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HDDP project planned for former Government Way area

It didn’t take long for the first development project to surface after the city’s Housing Design Demonstration Project (HDDP) ordinance became effective in late August.

Prospective developers of an eight-acre parcel of land – five acres of which were once used for U.S. Navy housing – have had their first conceptual meeting with the city for what is being considered an HDDP pilot project.

If it qualifies as an HDDP project, Bainbridge Community Development, consisting of local investors, and Asani LLC, an island developer that will serve as project manager, envision: a pedestrian- and bike-oriented environment with no roads and parking only on the outer boundary; a community center and playground; community gardens and orchards; and plans to have 136 mixed-use housing units (no retail).

HDDP has restrictive green building standards compared to most developments, and Asanti plans to meet them by “promoting and maintaining a variety of housing choices to meet the needs of residents at all economic segments.”

The L-shaped property is located north-south between Wyatt and Madison and west-east between Grow and the rear of the Madison Avenue commercial area

Marja Preston, a planner for Asani, which is led by partners Bill Carruthers and Andrew Longseth, said the property has multiple owners, all of whoml ive on Bainbridge.

A rough outline of the project was introduced Tuesday by city planner Josh Machen, architect Matthew Coates and Asani planners Preston and Craden Henderson. About 35 people attended the meeting, which sought input from the public and neighbors on a preliminary design.

Preston said Asani has held two meetings with people living in the area, which led to the proposal that was presented Tuesday.

The area is zoned R-14 (14 housing units per acre), but R-21 would be allowable because the Madison Avenue commercial area on the east side of the project.

“That would allow 168 residential units,” Preston said, “but we prefer lessening the density to create more of a neighborhood feel to it.”

Coates said the developers want to create a new community, “a little haven, if you will, near our downtown urban area.” The architect believes the small urban area is a pivotal piece of the Winslow puzzle

“This is a critically important site because of its location.” he said, “But also because it is a transitional site between high-density (Madison) and single-family. It has a transitional nature of connecting the two, so it’s critical we get it right.”

As preliminarily planned, about 20 percent of the housing would be rental, with single-family “cottages,” townhouses and condominiums also included.

Coates said the idea is to create “work-force housing for the average person – affordable for people living and working here. It will be at the lower range costwise, but high quality,” he said.

Preston said it is early to be pricing the units, “but some could sell in the 2s (200,000) and 3s. They will be affordable, not just Bainbridge Island affordable.” Units will range from 900 to 1,600 square feet.

Preston said a public meeting will be held on Jan. 9 so the developers can get “more input from the community as we go forward.” It will be advertised, she said.

The goal is to have a pre-application meeting with the city later next month, followed by an HDDP qualification decision by the city.

She said the developers would like to break ground in the third quarter of 2010, “if everything goes right.”

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