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News Roundup - CAO slopes variance cut/Market calls for vendors/Chamber has a bright deal/Donate goods to orphans

CAO slopes variance cut

The City Council Wednesday voted to remove from the Critical Areas Ordinance the variance that would allow some development on unstable slopes.

The variance will be replaced with regulations pulled from the City of Issaquah’s CAO and from the state’s suggested model for such ordinances.

Council member Debbie Vancil said the change will ensure stronger safety, environmental and aesthetic protections and allow city staff to use “best available science” to evaluate projects in unstable areas on a site-by-site basis.

The new regulations will set a minimum buffer of 50 feet at the top and base of unstable slopes and limit development to slopes shallower than 40 percent, with some exceptions.

Council members who opposed the changes were concerned that the already belated second reading of the CAO would be delayed for two more weeks.

The council heard comments from ten members of the public, mostly asking for stricter controls on development in unstable areas than were provided for in the CAO.

Among them was Hilary Franz, who presented her independent research comparing Bainbridge’s CAO to those of other municipalities. The Council incorporated her report into its amendment of the ordinance.

– Tad Sooter

Market calls for vendors

Loyal farmers market-goers lamenting last Saturday’s final gathering at the town square can take heart – the six-Saturday winter market will run Nov. 17 through Dec. 22 at Eagle Harbor Congregational Church, and the call for winter vendors has begun.

Linda Owens, market manager, is now accepting vendor applications from purveyors of hand-made, home-made and home-grown products.

Owens stresses that while a range of non-produce items including wines, jams and jellies, skin care products, jewelry and handicrafts will be on offer at this year’s indoor/outdoor market, the winter tradition really is still a farmers market, with a particular focus on storage veggies like potatoes and leeks as well as winter greens.

Still, she notes, the tenor is apt to evolve as the holidays approach.

“At the beginning of the market, the farmers still have quite a bit of produce,” she said. “And then it shifts a little bit to the Christmas mode after Thanksgiving.”

Owens, who is wrapping up her first year as market manager, got her initial taste of the winter market just last year and found herself surprised and delighted by the variety she discovered.

“I couldn’t believe it – I got all my Christmas presents,” she said. “I was so excited.”

New and returning vendors who want to participate in the 2007 winter market should submit applications to Owens no later than Nov. 1. For detailed information on the membership guidelines, rules of the market, and an application, go to www.bainbridgefarmersmarket.com or call 855-1500.

– Lindsay Latimore

Chamber has a bright deal

The Bainbridge Island Chamber of Commerce, Puget Sound Energy and Ace Hardware aim to lighten things up next weekend in a campaign to shrink Bainbridge Island’s carbon footprint.

“As the Chamber of Commerce, we want to mirror and reflect the values of our community, and Bainbridge Island is a very environmentally sensitive place,” Executive Director Kevin Dwyer said.

The campaign, Bright Ideas for Bainbridge, will push the use of energy efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs, starting with a kick-off event on Nov. 3 at Bainbridge Ace Hardware. From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., standard CFLs will sell for 99 cents, with coupons available for specialty sizes.

CFLs use 75 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs and can last up to 10 times as long, meaning that energy savings add up quickly.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy’s ENERGY STAR organization estimates that each bulb can save its owners $30 over the life of the bulb. If the island’s nearly 8,000 households each replace eight incandescent bulbs with CFLs, residents could save more than $1.9 million.

The CFL promotion is the first step in a plan to “take baby steps, then work on up the ladder to bigger and brighter ideas” for cutting energy use, Dwyer said. Other possible targets include inefficient appliances in homes and offices.

“Conservation, in the long run, saves everyone – even the utility – time, money and resources,” he said.

Donate goods to orphans

Former Bainbridge Bakers barista Corbin Lester heads to Ethiopia Monday to volunteer with the Awassa Children’s Project, an orphanage for children whose parents have died of AIDS.

As part of the preparation, he and his traveling companions are staging a donation drive for small, portable goods including school supplies such as pencils, crayons, pens and paper; new or gently used small toys including balls, yo-yos, puzzles and stuffed animals; medical supplies such as band aids, antibiotic ointment, aspirin and gauze; and musical instruments such as harmonicas, hand drums and small percussion instruments.

Items can be dropped off at Paper Products and Vern’s Winslow Drug no later than close of business Oct. 28.

For information about the project, visit www.awassachildrensproject.org.

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