Letters to the Editor

Distrust land trust

To the editor:

Stand For The Land are likely the words running through your head as you make a donation to the Bainbridge Island Land Trust. But are your donations being used to Stand For The Land or to replace forested land with high-density housing?

January of this year, without communicating with its community or donors, the trust quietly facilitated a high-density housing project. Without so much as a heads-up to donors or those directly affected by the proposed Lovgreen project—the trust purchased land and signed a memorandum of understanding with a developer aimed at replacing forested land with high-density housing.

The land trust has privileged access to highly sought-after land on BI, and now we must question their intentions behind each and every dollar raised. And we must question their intentions behind each and every land acquisition. Will the trust be Standing For The Land or replacing their forested land with high-density housing?

This new precedent-setting partnership between the trust and housing developers is perhaps akin to the fox guarding the henhouse. If you believe the trust should Stand For The Land rather than develop it—I encourage you to speak up.

Adam Johnson


Strays off mission

To the editor:

The Bainbridge Island Land Trust plans to develop 15 acres on Lovgreen Road, partnering with Housing Resources Bainbridge, with two acres planned for housing. It’s a great place for conservation but not affordable housing.

This collaboration was described in HRB’s Spring 2022 The Front Porch newsletter, The preciousness of land: HRB and the Land Trust find common ground. From the article:

“There are two land trusts on Bainbridge Island: the Bainbridge Island Land Trust and Housing Resources Bainbridge (HRB). One conserves land for environmental protection and the other for affordable housing. Both appreciate the preciousness of land and its potential to realize their respective—and complementary—missions.”

The article goes on to make a case for why land trust should help build more housing with ready access to nature. Missing is an explanation of how construction of housing enhances conservation. It’s a one-way deal: influential people using the land trust to advance personal hidden agendas by greenwashing the development of housing on and near sensitive lands.

White settlement of our region brought the philosophy of “highest and best use,” with the systems of trade and manufacturing to test that philosophy to its fullest. 170 years later “ highest and best use” has severely degraded our ecosystems. The land trust’s Lovgreen plan mixes “highest and best use” with its conservation mission. Let’s be clear about this compromise and not fall for the line that housing, and all that comes with it, enhances conservation values.

Ron Peltier