Letters to the editor

Moratorium unfair

To the editor:

I’m a lifelong islander whose family has called Bainbridge home for several generations. I’d like to address the disappointing and unfair actions of the BI City Council with respect to their emergency moratorium on the development of inns in Neighborhood Center districts. My father-in-law, John Jacobi, is responsible for the redevelopment of Lynwood Center, and he is being unfairly targeted by this moratorium.

In an effort to meet the increasing demand for lodging on the island, John decided to build a 15-room inn on land he had purchased in 2018. The land was zoned for this use, and John was assured that his project met the necessary requirements.

For 10 months, John’s team worked closely with the city on the many levels of approvals with no issue. There were several site plan review meetings, and the City Council had full knowledge of his intent to build an inn before enacting the moratorium in December 2022 and bringing his project to a screeching halt.

Here’s what it comes down to: Development is regulated by code. The City Council has repeatedly stated the importance of governing by code. John’s proposed development is and was allowed by code. It is entirely unfair to change the rules mid-stream and penalize an applicant who is abiding by code.

Doing so has far-reaching implications that do nothing but harm the island and the thriving community that John has so thoughtfully built.

Geoff P. Wood


Listen to residents

To the editor:

The Bainbridge Island City Council is at it again, putting the cart before the horse with the updates to the Comp Plan and Winslow Subarea Plan.

What’s in play? Do all islanders’ opinion matter or not? Feels a bit like gerrymandering to me.

The issue is simple, do you buy furniture for a new house before the house is designed? This is what is happening with the Winslow Subarea Plan and Comp Plan updates.

How can council decide on new policies for growth and change in Winslow without knowing what islanders want for the entire island?

Why is council putting its socks on over its boots and making decisions and working on policies that affect us all without asking what all islanders want?

The issue is who decides our city’s future. Council has continued to vote in support of development in conservation areas and Neighborhood Centers. A majority of development in the last decades has been in conservation areas — severely compromising basic city planning tenets, sustainability and the island’s climate change goals. To me, we are headed in the wrong direction.

Both regional and state policies now ask the island to accept more residents and business and importantly accommodate affordable housing. Where these new residents and businesses are located matter to us all.

So, I ask council to stop work on the Winslow Subarea Plan until islander voices are heard and the Comp Plan update is completed. I would bet the new furniture council is planning to buy will not fit in the living room.

Kent Scott


Overruns predicted

To the editor:

The March 12 article with regard to the Bainbridge Island City Council being “blindsided” by cost overruns on Harrison Medical Center failed to mention that numerous citizens for years have been predicting that event.

I wrote to the council March 9, 2019, and April 27, 2019 about the poorly conceived project, suggesting, among other things, that they appoint a citizens’ review panel to go over the budgeting. On Dec. 15, 2019, I emailed the council about the cost issue, noting that “it will cost far more to remodel than you have been informed.”

I also wrote in response to a March 12, 2021 “Second Opinion” authored by councilmembers Leslie Schneider and Kirsten Hytopoulos, noting that the article, which suggested the “most responsible action is to continue,” failed to address the pared-down budgets that the council had accepted without question to move the project forward.

Thus the council can hardly complain about being blindsided, when it has worn blinders about the project for more than four years. The tragedy is that the council allowed itself to be misled time and time again by not asking hard questions and probing for more detail. Bainbridge taxpayers deserve so much better from their elected representatives.

Anthony Gibbons