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The Kitsap Sun has posted an article tonight saying that the City of Bainbridge Island has released the most recent appraisal on the Suzuki property. The appraisal, done in 2013, found that the 13.83 acre property was worth $2 million. Previously released appraisals, done in 2007 and 2008, valued the property at $3.52 million and $5.4 million, respectively, according to the Sun.

The $5.4 million value from the 2008 appraisal has raised concerns among some community members, who have questioned whether the City is considering a sale of the property at a substantial loss. The current proposals being discussed at a series of public meetings at City Hall include an offer from the Bainbridge Island Parks department for a transfer to Parks, for no money. The other three offers range from $2.4 million to $2.6 million.

According to the Sun, the property was assessed by Kitsap County in 2014, at $492,490.

Read the article here.

 

Last night the four proposals for the Suzuki property debuted before the Council and a good sized crowd at City Hall. The written proposals have been available on the City’s website for weeks, but this was the first of the scheduled three public meetings to review the proposals. Each applicant had a half-hour for an oral presentation, followed by questions from Council members. At times the presentations sounded like oral term papers, where presenters made sure to highlight all the required elements of the assignment: Mixed housing, green construction, affordability, open space, community gardens, buffers, connectivity, safe routes to school, compatibility with neighborhood character, experienced development team. Check, check and check.

Oh yes, and a decent offering price. Presenters did not talk much about their offers for the land, other than to note that the price might have to be adjusted if significant traffic mitigation or other plan modification was required by the City. Offers ranged from zero to $2.6 million.

First up was the Bainbridge Parks Department. Board president Tom Swolgaard devoted less than ten minutes to the very simple proposal: if the City gives the land to the Parks Department, the use of the land will be determined by a community planning process, similar to that being used for the recently acquired Sakai property. Swolgaard said Parks’ interest in the property arose because the department had been asked by various members of the community to submit a proposal. But, he said, they are “not proposing any specific use at this time.”

The Parks Department is offering only a transfer of the property, with no payment, on the theory that the same taxpayers fund both the City and the Parks Department.

The Parks proposal is here.

Next was a presentation by Blue Architecture. Theirs was the only proposal that provided for permanent affordability for all housing on the property. The Blue plan calls for clustered housing, surrounding a grassy courtyard, on the flatter portion of the property, on the north-eastern side. The presenter, architect Bob Guyt, said Blue’s proposal had the smallest footprint of any of the housing proposals. Much of the property would be left in its natural state, perhaps with a system of trails running through it, which could be deeded back to the City or the school district. Only a third of the site would be developed, and 75% of the land would be open space. The pond would be undisturbed, as would the old growth trees on site. Continue Reading »

The City of Bainbridge Island is hosting a series of public meetings to review and discuss the four proposals for the use of the city-owned Suzuki property.

According to a city press release:

“The first meeting will occur on Tuesday, January 26, at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chamber, and will be a three-hour special study session of the City Council. Each applicant will have the opportunity to give a half hour presentation, followed by approximately fifteen minutes for questions from Councilmembers. This meeting is open to the public and will be televised, but public comment will not be taken that evening.

“The second meeting will be held on Tuesday, February 9, in the Council Chamber, and will include both an open house and presentation component. The Open House will begin at 6:30 p.m. and will be an opportunity for community members to visit with the applicants in a less formal setting. At 7:00 p.m. each applicant will give a fifteen minute formal presentation. After the presentations, there will be a question and answer period moderated by the City’s Community Engagement Specialist. The meeting will conclude with another short Open House segment to allow for additional conversation with the applicants. Continue Reading »

The following press release was sent out today:

A community candlelight vigil to stand against fear and bigotry aimed at Muslims is planned for Monday, December 14 at 7 pm at the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial, at Pritchard Park, 4192 Eagle Harbor Drive.

The idea for a vigil grew from conversations on a Bainbridge Island Facebook group, formed after several national politicians made reference to the exclusion of Japanese citizens during World War II, in an attempt to justify calls to ban Muslims from entering the United States.

Japanese Americans living on Bainbridge Island were the first in the United States to be sent to camps, shortly after the commencement of the War. That exclusion “remains a stain on the honor of our nation, one that has been recognized by every US president since President Jimmy Carter,” the group said in a statement that has been posted on Facebook. Volunteers will be gathering signatures for the statement at the vigil and in the upcoming weeks. Continue Reading »

Mayor Anne Blair is recovering from heart surgery today in a Spokane hospital after falling ill while on vacation. We are sending our prayers and thoughts for a complete and quick recovery to Anne and family. Here is the press release sent out by her family. 

On July 15, 2015, Anne Blair had heart bypass surgery at Sacred Heart Hospital in Spokane, Washington. Anne was vacationing in the Spokane region with family when she experienced chest tightness and shortness of breath. While Anne did not have a heart attack, doctors determined that she needed bypass surgery to eliminate some blockages in her heart and help prevent future problems.

“By all reports, the surgery went very well. The surgeon said she looks like she’s 10 years younger than she is,” said daughter Jessica. “We hope for and expect a speedy and full recovery.”

As expected after open heart surgery, Anne remains in critical condition and in intensive care. She will convalesce at Sacred Heart Hospital over the next several days before returning to Bainbridge Island early next week. From there, doctors anticipate that she will need a full month of recovery before returning to work. “Mom’s always been committed to her work. Letting that go for a few weeks may be as hard on her as the surgery,” joked Jessica.

“To say that all of us were all surprised by this would be an understatement,” said husband Wayne. “She’s been a fairly healthy eater, walks regularly and hasn’t had any health issues. It is a good lesson for others to take symptoms of potential heart problems seriously.”

During Anne’s absence from the City Council, please direct any pressing business to City Manager, Doug Schulze, Deputy Mayor Mike Scott, or Councilmember Val Tollefson.

Press release from the City of Bainbridge Island today:

Consumer Fireworks Will Not be Permitted on Bainbridge Island

Bainbridge Island, Wash., (June, 2015) The Bainbridge Island Fire Department, with the support of the City of Bainbridge Island and the Bainbridge Island Police Department, announced today that consumer fireworks will not be permitted this Fourth of July.

The ban is due to the regions tinder-dry conditions, and concern that current conditions combined with hot and dry weather in the forecast make the island extremely susceptible to wildfires. At this time the community Grand Old Fourth firework show is scheduled to proceed.

In addition to being liable for any property damage that would result from an errant firework, those that choose to discharge fireworks in spite of the ban could be cited with a civil infraction and subject to a monetary penalty and default amount of $500 plus statutory assessments. A second violation would constitute a misdemeanor and could carry a fine up to $1000, or imprisonment in jail for a term not exceeding 90 days.

City Manager Doug Schulze emphasized the importance of the ban as a precautionary measure during this extremely dry fire season, “The City fully supports the Bainbridge Island Fire Department’s institution of the ban on fireworks for this season, and encourages Bainbridge Island residents to do their part to protect our island environment and public and private property by complying with the ban, and choosing to enjoy the public fireworks display instead.”

According to the Bainbridge Island Municipal Code Chapter 8.28, the Bainbridge Island Fire Department is authorized during periods of extreme fire danger to prohibit all fireworks. For more information on the ban, please contact Bainbridge Island Fire Department Chief Hank Teran at 206.842.7686. To report the discharge of fireworks, please call 911.

Last week, Council member Steven Bonkowski sent a letter to the press, trying to rehabilitate his reputation after his unlawful and costly violations of the Public Records Act. We sent the letter below to the Bainbridge City Council, the City Manager and the City Attorney. 

Dear Council, Mr. Schulze, and Ms. Marshall:

We read Steven Bonkowski’s letter to Inside Bainbridge this week, in which he attempts to re-litigate arguments he lost in court. His false statements are so significant that we think it’s important to correct them in writing. We also want to express our alarm that as a sitting member of the Bainbridge City Council, Mr. Bonkowski continues to substitute his own incorrect interpretation of the law for the judgment of two courts, suggesting that he is within his rights to continue the unlawful behavior that has cost the city so much money.

The following are false statements by Mr. Bonkowski:

Bonkowski: “I want the community to know that I did not conduct city business from my private email account, and I did turn over my emails to the city in a timely manner for the public records request.”

The facts: Kitsap County Superior Court Judge Jeanette Dalton held that the documents we sought were “related to the financial information that Mr. Bonkowski discussed at the June 5, 2013 meeting, and thus do come within the realm of ‘public records.’” In fact, when Judge Dalton discussed Mr. Bonkowski’s flawed reasoning in determining what constitutes a public record, she wrote the criticism that has been so often repeated in the press: “The Council members knew well what the Governance Manual requires, and any hesitation by them in turning over such emails is a grave concern for the people of Bainbridge Island.”

Moreover, Mr. Bonkowski did not turn over his emails in a timely manner, because, as Judge Dalton found, he “admitted to deleting records that were responsive to the PRA requests.”

The Court of Appeals supported Judge Dalton’s positions, writing that Bonkowski and Ward “undisputedly violated the Governance Manual by using their personal accounts for city business, by failing to forward emails received on their personal accounts to City servers, and by deleting emails which constituted public records, thus making it impossible for the City to adequately respond to Paulson and Fortner’s PRA requests.” Continue Reading »

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