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Cottages to spring up on EricksenThe project could be a prototype for a new type of zoning.

"Cottage-style housing is coming to Bainbridge Island even before the city considers an ordinance to allow it.The Ericksen Cottages project will place 11 detached homes on less than an acre on lower Ericksen Avenue, where such a layout is already allowed.This is a less intense development than the zoning allows, said Jim Soules, one of the project's developers. The owners really care about Winslow, and set out to come up with something in keeping with the character of Ericksen.Owners are the Gilles family of Bainbridge Island. The land at 290 Ericksen sits just to the south of a three-building office complex on the west side of Ericksen between Bainbridge Performing Arts and Wyatt Way.The land is zoned for mixed-use development, so a higher development intensity was possible. The one-story cottages, though, provide what architect Charles Wenzlau calls a smooth transition between the small historic homes on south Ericksen and the more intense office development to the north. This reinforces the historical residential character of Ericksen, Wenzlau said.The eleven cottages will surround an open courtyard, which will contain common garden plots and a community building. The cottages will have two bedrooms, two baths and prominent front porches, and each will have its own fenced-in garden space.It's important to have some concept of garden space, whether courtyard common gardens or individual gardens, said Wenzlau, the suddenly ubiquitous island architect who is designing the project.Parking will be clustered to one side of the project under carports.The cottages will each have a little over 1,000 square feet on one level. There will be three different floor plans, Wenzlau said.The farmhouse that now sits on the lot will be removed, but will not be lost. Soules said the farmhouse, 3,000 square feet in size, is being offered to the Bainbridge Island Historical Society as a museum if the society moves downtown from Strawberry Hill Park.If the museum does not take the house, Wenzlau said it will be demolished, but the wood will be incorporated into the cottages.An arborist surveyed the lot, Wenzlau said, and developed a plan to save a high proportion of the significant trees.Soules hopes to break ground by late summer, and aims for occupancy in the late spring or early summer of 2002. While prices have not been fixed, he estimates they will sell for between $260,000 and $280,000.Soules, who developed a cottage-housing project in Langley on Whidbey Island, and Wenzlau have proposed that the city adopt a zoning ordinance to permit cottage-type developments in other areas of the island. This is what those projects will look like, Soules said, although these homes are a little larger than what most cottage ordinances permit and have greater density.Offices plannedThree doors north on Ericksen, on the north side of the existing office building, a new office structure will take shape this spring.Called the Seaborn Building, the new development will be two 5,500-square-foot buildings connected by a second-story walkway. The project is owned by Dolf Hogger of Seattle. Devin Johnson of Miles Yanick & Company on Bainbridge Island was the architect.The exterior will be cedar shingle, said Johnson.Johnson said lot clearing will begin almost immediately, and construction is expected to take six months. "

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