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Controversial dock OK'd on Blakely Harbor

In a compromise decision, city Planning Director Stephanie Warren has given partial approval to a controversial dock on Blakely Harbor

In a decision announced last week, Warren ruled that the dock sought by Seaborn Road residents Kim and Sue Bottles would not have a significant impact on the environment if certain mitigation measures are taken – including substantially shortening the dock and removing it entirely during three months of the year.

While her decision ran contrary to the recommendation of the Bainbridge Island Planning Commission, which had voted unanimously against the dock, Warren said the commission’s views found their way into the decision.

“The two conditions we added were in direct response to input from the planning commission,” she said.

The Bottles had originally asked for a 98-foot-long dock with a 40-foot “T” float at the end, where they could tie up the boat that Kim Bottles uses in his daily commute.

He presently has the boat tied to a mooring ball, and uses a dinghy for access.

The Bottles proposed a low-profile, portable structure that they said would barely be visible, and which had received the approval of the state Division of Natural Resources. Planning staff member Kris Morrison had recommended approval.

But the planning commission disagreed. Its concern, and that of a number of neighbors who protested, was that if the Bottles application was approved, it would lead to the proliferation of docks on relatively undeveloped Blakely Harbor.

To ease the commission’s concerns, Warren’s approval reduces the length of the dock by about 20 feet, restricting it to the line of extreme low water.

And to protect the near-shore area for juvenile salmon migration, she directed the Bottles to disassemble and remove the dock altogether from March 15 to June 15.

During the time the dock is removed, the Bottles could maintain their float, and moor their boat to that.

But it appears that the compromise doesn’t please anyone, including the applicants.

“We were surprised by the new conditions,” said Sue Bottles. “We don’t know what we’re going to do yet, but we may appeal that part of the decision.”

Bottles said that it would be possible to moor a power boat at the extreme low tide, which could accommodate the boat that her husband uses to commute.

But they could not moor a larger sailboat, which they plan to acquire, on such a dock.

At the planning commission hearing, the Bottles said that boating is a central part of their lifestyle, and that they bought their lot on Blakely Harbor only after determining that there were no zoning restrictions against docks.

A second application for a dock, to be longer than the Bottles’, elsewhere in the harbor, has been withdrawn, planning officials said.

Dock opponents were undecided on their next step.

“We haven’t yet had a board meeting,” said Iver MacDougall of the South Bainbridge Community Association, which vigorously opposed the dock applications.

“We should have a meeting this week, and we’ll decide where to go from there.”

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