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‘Usual suspects’ have lots to say - News Roundup

Yet another hearing on the city’s proposed subdivision ordinance produced more comment, but all from speakers who have made their positions clear in the past.

Gary Tripp of Bainbridge Concerned Citizens said he doubted whether the proposal requiring subdividers to set aside 30 percent of their land as open space could pass legal muster.

“Everything you’re proposing will be struck down at the first court hearing,” said Tripp, who argued that the Washington Supreme Court’s decision invalidating a 30-percent open-space requirement imposed by the City of Camas will doom the identical requirement on Bainbridge Island.

The city claims that an island-wide survey showing that some 30 percent of developed land is set aside as open space in some form satisfies the Camas case requirements, and says the city’s attorneys support that position.

Property owner George Gregg, who wants to short-plat a 10-acre parcel in the Island Center area, disagreed.

“You’re trying to circumvent the Washington State Supreme Court, and the lawyers I’ve talked to say it won’t fly,” he said.

Arlene Buetow took issue with the “clustering” provision offered as an option to open space, saying the requirement that all structures be contained within a 10,000 square-foot “homesite” would discourage building Accessory Dwelling Units, which serve as affordable housing.

Charles Schmid praised the portion of the plan calling for vegetative buffers, particularly along roadways.

“That contributes to the beauty of Bainbridge,” he said.

Council member Norm Wooldridge said he thought the required buffers should be counted as part of the open-space requirement. Land-use committee chair Christine Rolfes replied that in all but the lowest-density zones, buffers do count as open space.

The ordinance was referred back to the land-use committee for further refinement.

The council imposed a moratorium on new subdivision applications last August pending passage of a new ordinance. The moratorium is set to expire on Oct. 27 for short-plat subdivisions of four or fewer lots.

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