Bainbridge city council moves forward with SMP draft

The Bainbridge Island City Council voted to move forward with the Department of Ecology’s “required” and “recommended” changes to the city’s update of its Shoreline Master Program.

In a public hearing to discuss the city’s new SMP Wednesday, the city council made few changes to the initial draft.

Planning Director Kathy Cook and an Ecology representative presented the draft to the public.

It was followed by an hour-long public hearing that focused primarily on the city’s and Ecology’s procedures for public input.

The city has gone through multiple hearings and many public meetings in the three years since the SMP has been brought to the dais. The last comment period closed Aug. 23 and prompted a little more than 100 comments.

At the hearing Wednesday, the council listened to about 15 members of the public. A few residents opted to cede their time for another speaker, giving them double time at the podium.

That was due to boundaries set forth prior to the hearing, commenters were limited two to three minutes to speak and could only focus on the Department of Ecology’s “required” and “recommended” changes, city staff’s proposed alternative language to the draft and other changes made since the city’s May 8 public hearing.

Mayor Steve Bonkowski was forced to stop several speakers mid-sentence as most of the policy comments brought up were about changes that had already gone through the process prior to May 8.

Overall, few issues were brought up that the council could focus on following the public comment period.

One of which dealt with the number of liveaboard boat residents in marinas on Bainbridge Island. The changes made by the city since the draft submittal set the number at 25 percent, which would maintain the current liveaboard percentage permitted.

With a vote, the council moved to instead keep the original language presented by Ecology at 10 percent of marina slips, given the percentage may be increased through an approved conditional-use permit.

In a final vote of 5-1, the council agreed to submit a letter to Ecology outlining the council’s acceptance of the required and recommended changes. Bonkowski opposed the SMP draft.

A final public hearing to accept the changes has been scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 11.

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