Time to check out code update | Guest Column | March 11

Over the last  three years, members of the public, city staff and the Planning Commission have dedicated hundreds of hours to evaluating and recommending changes to the Land Use Code in order to eliminate ambiguities, inconsistencies, contradictory regulations, and a confusing organizational structure. The resulting set of recommendations is now before the City Council for consideration.

Three themes have guided the scope of the update: 1) improving user-friendliness and internal consistency; 2) protecting the island’s character; and 3) encouraging sustainable development.

During the process, eight open houses were held to present the proposed changes and gather public comment. The recommendations were then reviewed by the Planning Commission during 16 public meetings where additional public comment was received.

A matrix detailing those comm-ents, staff respon-ses and actions taken by the Plan-ning Comm-ission is available on the city’s website.

The project is scheduled to be reviewed by council during the next 10 to 12 study sessions. Public comment can be provided during the study sessions, during general public comment at the council’s business meetings, via email or by letter (see below for current meeting schedule).

It is important to note that the recommendations before council include policy changes. Although it was not the intent of the project to undertake major policy changes, reviewing a code to resolve inconsistencies, correct errors and consolidate like provisions necessarily involves making some policy decisions.

It is for this reason that we are encouraging citizens to participate in this last process for consideration of proposed changes. You can check the council schedule online, and review the code change recommendations at http://www.ci.bainbridge-isl.wa.us/land_use_code_update.aspx.

The council has started reviewing the recommendations, and will likely complete its work and issue an updated code in late summer. To provide comments regarding the proposed changes, attend a council meeting or send an email.

If you’d like to follow the council’s review of the proposed changes but can’t attend, the meetings are available live online and then immediately archived for viewing on demand on the city’s website.

Meetings are also replayed on Comcast Channel 12 on Fridays at 10 a.m. and Saturdays at 1 a.m.

Specific questions or comments regarding the project can be directed to Kelly Dickson at 206-780-3725 or kdickson@bainbridgewa.gov.

Mayor Kirsten Hytopoulos,

Interim City Manager Brenda Bauer

Planning Director Kathy Cook



Land Use Code meetings

Upcoming meeting dates and topics: March 16, ad hoc recommendations; April 6 and April 20, agricultural regulations; May 4 and May 18, Planning Commission recommendations; June 15, first reading of ordinances; July 6 and July 27, discussion (if necessary); Aug. 10, second reading of ordinances; Aug. 24, adoption.

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