Island’s development must be sustainable | Letter to the editor

To the editor:

Bainbridge Island is blessed with an extraordinary talent pool of local architects, engineers and developers. Folks who live and work here, raise their families and support our combined community and lifestyle goals.

Island real estate prices, however, provide incentives for less talented, less caring developers and investors who may be unwilling accept the responsibility of working toward our community blueprint as set out in the Bainbridge Island Comprehensive Plan.

The present moratorium provides city employees, volunteers and office holders a short amount of time to change codes and processes that have proven to be insufficient in providing protections for our environment, our health and wellbeing.

New codes written during the moratorium give our development professionals tools that enable them to say no to inappropriate Island projects, by providing the framework to explain to their clients that unsustainable developments will simply not be permitted on Bainbridge Island.

Even better, these development professionals need to be able to point to exemplary codes that encourage the very best quality of building sustainably.

Island residents are not powerless in influencing the outcome. Rewriting codes is a time-consuming process. With community volunteer support perhaps we can work together with the council to help them get this important work done. There are unfilled positions on boards that support the council and represent our residents. Please consider volunteering to add your skills to our community talent pool.

There are 20,000 plus Bainbridge Island residents among whom there may be several hundred developers. These developers build our homes, our restaurants and our city. Let us support them and the council in working together to build a sustainable community that is an example to the rest of the country.

Our responsibility is not just for the next 20 years but to our sons and daughters to come. Instead of questioning the legality of this moratorium I encourage us to put that energy into defending and supporting all those who seek to leave Bainbridge better than they found it.

Certainly some developers now face added risk and hardship. I suggest that the city look at applications on a case-by-case basis and permit developments that meet the criteria of sustainability. I respectfully suggest that the city actively advertise for and recruit volunteers who may be able to help with the added workload for the duration of the moratorium.

PETER PERRY

Bainbridge Island

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