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Building official leaving city -- News Roundup

City building official Larry Skinner will leave the city Sept. 30 to pursue unspecified business opportunities, interim Planning Director Larry Frazier said.

Skinner, who has been with the city for 12 years, has supervised the issuance of building permits and the inspections to make sure that buildings adhere to relevant codes and to the terms of the permit.

“He has been a steady hand at the department, and we are going to miss him,” Frazier said.

Skinner was out of the office on vacation Friday and could not be reached for comment.

His office has not been the subject of complaints levelled at the planning department in the past; Skinner has generally received high marks personally and professionally from those who deal with his area.

“Larry was the (department’s) last bastion of institutional knowledge and logical thought,” one local land-use professional said. “We are going to miss him.”

Skinner has other business interests, including a home-inspection business, but Frazier said that Skinner did not specify his future plans in his resignation announcement.

– John Waldo

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***Interim accord on ferry lot

The city and Washington State Ferries have reached an interim agreement on management of the ferry terminal parking lot, allowing the city to retain the facility as a revenue source, albeit a less lucrative source than in the past.

Under the tentative pact, which still requires formal approval from both sides, the city will pay WSF some $204,000 by the end of August.

For the remainder of the year, the city will pay 60 percent of the gross revenue from the parking facility, and the parties will try to reach a long-term agreement by the end of this year.

At issue is control of a 163-space lot immediately north of the terminal building, which operates under the sign “Welcome City Parking.”

For the last decade, the city has been withholding the $1,716 in monthly rent due WSF under an old lease.

That apparently was on the belief that the parties had reached a new agreement, under which the island could keep all the proceeds from the parking lot so long as it used the money for road improvements around the terminal.

But when nobody could find a signed copy of that agreement, WSF asked for back rent with interest, and threatened to boot the city out altogether.

Under the proposed deal, WSF would forego its claim for interest on the unpaid amount, and the city would drop its claim to a credit for the roughly $3 million it has spent on terminal-area road improvements.

The accord follows a recent meeting between Mayor Darlene Kordonowy and ferry system Director Mike Thorne.

“The 40 percent split more than covers our costs, but it’s not the lucrative deal we had before,” said city finance Director Ralph Eells. “And it removes the source of funding for the city to make improvements to the access roads.”

– John Waldo

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***City to outline sewer process

The city will hold a series of meetings next week to explain the proposed south-end sewer plan for residents of the four affected neighborhoods, as follows:

• Emerald Heights: 5:30-8:30 p.m. Aug. 25 in the Bainbridge Commons.

• Rockaway Beach: 5:30-8:30 p.m. Aug. 26, in the Bainbridge Public Library meeting room.

• Pleasant Beach and Point White: 5:30-8:30 p.m. Aug. 28 in the Bainbridge Commons.

Each event begins at 5:30 p.m. with an hour-long open house. At 6:30 p.m., city staff and consultants will make a presentation on the process of forming a local improvement district (LID), the project scope, schedule and cost; explanation of preliminary assessment notices; discussion of the proposed sewer system design; annual and monthly costs and financing.

A question-and-answer session will follow at 7:30 p.m.

The Bainbridge Island City Council will conduct a hearing on Oct. 6 to reach a tentative decision on whether to form the LID.

A favorable decision will trigger a 30-day protest period. If property owners who represent 60 percent of the value of the project protest, that neighborhood will be dropped from the LID as a matter of law.

Even if the legal 60 percent protest threshold is not reached, though, the council is still somewhat divided on the sewer issue and could rescind its approval resolution.

“I intend to be at all three meetings, and to listen very carefully,” Councilman Bill Knobloch said this week. “I haven’t yet made up my mind.”

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

The city has obtained a tentative commitment for a state loan at an interest rate of one-half of one percent to finance the work.

– John Waldo

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***BHS alums start website

Bainbridge High School graduates can now keep track of each other via a new website, http://bhs.recoverdata.com.

Members can post messages and pictures, and find out what old friends and classmates are up to, said organizer John “Sonny” Oligario, BHS ‘73.

“We feel it is something much needed, as most of the classes have their own site, and we want to try to consolidate where everyone can participate,” Oligario said.

Information: joligario@recoverdata.com, or (617) 513-9796

Community Events, April 2014

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