Visconsi applies for permits to begin clearing, tree removal at site for new shopping development

The development company that wants to build a nearly 62,000-square-foot shopping center on High School Road has applied for clearing and grading permits with the city of Bainbridge Island.

Visconsi, an Ohio-based developer, has been planning to build a new commercial complex at Highway 305 and High School Road for the past two years. In March, the much-debated project was approved by the city's hearing examiner after an extended review by city planners.

Josh Machen, planning manager for the city of Bainbridge Island, said the permit applications are being reviewed and are still awaiting approval.

Pre-development surveying of the property has started, and Machen was scheduled to meet with an arborist on the site this week to review where trees would be removed or preserved.

The company hopes to begin moving dirt on the site this summer.

The shopping center proposal has been the most controversial development project that Bainbridge Island has seen in more than a decade.

Opponents of the project, including a group called Islanders for Responsible Development, had challenged the city's review of the project and asked the city's hearing examiner to reject the project as incompatible with Bainbridge Island. Some claimed the new shopping center would worsen traffic and bring businesses to Bainbridge that were redundant and unneeded.

City staff, however, said the project was allowed under the existing zoning for the land, and the plans fit with the city's existing development regulations.

The hearing examiner agreed and approved the site plan for the shopping center, which will include a bank, retail spaces, restaurants and a Bartell Drugs store with a drive-through pharmacy.


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