An architect’s sketch of the Winslow Way view of the Winslow Hotel. (Image courtesy of the city of Bainbridge Island)

An architect’s sketch of the Winslow Way view of the Winslow Hotel. (Image courtesy of the city of Bainbridge Island)

Appeal filed against city’s environmental review of Winslow Hotel

A group of opponents to the Winslow Hotel proposal has filed an appeal to the city of Bainbridge Island’s environmental review of the project.

The city’s Planning & Community Development Department issued a “mitigated determination of nonsignificance” for the hotel proposal.

The determination means the hotel project “does not have a probable significant impact on the environment if measures to mitigate the proposal are used.”

In the four-page decision, issued Nov. 25, the city set out 20 mitigation measures for the hotel project. Mitigation measures include a requirement that the developer install a new crosswalk on Winslow Way West near the hotel, repave the right of way on Winslow Way West in front of the hotel property and the property to the east, operate a shuttle to bring guests from the Bainbridge ferry terminal and local destinations, and start a shared bicycle program.

The deadline for appeals to the city’s environmental work expires at 4 p.m. Monday, Dec. 9.

Monday morning, a group that calls itself Winslow Neighbors filed an appeal of the city’s MDNS (mitigated determination of nonsignificance) on the hotel project.

The group described itself as “an association of Bainbridge Islanders dedicated to preserving the livability and environment of Winslow as expressed in the city’s comprehensive plan.”

It said it was filing the appeal “on behalf of the citizens of the city of Bainbridge Island who believe that our community, and particularly downtown Winslow, will be adversely affected by the construction and operation of the proposed Winslow Hotel.”

The appeal was signed by Robin Simons and Phyllis Carlyle. Simons lives just west of the hotel proposed property, while Carlyle lives across the street. Records on file with the city show Simons has sent more than a dozen letters to the city about the hotel project; Carlyle has sent nine.

The appeal repeats many of the concerns raised in the past by opponents of the project, mainly that the 87-room hotel will lead to traffic, parking and noise problems in the downtown area, and will negatively impact the “small town feel” of Winslow. The appeal also says the project “is blatantly inconsistent with the comp plan and development regulations,” and notes that hundreds of letters against the project have already been sent to the city.

The hotel project is being proposed by Madison Avenue Development, and the facility includes and associated banquet space and meeting rooms, plus a restaurant, bar, spa, and back-of-house spaces. It is proposed for two adjoining properties at 241 Winslow Way West and 253 Winslow Way West.

Developers of the hotel have repeatedly noted it will bring less traffic to downtown that the previous businesses on the Winslow Way property, which included a bar and barbecue restaurant, and that traffic and parking issues have been analyzed and mitigated. The proponents have also said the project fits with the city’s comp plan, and that the site is zoned for intensive development.

In the appeal, Simons and Carlyle said the mitigation measures announced by the city are “inadequate” to substantively reduce or mitigate the hotel’s impact on the environment.

The pair is asking the city to retract its MDNS and require the hotel developer conduct an environmental impact study on the project.

Simons and Carlyle said in the appeal they were also filing the appeal on behalf of not only those who had written letters against the hotel, but those who had attended public meetings on the project; the residents of senior housing apartment buildings nearby; “the thousands of Bainbridge Island citizens whose quality of life will be negatively affected by the hotel’s impact on downtown traffic and parking”; and “all of the citizens of Bainbridge who live here because ‘Winslow’s small town atmosphere and function,’ which will be permanently jeopardized by this project and the precedent it establishes.”

Issues raised in the appeal include increased traffic and parking, noise from outdoor events and daily deliveries that will bother nearby residential neighbors; and “a structure that is aesthetically incompatible with its surrounding neighborhood and Winslow Way.”

The appeal also alleges approval of the hotel would set a precedent for future development downtown.

The city’s hearing examiner will eventually issue a decision on the project, which needs an approved site plan and conditional use permit to proceed to development.

A public hearing has been scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 19 in council chambers at city hall.

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