Activists host meeting on Visconsi development

For more than a year, Visconsi, an Ohio-based development company, has been vying for permits to construct a commercial and retail complex off of Highway 305 and High School Road.

In the meantime, a steady stream of concerned residents has been ramping up their opposition to the proposed project.

Those interested in learning more about the development project are invited to a public discussion Sunday, hosted by Islanders for Responsible Development.

As an organization created in direct response to the Visconsi project, the group said their main concerns are how the development measures up to the city’s comprehensive plan and the manner in which the city is processing its building application.

“The (comprehensive plan) includes clear directives for the City to encourage the retention of trees and native vegetation, neither of which the Visconsi site plan does,” said Ron Peltier, a member of the organization.

A total of 830 trees have been recommended for removal on the site.

The Visconsi development proposes to build a 61,890-square-foot shopping center on a little more than 8 acres of land directly across from the McDonald’s on High School Road. The center would include 261 parking lots, a medical center and a Bartell Drugs store, both of which the organization claims are redundant and in competition with other local services.

A community meeting hosted by Islanders for Responsible Development will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 5 at Seabold Community Hall. The discussion will be in preparation for the Oct. 10 Planning Commission meeting where commissioners will discuss the Visconsi site plan and application materials for a conditional permit.

The site plan calls for a conditional permit since buildings designated for retail use in the High School Road business district are limited to no more than 14,400 square feet under the city’s municipal code. To ensure buildings remain small, the code requires that any structures between 5,000 and 14,400 square feet must obtain conditional use permits.

In a staff report issued Thursday, Oct. 3, planning staff recommended the Planning Commission approve the site plan and its conditional use permit.

The Bainbridge Island Planning Commission will meet at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10 in the council chambers.

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