‘Community living room’ coming to BI?

It would be like having a “community living room.”

A development with an obvious Bainbridge Island feel to it was presented to the Planning Commission July 14.

“Retail-tainment” is what Shauna Decker, director of Global Development Solutions, called it.

New Brooklyn Gardens would consist of craft, recreation and event businesses in a three-story building at 9300 NE New Brooklyn Road.

Decker said the development would have indoor and outdoor areas where the public could just hang out. Amenities outdoors would include firepits and hammocks. “It’s where neighbors become friends, and memories are made — highlighting the best of Bainbridge,” Decker said.

Businesses could include local craft food and beverages, wine tasting, entertainment, exhibits, music and art events.

Giving it that Bainbridge Island feel would be: favoring pedestrians over vehicles; native landscaping; solar panels; hidden garbage and recycling; buffers between neighbors; maximum use of open space; diversity of tenants; walkable and bikeable; and minimize traffic, visual and environmental impacts.

It would also emphasize green building on the 4 acres along with sustainable climate resistance, supporting local businesses, community values, diverse jobs and economic growth.

Saying goodbye

Leaving the commission after a number of years were Lisa Macchio and Bill Chester. Co-chair Ashley Mathews gave them each flowers.

Chester said it was an honor to serve, keep an open mind and learn.

Macchio said she appreciated the commission being respectful, even when they disagreed. She encouraged members to listen to the community. “They have a lot of wisdom and insight.” She said she plans to stay engaged for a long time, and is looking forward to talking about the issues from the other side.

Three public commenters praised Macchio’s work.

Jim Halbrook said he appreciated her joyful attitude during debates, her attention to detail and her environmental stewardship. Regarding the degradation of the climate, he said she was the only one to listen to him. He encouraged Macchio to stay involved. “When one door slams another one opens,” he said. “I hope you’ll find another avenue for your service. Unfortunately, this is a lonely place to argue from.”

Mary Clair Kirsten thanked Macchio for fighting environmental degradation. She was able to “meet our goals and protect our fragile environment.”

Ron Peltier said, “Lisa, you’re going to be missed,” as she stood not only for the environment but also bicyclists. He said, “As a member of the community you’ll have a lot more good work to come.”

Finally, new planning director Patricia Charnas talked about the prices of permits going up “substantially” Sept. 1 because there haven’t been increases in years, and the city wants the process to pay for itself without any further subsidy from other areas of the budget.

She expects the department to be very busy in August for those trying to beat the price hike. She called it “sticker shock” for repeat customers compared with what they’ve been paying for years.