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Island growth report released

City's 2025 Growth Advisory Committee recommends channeling growth into Winslow while preserving open spaces

The island can absorb the growth predicted for it, but it must plan farther into the future to ensure growth doesn’t overwhelm the island’s valued characteristics and landscapes.

That was the conclusion of the city 2025 Growth Advisory Committee’s final report, released late this week.

“The answer is ‘yes, the island has the capacity’” to take on the nearly 7,000 new residents the city must plan for under state mandates, said committee chair Tim Bailey.

But the city must look beyond 2025 to adequately preserve and foster the island’s valued attributes.

Building and infrastructure planning runs on a much longer timeline than two decades, Bailey said.

“Looking (forward) 20 years is shortsighted,” he said. “We need to look into the 50-, 70-, 100-year horizon.”

The study stresses the need for increased efforts to preserve open space, especially in the downtown area. The city should immediately undertake a year-long study to identify preservation opportunities and funding options, according to the study.

Echoing the city’s Comprehensive Plan, the study strongly recommends that the island focus much of its predicted growth into Winslow and neighborhood centers.

Clustering growth, Bailey said, would allow the surrounding rural character to remain largely undeveloped.

The report is available online at www.ci.bainbridge-isl.wa.us/default.asp?ID=1283.

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