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Council OKs sewer LID -- News Roundup

South-end sewage surged closer to treatment this week.

A short-handed City Council Wednesday approved formation of a Local Utility District to bring sewers to four neighborhoods – reserving the right, council members said, to exclude some properties from the project later on.

“They’re a tentative bunch, aren’t they?” one sewer proponent said after the vote.

Before the council was a proposal to bring sewer service to some 224 properties around Emerald Heights, Point White, Pleasant Beach and Rockaway Beach.

School officials also want to see a sewer line run to Blakely School, which in past years has had to close its playground because of septic failures.

Service would be provided by the Sewer District No. 7 plant in Fort Ward, under an arrangement with the city. Up-front construction costs would be funded largely by an ultra-low-interest loan from the state, news that has given new momentum to sewer proponents.

Current estimates show LID costs of of $6,900 to $15,300 for properties that don’t hook up immediately; costs range from $20,000-$28,000 for that do. The charges would be assessed by the city over a 20-year period.

LID assessments are predicated on the value increase a property sees when new utilities come to a neighborhood.

Before the vote, public works officials distributed a sheaf of the most recent comments received by the department.

Protest votes against the LID formation were submitted by several residents on Rockaway Beach and Pleasant Beach, but the overwhelming sentiment was positive.

Several residents cited ongoing septic woes, including dysfunctional drainfields and attendant smells in their neighborhoods.

One Emerald Heights resident said her family must limit its laundry use and carefully plan and monitor baths and showers.

“Entertaining friends or family in our home is stressful and downright embarrassing because of the added stress on our saturated drainfield,” she wrote. “If we wanted to live this primitively during the winter months, we would have moved to the woods.”

The city will accept signed protest letters through Nov. 7.

If 60 percent of property owners in a given neighborhood object to the LID, the project must be abandoned there, although the council could lower that threshold at its discretion.

– Douglas Crist

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***Police offer free gun locks

To promote firearm safety, the Bainbridge Island Police Department is distributing 700 gun locks free of charge.

The foot-long cable is designed to run through a weapon’s action and magazine well, preventing it from being loaded or fired.

The cables are smooth-coated to prevent damage to weapons. Each comes with two keys and a brochure on gun safety.

Because they do not prevent theft, the locks are not considered the final word on gun security.

Detective Scott Anderson said if a household keeps multiple firearms, most should be securely stored in a gun cabinet or safe.

“This (lock) is for that gun they feel they need to have accessible,” Anderson said.

The locks are available at the police department’s front desk. They will also be distributed – to parents – at the department’s information booth at the downtown Halloween parade on Oct. 31.

The program is funded by the National Shooting Sports Federation and a U.S. Department of Justice grant.

– Douglas Crist

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***Candidate forums slated

How should you vote on the Nov. 4 election?

The candidates will be glad to tell you at a pair of public forums this coming week.

The League of Women Voters, the Chamber of Commerce and the Bainbridge Island Review newspaper will co-sponsor a forum for City Council candidates at 7 p.m. Oct. 14 in the council chambers at City Hall.

Unopposed candidates for the school and fire boards also will be given the chance to speak at that event. Information: 842-0961.

On Thursday, friends and foes of the Kitsap Transit foot-ferry initiative, as well as candidates for the Bainbridge Island Park are Recreation District board, will be on hand at a noon luncheon in the council chambers.

The Oct. 16 event is sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce, as its regular monthly luncheon. The forum is free, but box lunches can be reserved in advance by calling the Chamber office at 842-3700. Cost is $14.

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***VIPs to host vision forum

The Bainbridge Island Visually Impaired Persons (VIP) support group sponsors a community forum for friends and family of persons with vision loss, 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Oct. 18 at Eagle Harbor Congregational Church.

The program is designed to educate participants about the nature of vision loss and offer strategies for supporting and helping people with these conditions.

The keynote speakers are Todd E. Schneiderman, MD, of the Retina Center Northwest in Silverdale, and Kevin Nathan, director of the Independent Living Program for the state Department of Services for the Blind.

Following the addresses, a panel of professionals in low-vision diagnosis, counseling and rehabilitation, as well as persons who have experienced vision loss, will discuss how friends and family can help. Information: 855-1470 or 842-4462.

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