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Bainbridge council hosts SMP public hearing

The finish line may finally be here for the city of Bainbridge Island's draft Shoreline Master Program.

The city council will hold its last expected public hearing on the new rules Monday, July 14 during its regular business meeting.

Work began more than four years ago to update the Shoreline Master Program, or SMP, to fit with new state guidelines.

The rewrite, however, was prolonged as it made its way from the planning commission to the city council in early 2012.

Some shoreline property owners argued the regulations were unconstitutional and too restrictive and confusing.

Others said the update was lenient but still necessary to protect Puget Sound marine life.

Headway was made late last summer when the state Department of Ecology addressed 20 pages of public comment and required and recommended changes to the ordinance.

The update will include the new shoreline designations map and amending goals, policies and regulations. It will also make necessary amendments to the city's comprehensive plan and municipal code.

If approved, the council will authorize the city to notify the state Department of Ecology.

In preparation of Monday's hearing, the council decided last week to make slight adjustments to the city's public comment guidelines.

Depending on the number of speakers signed up, the time limit at the lectern will be adjusted.

If there are fewer than 20 people, the 3-minute limit will remain the same.

If more than 20 people sign up, the time will be reduced to 2 minutes per person.

People must also sign in at the start of the meeting if they want to offer public comment.

The Bainbridge Island City Council will open the SMP public hearing at 7:30 p.m. during its regular meeting.

The council meets at 7 p.m. Mondays in city hall.

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