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Visconsi proponents and opponents ask examiner to modify conditions for approval

Bainbridge Island Hearing Examiner Stafford Smith received requests Wednesday from lawyers on both sides of the controversial Visconsi development to make minor modifications to his conditions for approving the project late last month.

Dennis Reynolds, the attorney who represented Ohio-based developer, Visconsi, requested Smith modify his conditions for two crosswalks that Smith ordered installed as part of the shopping center project on High School Road.

Reynolds has asked for the developer to be given the option of installing stop signs at two of the crosswalks in the project instead of an elevated crosswalk flanked by speed humps and tables.

In his explanation, Reynolds said, "Visconsi has no quarrel with utilizing techniques to 'calm' traffic … However, Visconsi believes a better and safer option is use of stop signs at Crosswalks B and D."

Ryan Vancil, the attorney who represented Islanders for Responsible Development, the group that opposed the shopping center project, filed a request for several minor adjustments to Smith's conditions.

Of these adjustments, Vancil asked that the 120-foot fence that will be placed north of Polly's Lane be extended to 150 feet.

Vancil also asked that the speed limit on Polly's Lane be lowered to match the 15 mph limit on the main road that runs through the heart of the development.

Vancil also asked Smith to reword his decision, because Vancil said it characterizes Planning Commissioner Maradel Gale as the sole person involved in writing the planning commission's recommendation on the project. The commission had asked Smith to reject the proposal.

While Gale was the author of the commission's findings, Vancil explained, they were voted on, discussed, deliberated and adopted by the entire Planning Commission.

Motions for reconsideration are typically sought to correct substantive errors in the hearing examiner’s filed decision.

The 62,000-square-foot shopping center proposed by Visconsi would provide space for retail, restaurants, professional services and health care facilities on High School Road, directly across from the Ace Hardware.

Islanders for Responsible Development challenged the city's environmental review of the shopping center proposal and a conditional use permit for the development, but Smith cited zoning code and existing law that allowed the proposed land to be developed for commercial use.

According to city rules, the request for reconsideration will be decided by the hearing examiner based on the record that already exists, unless the examiner determines another public hearing is needed.

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