The second-floor green roof at Poulsbo City Hall is overgrown with weeds. Courtesy photo

The second-floor green roof at Poulsbo City Hall is overgrown with weeds. Courtesy photo

Poulsbo discusses public patio on City Hall roof

Roof overgrown with weeds; difficult for maintenance to access

The Poulsbo City Council discussed Wednesday a proposed feasibility study for the second-floor green roof at City Hall to add maintenance access and the possibility of a public patio.

In city engineer Josh Raines’ presentation to the council, he said the green roof was installed to provide “green infrastructure” but has become difficult to access for maintenance personnel. Due to that, the roof has become overgrown with weeds.

“I’ve always wanted it to be a public space, and it’s one of my big regrets,” Mayor Becky Erickson said. “When the building was being built, I actually asked about having that green roof be open to the public. I was told we couldn’t do that because we needed the green roof.

“In fact, we don’t need the green roof. It’s not required for our stormwater facilities at all. It’s very dangerous for our public works folks to have to maintain it. There are blackberries up there; it’s a mess.”

Documents state that the project goal is to identify an alternative method for safe maintenance access, and further, to evaluate the feasibility of a public deck or patio. It was noted that if alternative maintenance access is provided it should be useable for public access “if a deck makes sense in the future.”

Tacoma-based architect Helix Design Group would conduct the feasibility study. The two options would be to provide second-floor interior access only or provide both interior and exterior access. Once an option is chosen, the city will develop the concept and planning level cost estimates. The current estimated cost would be $15,520 out of the city’s general fund.

“I’d like to turn it into public open space and have it as a patio for everyone to enjoy,” Erickson said.

Councilmember Connie Lord said safety issues are a concern and asked if the city would entertain any outside access to the public. Councilmember Gary McVey also voiced concerns regarding safety and the cost of a public patio. He also said the discussion should be tabled so they could possibly include a new cost estimate that includes another green roof space at city hall.

“Somebody’s going to have to make a pretty compelling case to me that we should take that away and turn it into something else,” McVey said.

To provide clarity for some of those safety concerns, Raines did say railings would be included on the roof. Ultimately, the discussion was tabled and will be brought back up at a future council meeting.

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