Townhouses for Sakai Village

"First it was a retirement village.Then it was apartments.Now even the name has changed, and Sakai Village - formerly the Village at Sakai Lakes - will be all townhouse condominiums, developer Doug Nelson says.I've been trying to do everything I can to make everybody happy, said Nelson Friday, smarting from what he described as hate mail generated by his previous development proposal.I decided I've got to do something (different) here, he said. I'm turning into a real bad guy with the public.A revised application for the development, to be constructed on the 18.47-acre Sakai property east of Madison Avenue and across from Ordway Elementary School, is now under environmental review by the city.The project would include 92 condominium units in 70 buildings, all two to three stories in height. A recreational/ management building, described by Nelson as a community center modeled after the island's Grange Hall, would be included, for a total project size of about 92,000 square feet.The northeast slope of the property would be left as open space, including a stand of significant trees and a wetland near the highway. Nelson said the wetlands would be deeded to the Bainbridge Island Land Trust upon the project's approval.All told, 53 percent of the land would be undeveloped.It's the project's third distinct incarnation. Plans last year for a 220-unit retirement village were abandoned before the permitting process began, when Nelson determined that that market was already saturated. Next came a proposal for 140 apartments, an application that is still on file with the city.I think the highest and best use is apartments, Nelson said, noting the need for affordable rentals on the island. But (those commenting on the project) just thought it was too many people.That proposal raised traffic concerns from various residents around Winslow. With an estimated 1,400 vehicular trips expected to be generated, several area residents asked city planners to make Nelson draft a costly environmental impact statement. City engineers countered that the vehicle trips fit within levels of service identified in the city's comprehensive plan.Nelson said Friday that he has also purchased the Madison Glen project, 46 townhouses slated for construction immediately north of Sakai Village. That project was started by developer Kelly Samson, and has already been approved.The Sakai Village file is available for review at the city planning desk. Comments on the project's environmental review must be submitted to the city planning department by July 31."

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