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UPDATE | Ecology announces hearing on Bainbridge’s shoreline program

The Washington State Department of Ecology will hold a public hearing on the city of Bainbridge Island’s proposed update to its Shoreline Master Program at the end of July at Bainbridge Island City Hall.

The hearing is Wednesday, July 31. An open house will be held at 6, followed by the public hearing at 7 p.m.

Ecology has also announced the public comment period on the updated shoreline program will open July 22 and end Aug. 23.

Comments and questions can be submitted to the department via email to Barbara Nightingale at Barbara.Nightingale@ecy.wa.gov. Comments must be received no later than 5 p.m. Aug. 23.

Ecology officials said the agency will compare Bainbridge Island’s proposed program to the requirements of the Shoreline Management Act and the Shoreline Master Program guidelines.

Based on the comparison, Ecology will decide whether to approve the program as is or with recommended changes, or send the proposed program back to the city with required changes to meet statutory and rule requirements. Officials said recommended changes may also be included with the required changes.

The Bainbridge Island City Council adopted the update to the city’s Shoreline Master Program in May on a 4-3 vote after more than three years of work by the city and citizens on the plan.

The update was highly controversial, as some shoreline property owners said the regulations were extreme and warned that the city would face significant legal expenses in defending the plan, while others supported the revisions because they would help protect the environment from further damage.

According to Ecology, Bainbridge Island’s proposed master program update:

• Integrates shoreline regulations with the city’s growth management, planning and zoning, floodplain management and critical areas ordinances as part of a unified development code;

• Establishes protective buffers of 30 to 200 feet, with flexibility to reduce buffers based on individual property circumstances;

• Limits the size of new residential docks and piers to the minimum necessary and requires grated decking to allow light into the aquatic habitat;

• Encourages soft-bank erosion control methods and limits construction of new shoreline armoring;

• Includes a restoration plan showing where and how voluntary improvements in water and upland areas can enhance the local shoreline environment; and

• Helps support the broader initiative to protect and restore Puget Sound.

The city’s proposed shoreline program and related documents can be reviewed at:

Ecology’s website: www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/sea/shorelines/smp/mycomments/BainbridgeIsland.html;

Bainbridge Island’s website: www.ci.bainbridge-isl.wa.us/smp_update.aspx; and

Bainbridge Island City Hall, Planning & Community Development, 280 Madison Ave. North, by appointment. Contact Ryan Ericson, 206-842-2552 or rericson@ci.bainbridge-isl.wa.us; and

Department of Ecology, 3190 160th Ave SE, Bellevue, by appointment: call 425-649-4309.

 

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