Opinion

Teamwork plus homework equals victory

How about a big Spartan cheer for the Bainbridge High School gymnasts? Their skill on beam and bar earned the team a second-place finish in the state tournament Saturday.

Following their undefeated season in league and non-league competition, the tumblers were among four teams competing for the state gymnastics title this past weekend. The girls had earlier claimed the Metro League championship and placed second at District 1 and 2 meets.

They earned a team score of 172, good for silver medals behind champions Issaquah, and said to be the best finish in coach Cindy Guy’s 24 years at BHS.

As if that fine showing weren’t impressive enough, the Spartans earned top honors for team sportsmanship as voted by the meet’s judges, and were named top academic team with a lofty squad GPA of 3.895. Justifiably proud school district officials note that Kirsten Hertz and Dana Cuykdendall earned All Academic Awards, placing them among six girls on the All Academic Team; Emily Roche and Alison Kramer received honorable mention and were named to the second team.

Tops in grades and tops in sports – now that’s a balancing act. These young athlete-scholars (or should that be scholar-athletes?) have done their school and their community proud.

Middle ground

One of the larger obstacles to effective legislation, at least on the local level, is trying to do more than realistically possible.

After some deliberation, the Bainbridge City Council’s land-use committee may have slipped that trap with its proposed new subdivision ordinance. As reported Saturday, the change would require a buffer of greenery around each new development as a visual screen; would limit the removal of significant trees and limit the building area; and would protect critical areas. Having done those things, the contentious requirement that a portion of the land be set aside as “open space” – defined here as privately held property that is part of a subdivision but is proscribed from building – has been dropped.

The code revisions come about after the Washington Supreme Court invalidated a city of Camas ordinance requiring a percentage of open space in subdivisions, at least without a showing that the particular development brought about the need for such setasides.

After trying to justify a percentage-based requirement, the committee decided, as some members had mused from time to time, that other rules were sufficient, and that there was no need to wade into a further legal thicket.

We think that’s the right idea. Litigation is expensive and uncertain; efforts to avoid it are generally worthwhile.

The new subdivision rules aren’t likely to satisfy anyone completely; some already say that new buffer requirements simply won’t work with smaller, close-in subdivisions, while others argue that a requirement to retain significant trees creates a “hole in the jungle” effect. Those issues should be subject to further discussion, and the ordinance to further refinement.

But like most good legislation, the proposed subdivision ordinance represents a compromise. While it may well need fiddling, the concept is sound, and council members deserve credit for finding their way to it.

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