City council needs to balance island’s needs | Letter to the editor

To the editor:

The proposal to build 101 units on the Suzuki Property, more than triples the original density, it is not just over-building — it’s also a landmine for city finances. For years, the city council has planned for the project to pay for all of its costs and return 50 percent of the land value for other projects, like the new police station.

In the next few weeks, the four-vote bloc of Councilmembers Tirman, Blossom, Deets, and Schneider will likely reverse this direction by donating the entire parcel, with no financial return for the city, absorbing $800,000 in pre-development work by OPG, and absorbing almost $900,000 in fees that must be collected.

None of these expenses have been properly budgeted for, so these funds will come from cuts in other priorities.

With a possible recession looming, is this wise?

As problematic as that is, this project is also reminiscent of the failed condo project that forced Kitsap County as co-signer to pay the $40,000,000 Housing Kitsap loan. In 2007, Housing Kitsap tried to sell a market-rate project called the Harborside Condominiums. The failure of this project damaged Housing Kitsap so badly that it has been forced to sell properties, like 550 Madison on Bainbridge.

The root of this problem is that four members have become devoted to a special interest and are ignoring important details and objections. It is time to elect a council that balances the needs of both affordable housing and the city’s financial well-being.

DOUG RAUH

Bainbridge Island

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