Neighbors oppose proposed dock on Blakely Harbor

"Some South Bainbridge residents have lined up in opposition to a neighbor who wants to build a floating dock stretching more than 100 feet into Blakely Harbor.The neighbor, Seaborn Road resident Kim Bottles, has applied to the city for a permit to build a floating dock - a 100-foot-long, T-shaped structure - to accommodate a boat used for the daily commute to his job in Seattle. The 30-day comment period on the application closed Nov. 9, throwing the plan into the laps of planning commission members. No hearing date has been scheduled.Several neighbors took their concerns to a recent park board meeting, and said they oppose the project on aesthetic and environmental grounds.From every point of view, this is something that should not happen, said Iver Macdougall, president of the South Bainbridge Community Association. It's not ugly, but it's certainly not pastoral, and it's not the image I think most people had in mind when they were trying to save the harbor.Chief among the concerns of SBCA members and Seaborn residents who filed letters with the city planning department include:*The dock's next-door proximity to an aquatic conservancy zone and Blakely Harbor Park - the latter of which, they say, might be obstructed from water access specifically spelled out in the 20-acre parcel's covenants.* The dock's contradiction in philosophy with the city's Harbor Management Plan, which contains language about minimizing the impact of docks on the harbor.To the best of my knowledge, no property owner has built a dock on Blakely Harbor during the past 20 years, wrote James Smith, a member of the former Harbor Management Advisory Committee. In part, this is a manifestation of the committee's recognition that, except for restraint on the part of all of us as neighbors, the quality of Blakely Harbor would be destroyed.As the SBCA's formal letter of opposition states: The visual and physical interference...(with the park) is very substantial.The Bottles family applied for the dock permit last summer, with plans to abandon a float at which they currently dock a 26-foot craft. At present, Kim Bottles uses a dinghy to reach both of the family's vessels, and the dock would make access easier, his wife said.Susan Bottles, co-applicant, said this week that there is 1,000 feet of shoreline between her property and the park, and that the harbor is more than 900 feet wide where the 100-foot dock would extend. The family purchased the property three years ago specifically for its deep-water moorage, she said.I do think that docks and boats are not necessarily a visual blight, Susan Bottles said. It's not necessarily a negative to the character of the harbor.She added: I don't see how it blocks access to the park...We're certainly open to anybody who has better suggestions.A state Department of Fish and Wildlife official has signed off on Bottles' plan, saying: (They have) worked with WDFW to design a float that will have minimal impacts to the environment.There is, though, some fear of setting a fresh dock-building precedent in the harbor, with a 100-acre parcel along the harbor's south side now being cleared for homes by developer Ray Stevenson.(Stevenson) presently intends to include covenants in the property deeds which would prohibit docks on these properties, Macdougall said. We are concerned that if the Bottles' proposal is approval, he may be induced to abandon this intent.Staff writer Douglas Crist contributed to this report. "

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