Bainbridge council gets update on green building code

  • Thursday, August 6, 2020 2:32pm
  • News

The Bainbridge Island City Council is serious about getting greener.

The council received an update about its 13-member Green Building Task Force at a recent study session. The group’s goal is to have its plan done by Oct. 3.

Senior planner Peter Best said that timeline only allows for a public meeting Sept. 8, but that the public has had lots of input previously.

The goal is greenhouse gas emission reduction, but beyond that is to be carbon neutral and then actually carbon storage, Best said. Plans would include residential, commercial and institutional buildings.

Public facilities are expected to lead by example with solar and electric vehicles, phasing out combustible fuel sources, he added.

Councilmember Michael Pollock said the “city is behind the times” when it comes to this topic concerning climate change.

Councilmember Rasham Nassar said she’d like to see people who need it get help with the financial burden. She would hate for people to have to leave their homes.

“The cost is unaffordable for all of us,” Pollock said. “But in the long term everybody will be paying for climate change.”

Best said affordability and equity are foremost on the minds of task force members. They are looking at the scale of requirements getting larger the bigger the building.

Councilmember Kirsten Hytopoulos said the recommendations should be for retrofitting existing buildings, too.

“We’re not planning much new construction,” she said.

Also, Mark Epstein is the project manager for the city regarding Senior Center renovations, which now total $449,500.

Mayor Leslie Schneider said she’d like to look at more affordable housing for seniors nearby.

City Manager Morgan Smith said the city is going to be facing hard choices in its next budget due to fallout from COVID-19.

Hytopoulos said, “It’s not all or nothing.”

Nassar agreed, saying providing for seniors is important for the city, but priorities need to be made.

Finally, Epstein talked about remodeling the city dock so it’s more user friendly for the rowing club. Cost is $330,000.

Hytopoulos said after saying no to the seniors she had a hard time wanting to put aside money for a private club.

Sue Entress, president of the club, said 100 students and 60 adults belong to the club. They are already raising money to build a Rowing Center at Waterfront Park.

“It’d be money well-spent if we had the money to spend,” Pollock said, adding maybe volunteers could be used to keep costs down.

Schneider added, “I wish we didn’t have these hard choices to make.”

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