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Email activist calls for march on Bainbridge city hall
Following on the heels of his public meeting to rally residents against Bainbridge's updated Shoreline Master Program, island email activist Gary Tripp is not slowing down.
Tripp is calling for a march on city hall at the city council's next meeting on Wednesday, March 13.
In an email to islanders on his Bainbridge Citizens listserv, Tripp is urging shoreline property owners to join in his demonstration.
The city is currently updating its Shoreline Master Program, which regulates development along the coast. The program was last updated in 2006.
Tripp said the updated regulations in the shoreline program will threaten shoreline homes.
"This is an easy way for each of us to participate," Tripp said in his email calling for the march. "We want to have several hundred people to have an impact on the city council."
The march will begin at the Town & Country Market at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, then continue on to city hall.
Tripp said the group will enter "en masse to testify of our disagreement with the SMP."
Tripp and other shoreline property owners are worried that the new regulations in the Shoreline Master Program, once they are adopted by the city council later this year, will ban docks and floats around the island and will require larger buffers to protect the shoreline on some properties. Critics of the proposal changes are also concerned that property owners will need to plant trees in buffer areas when mitigation is required, which will impact their water views.
Some property owners fear that the updated regulations will continue to classify their homes as "nonconforming," a label that many worry will impact their property values.
City officials have said the "nonconforming" label won't change the regulatory restrictions for residential shoreline properties.
The city has noted that the update will allow homes to be rebuilt if they are destroyed. The regulations will also allow structures to be rebuilt if they are demolished, which is not allowed by the shoreline programs in Poulsbo or Bremerton.
In an update to the council last week, planning officials said new docks would be permitted for single family homes on Bainbridge, but would be prohibited in areas with high currents and high waves, and in other areas, such as places with known geological hazards and shallow sloping bottoms.
The city also said the regulations would allow the removal of up to 25 percent of vegetation within a shoreline buffer to establish a marine view. Pruning and trimming of shoreline vegetation would also be allowed, and planting designs would be allowed that would protect existing views.