The city of Bainbridge Island wants the developer of the Winslow Hotel to build a public pavilion in Waterfront Park as part of its project.
The request came in the city planning director’s recommendation of approval for the controversial 87-room hotel, which was issued by the city Thursday.
Planning Director Heather Wright, in a 46-page report, said the hotel will meet all city development regulations, policies, and plans if an extensive set of conditions are added to the project, which is planned for two adjacent parcels at the western end of Winslow Way.
Many of the conditions for the project recommended by Wright were presented earlier by the city as part of its environmental review of the Winslow Hotel, and included the installation of a 6-foot-wide bike lane by the hotel, adding a new crosswalk on Winslow Way, operating a shuttle for hotel guests that would run to the ferry, and a shared bicycle program that would provide a minimum of 36 bicycles for hotel guests.
Wright, in her report, said Madison Avenue Development, the developers of the project, should also build a pavilion in Waterfront Park.
Representatives for the developer could not immediately comment on Wright’s report when contacted by the Review Thursday, and said instead they were preparing for next week’s hearing on the hotel project.
City officials, and the council, have discussed a possible pavilion in Waterfront Park in the past, when the park and city dock underwent major renovations.
A picnic pavilion was included in original plans for the park makeover in 2016, but the pavilion was cut from the project after controversy arose over its $500,000 price tag.
Wright has included the pavilion to help the project get a floor area ratio (FAR) bonus. FARs have been applied in the zoning for the city’s central core since 2006, and FARs help determine the density and intensity of development in not only the area zoned Mixed Use Town Center in downtown Winslow but also the High School Road district.
In her report, Wright wrote: “The [hotel] proposal does not include enhancement or development of existing parks, however, through conditions of approval, the city recommends development of the pavilion at Waterfront Park to earn the FAR bonus.”
The city is also requiring the developer to add six “workforce” apartments in the hotel.
While the developer had earlier added the six workforce units to its proposal when it went to the planning commission for review, the planning commission ultimately rejected the plans for the hotel.
In response, the developer increased the number to 11 affordable housing units that would be added to the project, but later retracted the offer when the city said the proposal would then need to return to the planning commission for additional review.
Now, the six units have been added back into the project by Wright’s recommendation.
“The project will generate jobs, and it is anticipated that the development will employ approximately 50 people,” Wright said in her report.
“The city has identified that affordable housing is needed, and it is likely that this project will increase housing demand and increase traffic by those driving to work,” she added. “By providing housing within the project, likely the housing demand will be lessened. To mitigate this impact, staff is proposing a condition to require affordable units within the building.”
Wright’s report noted that the project is not required, under the city’s existing development regulations, to provide affordable housing as a component of the project. Doing so, however, would “create greater consistency with the comprehensive plan.”
The six extra units could not be used as short-term rentals or additional hotel rooms, according to Wright’s recommendation.
The city’s hearing examiner will made the final decision on the approval or rejection of the Winslow Hotel project, and a public hearing is set for Thursday, Jan. 23 at city hall.