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Strawberry Plant project appealed

A citizens group appealing the city’s proposed shoreline project at Strawberry Plant Park will have its case heard before the city hearing examiner June 12.

“Friends of Cannery Cove Park,” led by islanders Gerald Elfendahl and Doug Hatfield, filed an appeal of the city’s determination of nonsignificance for the Strawberry Plant project last month, calling for stronger consideration to be given to the history of the site. The appeal was signed by 18 Bainbridge residents.

The proposed project would dramatically alter the shape of the shoreline along the 4.7-acre Eagle Harbor parcel.

Concrete bulkheads and the shoreline would be cut back, with the intent of creating new marshland and nearshore habitat. The proposal includes provisions for an over-water viewing structure, a bridge over the creek and small-boat launch.

The appeal details the history of the property, and contends that the city’s description of the project “completely misstates the true history of the site, its natural features, the fact that what is proposed is to ‘restore’ marshlands that were never there and ignores significant archaeology on the site.”

Peter Namtvedt Best, the lead planner for the city project, declined to comment.

“We’ll just have to see what comes out of the hearing,” Namtvedt Best said.

Strawberry Plant was once home to a cannery, which served the island’s booming berry industry. It was later the site of a concrete plant and a commercial center, which burned in 1997.

Last week the city approved the site plan for the Strawberry Plant project. The decision is open for appeal until June 10. Any appeals of the site plan decision would be reviewed along with the DNS appeal at the June 12 hearing.

Strawberry Plant Park is being jointly developed by the city and the Bainbridge Island Metropolitan Park and Recreation District. The city’s work is focused on shoreline. The park district will be developing the uplands.

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