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UPDATE | City has plan to remove tree-sit protester
Bainbridge Island Deputy Police Chief Jeffery Horn said the city has a plan for removing Chiara D’Angelo from the 70-foot-high platform that's been lashed to a Douglas fir at the site of a new shopping center if the teenage protester doesn't come down.
City officials said D’Angelo has been given until 7:30 p.m. Tuesday to come down from the tree. D'Angelo, a 19-year-old college student and environmental activist, scaled the tree early Monday to protest a shopping center that's planned for the property.
D’Angelo announced just after 4 p.m. Tuesday that she would not accept an offer from Visconsi, the Ohio-based development company that wants to clear 7.4 acres of the 8.16-acre site so it can build a seven-building shopping center, to end her protest. D'Angelo said she did not trust the company because the offer wasn't in writing.
Under the proposed deal, a handful of protesters would be allowed to stay at the site if D'Angelo left her tree stand by 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. Visconsi's offer was relayed to D'Angelo by some of her supporters on the ground, who were told of the deal by city officials.
Horn, who joined the Bainbridge department earlier this month, visited the scene of the demonstration off High School Road Tuesday afternoon.
The city has a plan for getting D'Angelo down from the tree, he said, but he would not elaborate.
City spokeswoman Kellie Stickney said the city was hoping for a peaceful end to the protest.
"The city is committed to resolving this as peacefully as possible," Stickney said. "We want a peaceful resolution just like everybody else."
Visconsi has been planning to develop the property for more than two years, and the shopping center project has been controversial from the start.
The company received a clearing permit for the property last week, however, and the impending work has re-energized opponents of the development who fear the loss of trees and wildlife habitat.
Opponents have also said the shopping center will worsen traffic in the area and bring unneeded businesses that will compete with existing island merchants.