The Bainbridge Island Planning Commission wants the city to reach out to property owners to get more input for the Shoreline Management Program.
“We have not reached out to shoreline owners,” said Kimberly McCormick-Osmond, commission chair. They’re “not as involved as they should be, and it affects them the most. We need their input.”
Commissioner Lisa Macchio suggested all of the public should get involved early and often. “We all share the natural resources,” she said. “The shoreline is for all of us. We’re all stakeholders.”
The SMP has been updated, and McCormick-Osmond nominated a subcommittee to go over the changes. She named William Chester, with a “lot of historical knowledge,” Sarah Blossom because of her “experience on City Council,” and Ashley Mathews, because she’s a “shoreline owner and real estate professional.”
“There’s a lot of material that needs to be looked at and digested to be understood,” McCormick-Osmond said.
Peter Best, city senior planner, said about 95% of the changes in the SMP are “housekeeping,” while the other 5% are “substantive.” Asked what’s the difference, he said, “will it change the effect of the SMP?”
Best said many of the numbers have been made into tables. That “hopefully will make it easier for folks,” he said. Best said this “periodic review” of the SMP is not like a comprehensive update, which last happened in 2014.
New Commissioner Yesh Subramanian suggested the subcommittee focus on the substantive changes that are “highly contentious.”
Best agreed, saying, “What are the real issues we want to spend our time on?”
Subramanian also suggested using focus groups that represent different areas of the island.
Mathews applauded Best for removing the word “master” from the name of the program. Previously she had said that word is offensive to some people.
At the public hearing, Cheryl Kuhn said she is a shoreline homeowner on Manzanita Bay. “I accept my rights have reasonable limits,” she said, adding that the public and nonwaterfront owners also have rights when it comes to the shoreline.
Kuhn said most owners along shorelines are “responsible stewards, but not all put the interest of the public ahead of their own.” That’s why regulations are needed.
Floor Area Ratio
Also at the Zoom meeting last week, senior planner Jennifer Sutton talked about Floor Area Ratio. She explained that is the sum of the area of all floors in a building.
The City Council asked the commission to look at FAR to decide how it could be used better to encourage affordable housing.
The commission ended up passing a resolution good for two years. Their hope is by then the City Council will have developed the Winslow Master Plan, along with guidelines for more affordable housing. They also included relocating ferry surface parking.
Developers used to be able to buy bonus FAR if it was for community benefit or public good. The change basically will eliminate that option for commercial development and market rate housing.
At the public hearing John Tawresey was the only commentator. He said his wife Alice was mayor from 1978-90, and he is retired after being chief financial officer for KPFF consulting engineers. He said they have developed real estate for 40 years in the ferry district “consistent with the community vision.”
He said the changes “will destroy the vision of the ferry terminal district and leave it permanently in parking.” He said, “there is high potential for great development,” but these changes will result in the reduction of developable units from 300 to 100.
Despite the concern, the changes were passed, basically because they will only be in effect for two years.