Opinion

Two more reasons to support PUD

There are reports, and then there are reports worth sitting through. In the latter category we put the comments of David Jones, representing the Kitsap Public Utility District at Monday’s Economic Vitality Conference. Amid reports by emissaries from local communications providers Qwest and AT&T Broadband to the effect that expanding Bainbridge Internet access isn’t on their plate for the immediate future, Jones gave an update of his own:

“We have been building, we are continuing to build, and we’re looking forward to it.”

The PUD, readers will recall, is under way with construction of a fiberoptic “backbone” the length of Kitsap County. When completed, wholesale access to a lightning-fast telecommunications network will be offered to all – Internet service providers, phone and cable companies, you name it.

The system also brings with it the potential to resolve the ever-vexing problem of the “last mile” – getting high-speed access to neighborhoods and individual homes. Under general discussion are neighborhood local improvement districts.

A public agency with officials elected from our own citizenry, the PUD plans to bring the network to Bainbridge Island.

By their own admission, the big private players have more important things to do elsewhere, and aren’t doing anything today to bring telecommunications improvements to Bainbridge Island.

The PUD is. Let’s help them speed along.

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Correction, but of whom?

A couple of weeks ago, we received letters from some folks on Alder Avenue expressing concern that the city’s proposed cottage housing ordinance could result in four modest-sized homes being placed on a 14,000-square-foot lot on their street.

We called Planning Commission chair Sean Parker, who said that the readers misunderstood the ordinance. What was proposed, he said, was a 50 percent density “bump” for cottage homes, meaning no more than four per acre along Alder. We reported those comments in an editorial.

And we were promptly taken to task by Charles Schmid, who said that as he read the ordinance, cottages could be permitted at 12 per acre wherever the ordinance applies, meaning that yes indeed, four cottages could be built on the lot.

Turns out Schmid is right. The ordinance was amended somewhere along the line to delete the 50 percent bump and substitute a flat 12-per-acre rule.

No one was more surprised than Parker. “I don’t think that’s what we had in mind,” he said. “That would be a big deal.”

We apologize to the readers who we “corrected” erroneously. Parker, meanwhile, is checking to see whether this was a “senior moment” on his part or a staff-commission snafu.

Either way, we look forward to discussing cottage housing on its merits, of which we see many.

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