Shoreline designations get initial thumbs-up

The Bainbridge Island City Council gave its initial approval of the island’s new shoreline designations as ongoing deliberations for the developing Shoreline Master Program continue.

The topic of shoreline designations has drawn many island eyes, watching to see how waterfront properties and more will be regulated in the future.

By a 4-3 vote, the council voted to adopt the shoreline designations as recommended by the city’s planning department at its meeting Wednesday, Sept. 5.

Councilwoman Sarah Blossom, Councilman Steve Bonkowski and Councilman David Ward voted against the adoption.

The vote is only preliminary, however.

The shoreline designations are not official until the council votes on the Shoreline Master Program as a whole, and even then, the city has to obtain the approval of the Department of Ecology.

The designations as recommended are urban, shoreline residential, shoreline residential conservancy, island conservancy, natural, and aquatic. Aquatic is further broken down to aquatic and priority aquatic.

Held within the shoreline designations is another sensitive subject of buffer zones along the waterfront. Buffer zones stipulate what development, and how much, can be constructed along the waterfront.

The regulations for buffer zones are relative to their designations and range from as little as 25 feet to 200 feet. Urban designations, for example, are set at 25 feet. Rural and semi-rural are 50 feet.

The council is taking a break from the Shoreline Master Program until November.

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