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BI tries to rescind on Winslow Hotel approval

  • Friday, April 9, 2021 9:13am
  • News

Another controversy has popped up regarding the already controversial Winslow Hotel project on Bainbridge Island.

The City Council has moved to retroactively remove permit approval for the project. The issue will be discussed at the April 13 council meeting.

The Winslow Hotel project at 241-253 Winslow Way W. was originally proposed in 2018 by Madison Avenue Development, a company led by island residents Mike Burns and Greg van Patten, based on designs by Bainbridge’s Cutler Anderson Architects.

The comprehensive Conditional Land Permit process has already taken more than three years and attracted much public debate regarding development of a new 87-room hotel with restaurant, bar, spa, banquet and meeting spaces.

BI hearing examiner Ted Hunter approved the permit application, along with multiple conditions and considerations including underground parking, a shuttle bus running to the ferry terminal, a minimum of 36 shared bicycles, and that it also include solar panels, rainwater reclamation and affordable housing units.

Project opponents, led by the Winslow Neighbors group, advocated against the development based on potential traffic, noise and parking issues.

Hunter’s decision was appealed to Kitsap County Superior Court, which upheld his decision.

The matter arose again in recent weeks as City Council considered a proposed ordinance intended in part to ban construction of any new hotels in Winslow’s Central Core, Ferry and Gateway districts until completion of an updated Winslow Master Plan.

The BI Chamber of Commerce flagged the issue in an email and on its website on the basis that no matter how a person feels about this particular project the council trying to retroactively remove a permit would set a dangerous precedent. It “has the potential to undermine confidence in our island’s business structure,” a chamber newsletter says.

The chamber is concerned about the transparency, fairness and fiscal responsibility of the council’s action. The newsletter says it hurts the entire permitting process; can damage the business that obtained the permit; and opens the city up to litigation.

The newsletter encourages folks to contact the council at council@bainbridgewa.gov or sign up for public comment at the April 13 meeting.

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