking shape at the Highway 305-Winslow Way intersection.

Despite a fair amount of opposition to the 60,000-square-foot project, city leaders say the meeting is not aimed at deciding whether or not to halt Gateway’s progress, which now includes a partially-done Kids Discovery Museum and a large pit that will eventually be underground parking.

Rather, the meeting is aimed at informing Gateway’s critics how and why the city let it go forward.

City leaders admit they could have done a better job explaining its processes and getting information out more quickly.

Islanders opposed to the project have made several public information requests, created a website and filed a lawsuit.

Some critics aren’t happy with the goals of tonight’s forum, calling it a “farce” and a “slap in the face.”

For more about the issues surrounding Gateway, check out the story I wrote for Monday’s paper.

Tonight’s forum runs from 7 to 9 p.m. at City Hall.

Island Gateway approved

The city gave final approval for the Island Gatway development late last week.

The largest Bainbridge development in years, Island Gateway is now set to break ground at the Winslow Way-Highway 305 intersection in late summer or early fall.

Planning Director Kathy Cook approved the development on Friday after it earned the support of the city Planning Commission and Design Review Board.

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Winslow development clashes with the “Bainbridge aesthetic,” officials say


The design illustration above depicts what the prominent northwest corner of the Winslow Way and Highway 305 intersection may look like in the near future.

A new art museum would anchor the front end (depicted at right) of the proposed Island Gateway project, with about 60,000 square feet of commercial space and a new home for the Kids Discovery Museum to the rear.

The project’s plans call for the removal of the five-acre site’s three existing structures. All new buildings would incorporate green design and the overall site plan features elements to reduce stormwater runoff into Winslow Ravine.

The city’s Design Review Board balked, saying the project’s design doesn’t fit the city’s preferred aesthetic for downtown. The board’s move doesn’t kill the project. The project’s developers, owner Bill Carruthers and architect Matthew Coates, will meet with the board next week to hash out some new ideas.

For my full story on the project, click here.

Below is a site plan showing the full project.


Island’s largest health care facility planned for Madison Ave.

The city approved plans for what will be the island’s largest medical center and one of its largest assisted living facilities. While local developers are touting the project as an answer to many of the island’s health and elder care needs, some residents are expressing concern about its size and scope.

The story below focuses on the buildings themselves and on the project’s first phase, which is likely to be the 47,700-square-foot assisted living facility.

I also talked with doctors and other folks about the planned medical building and the kinds of services the island needs, but there wasn’t room in this story for all that. Stay tuned for a story about the medical side. And in the meantime, drop me a line about where you see gaps in medical service on Bainbridge, and I’ll try to work it into the story.

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Sand pit’s stop work order upheld

The city hearing examiner denied an appeal this week by a local development company forced to halt work on a 4-acre sand pit operation on the island’s south end.

In her decision, Hearing Examiner Margaret Klockars affirmed the city’s late June decision to halt the operation at the intersection of Fletcher Bay and Lynwood Center roads for violating land use permit rules and possibly endangering the largely residential area’s underground water supply.

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City halts sand pit operation


A stop work order was posted by the city at a controversial sand extraction project on the island’s south end.

The developer in charge of the project will likely have to refill the holes, clear the piles and replant the 4-acre area.

Read my story below.

City Halts Extraction of Sand From Bainbridge Pit

By Tristan Baurick

Spurred by residents complaints, the city halted work at a sand pit that had grown beyond its permissible boundaries.

Permitted for a 2.9-acre excavation project by the island-based Nelson Wood and Glass company, the triangle-shaped dig site at the intersection of Fletcher Bay and Lynwood Center roads actually encompasses about 4 acres, according to the city. A stop work order was issued Friday afternoon, following site visits by city and state officials.

“The site will have to be restored,” said City Administrator Mark Dombroski. “They can’t leave the holes or the piles.”

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