Opinion

Bainbridge has power to preserve buildings | Letters | Feb. 27

This comment is in response to last week’s opinion piece about preserving historic Bainbridge. I believe it was prompted by the inability of the city government (in this case the Planning Department, the Design Review Board and the Historic Preservation Commission) to halt the demolition of 216 Ericksen.

Other communities have teeth (the stick) in their historic ordinances, but not Bainbridge - and it seems unlikely to occur here. Instead, the city could create a set of incentives (carrots) that would make it worthwhile for an owner to have and keep his historic property.

These can come in the form of increased FARs (buildable areas), reduced parking requirements, TDRs (transferable development rights) tax credits and others.

Strangely enough, in the case of 216 Ericksen, the new building will have the same use and be approximately the same size as the old one, it just has a few more parking spaces tucked underneath.

This might be a case where a community-wide sense of the importance of place and history would have made the owner think twice about the economic gain.

The last comment has to do with the planning group. It is essential for a community like ours to have a creative head of planning who has an interest and knowledge of historic preservation – is that person in place?

James McNett

Bainbridge Island

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