It was their first look at Fairyland.
And they found it enchanting.
Bainbridge Island’s Design Review Board got its initial look this week at the conceptual proposal for Fairyland, a new housing development that may be added to the southeast corner of the Pleasant Beach Village development.
Architect Charlie Wenzlau gave an overview of the seven-home development to the board at its meeting Monday, and joked that he had brought wings for everyone to wear for their first peek at Fairyland.
Landscaped yards with big front lawns, attached garages, fences, paved sidewalks and driveways — this Fairyland has none of that.
Instead, imagine living in the trees, but a little more closer to the ground.
Wenzlau recalled that the property owner has long been fascinated by tree houses. And drawing on that inspiration, the project would have homes raised on posts, and nestled among the impressive trees that dot the property.
A boardwalk “spine” would run through the woods, and residents would leave their cars in two garages tucked along Ridge Road on the north end of the parcel before trekking home through the trees.
“Our hope is you will see a forest floor and walk through the forest to get to your homes,” Wenzlau said.
“This is basically a cottage development,” he explained, with small-footprint homes, with just one bedroom, that total about 1,000 square feet.
Great efforts will be made to retain the forested feel of the property, and well beyond just saving the four landmark trees on the land.
“We’re going to figure out how can we selectively clear without harming the forest,” Wenzlau said.
And with the homes raised on stilts of sorts, even the forest floor beneath them would remain, which may help with stormwater runoff infiltration.
“The look and feel of this is the forest being preserved,” the architect said.
“This is honestly one of the most fun things I’ve ever worked on,” Wenzlau added.
Much of Pleasant Beach Village has been completed; the row of businesses and mixed-use development along Lynwood Center Road, duplex units along NE Dotson Loop, the community pool. Future components of the development — beyond the prospects for Fairyland — include other homes along Ridge Road, townhouses south of NE Dotson Loop, and a proposed complex of apartments at the corner of Baker Hill Road and Lynwood Center Road.
At Monday’s board meeting, Alan Grainger of the Design Review Board praised Wenzlau for the work done so far on the project and the update that would be needed to the master plan for Pleasant Beach Village, including the explanation of the proposed plan changes and the placement of the structures.
“This is exemplary,” Grainger said, and noted that the board’s job “would be so easy” if every proposal package they received had a similar level of detail.
“I’m really happy with the scale of it,” added Board Chairman Joseph Dunstan.