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25-home plan in Blakely area

The low-density development is planned by several neighbors.

A proposed 105-acre development on upper Blakely Harbor could mean 25 new homes over time, while allowing for road improvements and possible public beach and trail access.

“There are added benefits of public safety with the new road right-of-way and environmental (benefits) with the reclamation of the shoreline that has been so severely damaged by the dumping of hundreds of tons of rock and ballast along the shores of Puget Sound,” said Scott Shelton, the Gig Harbor-based developer of the Country Club Road residential project.

The development, which stretches from Toe Jam Road in the west to Upper Farms Road in the east, is owned by about a half-dozen long-time island families. John Price, one of the property’s co-owners, foresees a neighborhood of homes owned only by member families.

“We’ve all spent our lives as neighbors to this property,” he said. “We want to protect ourselves from the encroachment of development and to have a place that, hopefully, our grandchildren (will) want to be around.”

The development is billed as a condominium to ensure common ownership of the land while allowing individual ownership of homes.

But the announcement sparked some concerns by neighbors who feared a high-density project similar to those sprouting up in Winslow.

At least one resident said her primary concern over loss of the area’s rural character subsided after she discussed the project with Shelton and city planners.

“People got a little scared when they heard ‘condo,’” said Price. “They thought it’d be one big building. But that’s just to own the property in common with individual houses.”

Some concerns also ebbed after it became clear that the number of homes is expected to be far less than zoning permits.

“If this 105 acres was short-platted, you could get 45 lots,” said city planner Thomas Bonsell. “But on their property, they’re putting in a maximum of 25.”

Build-out would also likely happen slowly. Price said he would be “incredibly surprised” if any houses go up in the next decade.

Bonsell said the city is looking forward to the development project’s proposal to pull a portion of Country Club Road away from the harbor’s shore. The stretch of road has long been prone to erosion, necessitating costly repairs.

“It’s our hope to move that back,” Bonsell said. “They’re providing the room and we’ll do the work.”

According to Shelton, the landowners intend to keep 86 percent of the land as open space and make public the 2,300 feet of restored shoreline. This strip of beach could include a walking trail and kayak launch, Shelton said.

“These Bainbridge Island families are offering to the public a very environmentally sensitive project,” he said.

Community Events, April 2014

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