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News Roundup -- Parking stalls Pub plans/School buses burning clean/Blakely dock ban upheld/Better smiles at Helpline/‘Tomorrow’ slates events

Parking stalls Pub plans

Absent a plan to add more parking, the Harbour Public House on Parfitt Way cannot proceed with a proposed expansion, the city planning director said Monday.

In a formal administrative decision, Planning Director Larry Frazier ruled that the applicant, Parfitt Way Management, Inc., had not shown how it would accommodate the vehicles of the new patrons who would be drawn to the establishment.

Frazier’s decision came 10 days after the Bainbridge Planning Commission unanimously recommended denial of the permit application.

Commissioners cited concerns over parking as well as view blockage, scoffing at the pub’s assertion that the new building would “enhance” public views by giving customers a new place to enjoy looking at the waterfront.

But Frazier’s decision turned on the parking question; he said in his findings “the current parking situation is inadequate” even without expansion, and that patrons’ vehicles clog the Pub’s entry lane at peak hours.

Frazier said the applicants had refused repeated written requests for a parking plan, an assertion disputed by the applicants, who said they had been rebuffed by the city throughout the application process.

Jeff Waite, a principal with Parfitt Way Management, said Monday that the planning department had not been forthcoming about what the project’s parking requirements would be.

“We’ve been waiting for some guidance from their department about where they were going to land,” Waite said. “We’ve been asking from day one what standard they’re going to use. In all the correspondence back and forth, we’ve said we’ll meet any standard that’s reasonable.”

He also said the business feels singled out, given the widespread concern over lack of parking all over downtown.

In his decision, Frazier indicated that the pub project would have to provide at least 14 more parking spaces.

The project would effectively double the size of the pub operation, adding a second building to the east of the existing structure.

The new building would be a 21-and-over affair, with the current pub building becoming an all-ages eatery.

The proposal has met with opposition from the residents of several adjacent condominiums, who have blasted the establishment for noisy operations.

Dick Daniel, board president of the Harbourside Condominium Residents Association, said Monday that he was pleased with Frazier’s ruling.

But Waite said an appeal is certain; the pub owners also take issue with various conditions on noise and other aspects of operation set forth in a separate finding on the project’s environmental impacts.

Those appeals will go before a city hearing examiner.

– Douglas Crist

School buses burning clean

Bainbridge Island School District buses are burning so clean, you could put a white hanky over the exhaust pipe for several minutes, pull it away – and voila! – it would still be white as snow.

That’s because they’ve all been retrofitted and operate on “ultra low sulphur diesel,” known as ULSD, giving the district the distinction of having the greenest school bus fleet in the state.

“I couldn’t be more proud of this,” transportation supervisor Glen Tyrrell told the school board Thursday night, after showing them his hanky demonstration.

All of the district’s diesel equipment – buses, cars, trucks mowers, and tractors — have been operating on ultra low sulphur diesel since September, under the Washington State Clean School Bus Program.

But the buses were made even cleaner after receiving more than $117,000 in clean air equipment from the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency. The funds allowed the district to retrofit 10 large and five small buses with diesel oxidation catalysts, and to add particulate filters to 11 other large buses. Equipment to retrofit the final three large buses in the fleet is on its way.

“Once those buses are retrofit, Bainbridge Island School District will be the first district in the state to have their entire fleet running green through this program, said Cami Dombkowski, the district’s transportation manager. The new equipment, she said, “makes use of the fuel much more environmentally friendly.”

That means less pollution in the air, which benefits the whole community, she added.

Tyrell, a former state highway patrolman who used to direct traffic, said that when a string of buses would enter an intersection, he used to choke on the fumes. And the work left its mark on his clothing and skin, in the form of black grime.

But these buses, he said proudly, have clean exhaust pipes even after driving 1,000 miles, and he showed off an exhaust pipe pulled off one of the buses to prove it.

Board members praised the transportation department for the efforts, which involved installing the equipment on weekends and holidays, when the vehicles were not being used.

“There is just one down side,” mused school board president Susan Sivitz. “Kids have lost the excuse: the exhaust on the bus makes me sick.”

– Rhonda Manville

Blakely dock ban upheld

The City of Bainbridge Island can continue its ban of private docks in Blakely Harbor to preserve the area’s “distinctive quality,” a state hearings board ruled last week.

The Central Puget Sound Growth Management Hearings Board found that the ordinance prohibiting private docks, piers and bulkheads in the harbor is “well within the city’s authority” and complies with both the state Shoreline and Growth Management acts.

“Part of the distinctive quality and unique attribute of Blakely Harbor is its relative lack of docks,” the ruling stated.

The ban was enacted in September 2003 and was approved by the state Department of Ecology early last year. The moratorium was critical to the the preservation of the harbor as a lightly developed shoreline, proponents said.

Most of the harbor was owned by a timber company for over a century, leaving it largely unencumbered by structures.

Several harbor property owners challenged the moratorium, asserting that new dock construction should be handled on an individual basis, rather than an all-encompassing ban.

The board disagreed, recognizing the city’s analysis of the possible impact of new docks on the harbor. The likely build-out of 45 new docks would have a significant impact on scenic views, water navigation and the environment, the board stated.

“This determination supports a public process that recognized the unique beauty and character of Blakely Harbor and voiced a desire to preserve it,” Mayor Darlene Kordonowy said.

An island-wide ban on docks was struck down last month by the Washington Court of Appeals Division II. The appeals court agreed with an earlier lower court ruling that stated Bainbridge improperly enacted a moratorium on shoreline docks and piers.

– Tristan Baurick

Better smiles at Helpline

Patients will soon be “opening wide” for preventive dental care at Helpline House.

Starting Feb. 19, Washington State Smile Partners will provide preventative dental care third Saturdays at Helpline House in a private office.

Services are charged on a sliding scale and range from $15 to $65, with additional fees for some services. The nonprofit hopes to serve people who are underinsured or underserved in their oral health care.

“We hope to help people be proactive and get the regular care they need to maintain their health,” said Ellen Robinson, executive director of WSSP. “Instead of having to go through the process of dealing with emergencies.”

WSSP will offer teeth cleaning, screening and assessment, flouride varnish to help prevent tooth decay, sealants for undecayed chewing surfaces, maintenance of periodontal health, education and referrals through Helpline’s dental referral system if restorative care is indicated.

Registered dental hygienists Kate Mills and Nan Hawkes, who grew up on Bainbridge, each have over 30 years experience and perform the preventative care.

Paula Johnson, a social worker at Helpline, says the service is welcomed as 80 to 90 percent of people who use Helpline services don’t get in for regular teeth cleaning, and very few people have dental coverage.

Through a referral program administered by Helpline House, “island dentists have stepped up to help with emergency care, so this is a really good adjunct,” Johnson said.

Johnson encourages anyone needing preventative dental care to call for an appointment; Helpline can also offer financial assistance if needed.

During the school year, WSSP visits schools in Kitsap and King counties to bring preventative dental care to children at their school.

For an appointment, call Helpline House at 842-7621.

–Tina Lieu

‘Tomorrow’ slates events

The city’s Winslow Tomorrow project will offer an opportunity to learn about the science and art of sustainable design – also referred to as “low impact development” – at a presentation Feb. 3.

Speakers will include architect Ron Rochon and engineer Tom von Schrader.

Von Schrader participated in the design of the island’s City Hall, which has won national recognition as an example of green building.

Rochon, a principal with the Miller Hull Partnership, and von Schrader, founder of SvR Engineering, will present real-world examples to help develop a vision and plan for the future of downtown Bainbridge and Winslow Way.

The design approach – also referred to as green building, low impact development, and high performance building – is gaining popularity worldwide. According to the World Committee on Environment and Development, sustainable design is defined as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

The event is one of a series of presentations, dubbed “Envision Tomorrow,” intended to inspire, educate and inform the community in developing a vision and plan for the future of downtown Winslow.

The discussion will take place in City Hall council chambers; see www.ci.bainbridge-isl.wa.us for information. Additional “Envision Tomorrow” presentations are planned throughout the coming months.

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