Tag Archives: Ericksen Avenue

Letter: Don’t destroy Bainbridge Island’s historic homes

The city has given final approval for the demolition of the historic home at 216 Ericksen Avenue. A group of islanders submitted a letter to the Sun calling on the newly empowered City Council to ensure buildings of historic value do not meet the same fate. The letter is below.

On the July 1, the City of Bainbridge Island officially approved the demolition of a building designated as one of the “Most Endangered Historic Properties” by the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation.

The house, at 216 Ericksen Avenue, is one of seven historic homes still standing on that street where shipyard workers once lived in the early 1900s. The distinctive architecture of this contiguous row of houses, along with its history, has been a source of enjoyment and education for both residents and tourists. The demolition of this historic house portends the eventual demolition of several others.

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Historic Bainbridge house makes annual “endangered” list

The Washington Trust for Historic Preservation named the century-old house at 216 Ericksen Avenue to its “Most Endangered Historic Properties of 2009” list.

You can read my story and a related debate in the comments section by clicking here.

If you’re interested in seeing the trust’s complete list (which also includes the P-I globe), visit the trust’s site here.

UPDATED: Planning commissioner resigns over historic house demolition plan

ericksenhouse1 A longtime Bainbridge planning commissioner resigned in protest Thursday night after casting a dissenting vote against the demolition of a 107-year-old house set among a row of historic homes on Ericksen Avenue.

“These were the houses of workers in the shipyard that was the main industry on the island,” said Gary Pettersen, whose resignation caps over a decade on the commission. “We have to save our history because once it’s gone, it’s gone.”

With the city Planning Commission’s three-to-two vote recommending the demolition’s approval, it is almost assured that the house at 216 Ericksen Ave. will be demolished to make way for new offices and townhouses. The redevelopment project will go forward despite opposition from neighbors, local historians, the state historical preservation department and some members of city Design Review Board.

Pettersen said the demolition violates the intent of the city’s Comprehensive Plan, which calls for the preservation of Ericksen Avenue’s historic character.

“I resigned at the meeting last night because I thought the Comprehensive Plan was being ignored,” said Pettersen, who previously served 10 years on the commission before his latest nine-month stint.

While city code does not prohibit demolition, it does require all additions and remodels to fit the early 1900s character of the downtown Winslow street. Additions put also be located to the rear of existing historic buildings.

In approving the project, the commission is following the wording of zoning rules while opting not to consider the intent of the Comprehensive Plan, Pettersen said.

“The (plan) doesn’t mention demolition, but if it had to mention every single possibility, the document would be 10 feet tall,” he said.

Commissioner Martin Minkoff, who voted in favor of the plan, said city code has no provision mandating historic preservation.

“It’s a tough issue,” he said. “The (Comprehensive Plan) clearly states the intent is to preserve the historic structures. Yet, the ordinance behind it is voluntary in nature. It is not proscriptive- or prohibition-based.”

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