Letters to the Editor

Island’s character shouldn’t change | Letters | March 18

Thanks to Mayor Kirsten Hytopoulos for the long-overdue official alert in last week’s Review to the fact that our Land Use Code update is currently before City Council.

What is not mentioned is the “elephant in the room.” We’re told that the update is about “improving user-friendliness and internal consistency,” and, by the way, “includes policy changes.” What policy changes? What’s really at stake? What’s at risk are many current provisions that “protect our island’s character” and natural resources.

Consider these few. Listen to the discussion at City Hall and let the council know what you think.

The staff has proposed to diminish the setback along State Route 305 by one-third. When proposing to replace the current 75-foot building setback with a 50-foot landscape buffer, the staff said that the “building setback does not offer enough additional protections to warrant the requirement.” If you disagree, let council know.

What about allowing a “Motor Vehicle Sales Lot” to be built on High School Road “to address a gap in the code,” according to staff. High School Road this year, Rolling Bay next, perhaps?

We all know about zoning creep. Is that what you want for our island? Let your City Council members know.

Unless council is persuaded to the contrary, the new code will eliminate a 50 percent building limitation for educational, governmental, religious and health care institutions for all residential zones. The council says it’s OK because the building couldn’t be any larger than the largest house.

If the inevitable increased clearing for excess parking, many-fold traffic increase, noise and light pollution are issues for you, let council know.

While the challenges remaining for the council to consider are far fewer than when the update was first introduced, thanks primarily to the Planning Commission’s involvement in the process during 2010, many provisions remain that would roll back current protections forever

Watch the update’s progress through council. Weigh in and make a difference.

Sally Adams

Bainbridge Island

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