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Ericksen project draws little flak
Design reviewers OK a mixed-use plan, even as the proposal next door is stalled.
A 1940s-era home on Ericksen Avenue will likely make way for a new mixed-use development later this year.
In the early design phase, the project includes knocking down a small, 60-year-old home and garage at 310 Ericksen Avenue.
In its place, owner Dick Allen of Bainbridge Island plans to build four townhomes totaling almost 7,000 square feet, two office buildings totaling over 1,000 square feet and about a dozen parking spaces. Buildings and pavement will cover about 70 percent of the 12,000 square foot parcel.
This will be the finest new construction that has been done on Ericksen, said Allen, who also built the Hillendale development off Weaver Road north of Wyatt Way.
Allen plans to begin construction in early August, with estimated completion in the summer of 2008. The projects plans include the removal of at least four trees with diameters of over 10 inches that are specified as significant by the city.
The property, just west of the Winslow ravine, neighbors a parcel to the south undergoing similar redevelopment.
That propertys plans, under the working name Peach Place, include the tear-down of a 100-year-old house and construction of single-family residences and commercial space. The proposal recently drew fire from historic preservationists and residents fearing that the development would not fit the areas surrounding character.
The project at 310 Ericksen, however, has elicited no outcry. Members of the citys Historic Preservation Committee did not express concerns about the project when asked about it last week.
The citys Design Review Board OKd the project May 21 after working with Allen to slightly alter the projects initial plans.
The board, which reviews all commercial and multi-unit residential developments, urged Allen to add a front porch facing the street, widen the front yard to about 15 feet and increase street-side setbacks to allow for a possible future sidewalk.
Allen agreed to the changes, eliciting praise from at least one board member.
It will probably be the nicest development on the street, wrote DRB member John Green, in a memo to the board on May 15, adding that the project demonstrates a clear understanding of the codes, regulations and guidelines.
Although he made the suggested changes, Allen feels the board is out of step with modern design standards and with the neighborhoods changing character.
The board, he said, uses faulty theory that doesnt follow contemporary guidance from contemporary planning.
The sidewalk setback, he added, runs counter to earlier city directives that discourage sidewalks on Ericksens east side.
About 70 percent of (Ericksen) is already developed using inconsistent design guidelines, including a variety of setback requirements at nearby developments, he said.
Despite his misgivings about the board and city guidelines, Allen predicted his development will receive the publics endorsement.
The project, he wrote in his application to the city, will feature a lovely design embraced by all who look.