Island Center Subarea Planning 

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At their August 10, 2021 meeting, City Council voted to indefinitely suspend work on the Island Center subarea planning process and terminated the terms of the existing Steering Committee members.  Council approved the suspension to make progress on the Winslow Subarea Plan update which was identified as a high-priority project of the Council.

How Does the Subarea Planning Process Work?

In 2017, the City Council identified Island Center subarea planning as a priority. The Council then appointed a steering committee, which has been meeting and gathering information. The Subarea Planning Process is outlined in Bainbridge Island Municipal Code (BIMC) Section 2.16.210 (PDF). City Council had appointed a steering committee composed mostly of residents and business owners in or nearby Island Center.  

The Draft Subarea Plan (Plan) recommended by the Steering Committee on May 5, 2021 was forwarded to the Planning Commission for review.  Planning Commission discussed the Draft Plan at their June 10, 2021 and July 8, 2021 meetings.  Further Planning Commission review of the Draft Plan had been scheduled for Summer/Fall 2021 prior to the Council suspension.

Next Steps

As part of the August 10, 2021 Council action to suspend work on the Draft Plan, it directed the Planning Commission to review two discrete parts of the Draft Island Center Subarea Plan including development standards unrelated to increasing or decreasing residential density and zoning of the Bainbridge Gardens properties. This work will be discussed with Planning Commission at a later date which has yet to be determined.

Island Center Subarea Planning Steering Committee Completes Subarea Plan Recommendation

On May 5, 2021, the Island Center Subarea Planning Steering Committee completed its recommendation for the Island Center Subarea Plan following three years of extensive discussion, outreach, review and analysis.  The Draft Subarea Plan (Plan) includes recommendations for land use alternatives, traffic calming, bicycle and pedestrian facilities and trail connections.

Steering Committee Recommended

Draft Island Center Subarea Plan

Some of the proposed improvements include:

Transportation Safety

  • Add new bicycle and pedestrian facilities and trail connections.

Public Improvements

  • New outdoor public space: The Plan proposes to improve a four-acre City-owned property on Miller Road to create a new flexible outdoor public space with connections to a trail network. The plan envisions incorporating some permanent recreational elements, such as seating and play areas, while allowing for different uses at different times of day and seasons, with parking available for nearby uses and events. 
  • Expand public and/or visual access to the Fletcher Bay waterfront in Island Center in partnership with private property owners and recreation and conservation organizations.

Land Use and Zoning

  • This includes changes to development standards and permitted/conditional uses that serves to differentiate the Island Center Neighborhood Center area from Lynwood Center and Rolling Bay Neighborhood Centers.   
  • The committee voted to recommend Land Use Alternative 3 in its draft plan (see pages 19-26 of the draft plan). Alternative 3 proposes adding three separate areas to the Island Center Neighborhood Center Zone, in part to support commercial development and to allow for more affordable housing; the areas are currently zoned residential. Alternatives 1 and 2 that were considered by the committee are included in the Appendices of the Draft Plan.

At the May 5, 2021 meeting the Committee made several changes that would enhance policies in the Draft Plan related to non-conforming uses, supporting agriculture, and improving the City's Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) program in response to Committee Member proposals.  Much of the discussion center on what the residential density and bonus density for affordable housing should be in a future Island Center zone. A Minority Report from three Steering Committee Members has been submitted to the City. It was added to the Appendix to the DRAFT Subarea Plan.

Information presented at the February 10, 2020 Island Center Open House and Workshop may be seen by clicking on the below links:

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Current Island Center NC Map1

Steering Committee Work

A summary of existing conditions were compiled and the Steering Committee drafted goals for the subarea plan. The Steering Committee has drafted a Vision Statement and selected draft planning boundaries for this effort as shown here.  There is an inner and outer boundary.  The outer boundary is a "transportation sphere of influence" recognizing that transportation is an issue of great concern with Island Center subarea planning.

The committee work then focused on developing ideas for new public open space, transportation, and land use choices.

February 10, 2020 Island Center Open House:

June 18, 2018 "Envision Island Center - A Community Kickoff"

This community event came about as a way to talk about the future of Island Center in both large and smaller group settings.  See a summary of the meeting here.

2018 Island Center Survey Results

The month-long Island Center survey closed on July 15, 2018.  Over 650 people took the survey.  Survey results summarized here.

Relevant City Documents & Studies

The following documents help to explain the current status of the Island Center and showcase projects that are in process:

Historical Island Center Subarea Planning Process Documents

A previous Island Center subarea planning process took place between 2000 and 2002. The draft Island Subarea Plan that was developed, but not adopted by the City Council, and other supporting documents can be found on the City’s NextRequest portal.


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Information on Role of Councilmember Liaisons.