Proposed density rise is unnecessary, unwanted | Letters | Aug. 7
August 6, 2009 · 3:32 PM
Summer is here and like a dog in a William Faulkner novel, we islanders slumber through the oppressive heat. While we slumber our city council is busily at work trying to increase the population of Bainbridge Island through fiat.
Ordinance No 2009-06 will allow the city to increase the density up to 2.5 times current zoning. The first development planned under these new rules will be the property at Ferncliff. There will be 48 homes in an area currently zoned for less than half that number. The vacant property directly across Ferncliff could add another 17-20 houses if the developer wants to adhere to the proposed ordinance.
That will place 65 new homes in an area with approximately 25 yards of frontage on Ferncliff. Bainbridge Island cannot sustain such growth. We have neither the infrastructure nor the water resources to allow such growth.
The council believes that anyone living in this new Ferncliff development will not need parking for more than one car. Foolish, when you consider that the average American household has 2.5 cars. Where will the excess cars park? Eaglecliff? Klickatat? Brookcliff? Hawley? Tiffany Meadows? How will these cars enter and exit onto Ferncliff?
The council’s answer is to prefer to believe that Americans will just reject the use of automobiles. Nothing in the last 30 years of gas crises would suggest that the council is correct.
We have read about the challenges faced by individual homeowners who have their own wells. What will happen when we double the number of people drawing on that water-table?
The council believes if every one of the new residences has only one toilet and they recycle the gray water this will solve everything. Not so; only rainfall can recharge the water-table so not only will the city wells be challenged but it could have a negative impact on all island wells.
At the July 22 council meeting, council appeared bemused and barely tolerant of the concerns of citizens and a scientist expressing concern over the zoning change. This zoning change will affect everyone within the Winslow sewer district and be in effect for three years. And there is nothing to prevent the council or future councils from applying this ordinance anywhere on the island.
The current density levels are what we agreed to and should not be changed. Do we really want Bainbridge Island looking like Federal Way or Tacoma? Call your council person and urge them to stop this zoning change or at least let us, the voters, decide through the ballot.