It will fit with the downtown, with Bainbridge Island’s call for sustainability, and follow the inspiration that comes its location in the Pacific Northwest.
That was the message from the developers of the Winslow Hotel during a public hearing on the controversial project Thursday at Bainbridge Island City Hall.
At the start of the hearing, city staff gave a broad outline of their review of the project and the conditions imposed on the project that led to an approval recommendation from the city’s planning director.
Representatives for Madison Avenue Development, the Bainbridge-based firm led by Mike Burns that hopes to build the 87-room hotel in downtown Winslow, followed.
Nancy Rogers, an attorney for the developer, noted that much misinformation has been spread about the project on social media and said they were eager to dispel false claims that had been made.
That brought a quick and quippy response from Bainbridge Island Hearing Examiner Ted Hunter, and one of the scattered light moments during a morning session largely made up of technical discussion of the specifics of the proposal.
“Isn’t that the role of social media?” Hunter asked, drawing laughter from the capacity crowd in council chambers at city hall.
Countering false information was a reoccurring theme by proponents of the project during the hearing, which kicked off just after 10 a.m. before a break just after 12:30 p.m.
The hearing is expected to continue at 1:15 p.m., with public comments.
Rogers recounted how the project had earned an unanimous vote from the city’s Design Review Board, despite what’s been alleged online.
“It has not been revoked in any way,” Rogers said of the DRB decision.
She added that the project met or exceeded development rules the city has adopted.
“We’re not doing anything outside the code with this project,” Rogers said.
Burns, the owner of Madison Avenue Development, countered the notion that the hotel was being built for the benefit of people who don’t live on Bainbridge.
The hotel has been designed around a coastal redwood, a 125-year-old and 104-foot-tall sequoia that will serve as a focal point for the hotel, its inner courtyard and the hotel-room views of guests staying there.
The hotel will celebrate Bainbridge Island and its culture, added Burns, a 35-year resident of the island who also owns a sustainable fishery business based in Alaska.
Winslow Hotel will be an “authentic Bainbridge” place, he said, elegant but comfortable.
“It will be grand but not pretentious,” Burns said.
Proponents of the hotel spent much of the morning describing their efforts to meet the sustainability goals of the Living Building Challenge, and how the hotel will generate much of the gray water needed for the development by capturing rainwater, and how sewage will be treated onsite, and how large arrays of solar panels will be installed on the hotel’s roof to provide electricity for the lodging facility.
Public comment will kick off the afternoon session of the hearing, which is scheduled to run until 4 p.m.