Store looted of cigarettes -- News Roundup

Cigarettes valued at several thousand dollars were stolen in an early-morning break-in at Island Center Jiffy Wednesday.

A store alarm at 4:56 a.m. brought patrol officers to the scene within minutes.

Police found the store’s front glass doors pried open, but the burglars were already gone from the premises.

The thieves made off with 50-60 cartons of cigarettes and approximately 20 lighters.

Total value was estimated at $2,500-$3,000. Damage to the front door was estimated at $300.

The break-in is under investigation.

– Douglas Crist


***Date set for sewer hearing

The Bainbridge City Council Wednesday set an Oct. 7 date for a hearing on the formation of the Local Improvement District that, if formed, would be the financial vehicle to install sewers in four south-end neighborhoods.

The hearing will begin at 7 p.m. in City Hall.

Between now and then, public works officials will host several neighborhood workshops to answer questions about the process, Director Randy Witt said.

Residents in the affected neighborhoods – Emerald Heights, upper Pleasant Beach, Rockaway Beach and Point White – will receive preliminary assessment notices between now and the October hearing estimating the costs to each home.

Following the hearing, the council will have to decide whether or not to form the district. Formation of the district will trigger a 30-day protest period.

If owners representing 60 percent or more of the estimated costs protest, the district cannot proceed. The city has said that if protests in any of the neighborhoods reach that threshold, that neighborhood will be dropped.

Even if protests do not reach the legal trigger of 60 percent to kill the district as a matter of law, the council could still rescind the resolution creating the district, said City Attorney Rod Kaseguma.

Total project costs are estimated at between $25,000 and $30,000 per home.

The city has received preliminary notice that it is in line to receive a loan from the state at an interest rate of one-half of one percent to cover the costs.

Homes within the LID boundaries will be assessed to repay each property’s share of the total costs. Owners may pay up front, or make annual payments over 20 years.

The low-interest loan reduces almost by half the annual payments that would have been required had the work been financed by the sale of city bonds.

– John Waldo


***Docking it out over Blakely

The council dutifully conducted a public hearing Wednesday on a proposed ordinance to ban single-family docks in Blakely Harbor, but didn’t hear anything that hasn’t been said before.

Proponents of the ban argued for keeping Blakely the least developed harbor on Bainbridge Island and one of the least developed in Puget Sound.

“The public benefit is paramount,” said Iver MacDougall of the South Bainbridge Island Community Association, arguing that docks impermissibly obstruct small-boat traffic and views.

Those Blakely Harbor residents who testified Wednesday were opposed.

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and some docks are nice to look at,” said Alan Weiss. “Most people who live there don’t want their property rights taken away.”

The council will hold another hearing on the matter Aug. 27.

At that meeting, the council will also consider further extending the present moratorium on new applications for docks or bulkheads.

The current island-wide moratorium was ruled illegal in June by Kitsap County Superior Court Judge Leonard Costello. The city is still not accepting applications for new docks or bulkheads, taking the position that Costello’s ruling is not effective pending the final disposition of the city’s appeal of his decision.

The moratorium expires by its own terms Sept. 1, though, so the council must either extend it or begin accepting applications.

Land-use committee chair Michael Pollock has suggested that the council might limit a moratorium extension only to Port Blakely, and only to docks, not bulkheads.

– John Waldo

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