BI still coming up with the menu for Comp, Subarea plans

It must have been close to dinner time for Bainbridge Island City Councilmember Leslie Schneider and deputy mayor Kirsten Hytopoulos.

When talking at their most recent meeting about the Comprehensive and Winslow Subarea plans, Schneider said as a steering committee member, “When I walk into a meeting I’m hungry, like we’re still on appetizers.”

To which Hytopoulos responded: “We’re not even to appetizers. We’re deciding how to plan the menu.”

The other councilmember on the steering committee, Jon Quitslund, said he still feels in the dark, even after three meetings. “We’re still feeling our way.”

The steering committee, which also includes three Planning Commission members, was established a few months ago to make sure the public is represented in both planning processes.

Planning director Patty Charnas said it’s their job to keep the projects moving, almost like consultants. Patricia Davis from Demarche Consulting Services is the facilitator. She is making sure all the members are allowed to participate.

Charnas said they are making good progress on the Subarea Plan and will start Comp Plan discussions next month.

Schneider said there are a lot of questions being asked: Such as what about this or did you think of that? “It’s a sneak peek into the process.”

Hytopoulos said she wants to make sure they are having an impact that benefits the community.

Councilmember Michael Pollock said citizens are getting an opportunity to have input upfront, which is great because in the past councilmembers have heard the complaint, “I wasn’t told about it.”

Mayor Brenda Fantroy-Johnson said not only are they listening to the public, but they are also listening to the city and its consultants. “We don’t like to be shocked. It’s a slow process to make sure what we’re doing is right.”

Charnas recommended that they don’t “wed yourself to a calendar” in the goal to be done by the deadline of Dec. 31, 2024. She said the state will likely give them leeway if they are making significant process on their Comp Plan. She said it’s more important to analyze ideas and do what’s right for the community and it sees change. “People are always concerned when they wake up and see things differently,” she said.