City still in arrears with Fort Ward

"The battle of Fort Ward is over, and the neighborhood didn't come out the victor.Plans for a new historical preservation committee notwithstanding, there is scant cause for cheer among denizens of the little outpost that once stood sentinel over Rich Passage and the gateway to the Bremerton shipyard. Construction of scores of new luxury homes - none of them subject to review for architectural propriety - continues apace around the district, with the eventuality of Winslow-like buildout in a neighborhood served by a single two-lane roadway.So with nothing much to look over save for the eight-unit Building 16 apartment project - which would be subject to public comment with or without a formal review body in place - we have to ask: what's the point of the committee?In the interest of full disclosure, we acknowledge that the editor of this newspaper is an eight-year resident of the Fort Ward area, and readers are free to take that for whatever it's worth. It is, though, indisputable that the neighborhood is seeing change unmatched anywhere else on Bainbridge, even during a five-year-long, island-wide building boom.Less than the restoration of any building, centerpiece of the Fort Ward preservation effort has always been the parade ground property around which the various officers' quarters, barracks and other facilities were arrayed during the decades of military use. Part of that parcel may yet be set aside as a public park, if a clustered-home project by the county housing authority comes to fruition. It will be a fine day when that that park is dedicated.And in fairness, the city administration has played a small role in helping that project along - purchasing or trading for four of the myriad tiny building lots that will be consolidated to help create the park. We would suggest that with the city's growing pot of open-space preservation money, those efforts continue and other parcels be considered for purchase as they come available. Fort Ward neighbors are, we believe, resigned to the inevitability of the change around them. But then along comes the Building 16 decision, an upzone by the city that essentially creates seven new lots in an area already beset by outrageous density. By the most rudimentary of arithmetic - and the smallest of visions - the city still owes the Fort Ward neighborhood three fewer homes.I-722 reduxIt occurred to us that some might find it a little after the fact for a post-election commentary. Then we saw the most recent headlines - Recount! - so here we are.(Our proposal: Give Florida back to Spain.)Anyway, precinct breakdowns from the Nov. 7 election finally made their way to the editor's desk, and we felt it incumbent to note that islanders voted against Tim Eyman's I-722 - now subject to a constitutional challenge by this city and others - by a count of 66-34 percent, quite at odds with the rest of the state.Recall that a year ago, islanders also rejected Eyman's I-695 by a 72-28 percent margin. And the courts agreed that the initiative was bogus.The precedent looks good. "

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