We understand there are some concerns in the community regarding a pedestrian connection at the Bainbridge Landing project site, located on Minamoto Lane (near Ferncliff Avenue).
The situation has been reviewed by staff in both Development Engineering and Planning, including the City’s arborist. Please see below for more information on the matter.
Bainbridge Landing Pedestrian Connection
Harbor Square residents have expressed concerns about a pedestrian connection between the Bainbridge Landing project site and the Harbor Square public open space, including a heritage tree on the north end of the Harbor Square property.
The pedestrian connection, which is roughly 70 square feet, was required as a condition in the Hearing Examiner’s decision issued in April 2017 for the Bainbridge Landing project.
See condition 11 on page 12 of the Hearing Examiner’s Bainbridge Landing Decision:
11. To ensure recreational opportunities are provided on-site and connected to adjoining sites, the project shall provide an on-site pedestrian connection to the adjoining public park on the Harbor Square property.
In September 2017, the City approved a design submitted by the Bainbridge Landing developer to install a concrete pedestrian connection in response to the Hearing Examiner condition.
The City staff cannot ignore the Hearing Examiner condition -- a “pedestrian connection” in some form must be provided at this location prior to giving final approval of the site improvements.
Development Engineering staff met with the Bainbridge Landing developer Thursday afternoon to discuss the project, including the pedestrian connection. Staff shared with the developer that the City cannot change the Hearing Examiner decision for a pedestrian path, however alternative materials may be an option.
City staff may be able to approve a change in the path material that is not concrete, but to do so will require the developer to submit a revised plan to the City for review and approval. The Hearing Examiner’s decision (see condition 26 on page 14 of the Hearing Examiner’s April 2017 decision) limits the available options for alternative materials.
Condition 26 requires all public paths on the Bainbridge Landing Project to be "nonskid hard surfaces”. The City could approve a “field change” to replace concrete with pervious concrete or asphalt without the applicant being required to submit a revision to their permit. Alternatively, the City could approve a “permit revision” (which would require the applicant to submit plans and specs) for accessible trail surfacing such as fine crushed gravel, decomposed granite, or bonded wood fiber. Based on condition 26, wood chips would be not be an approved material. Wood chips, or bark pathways, are not considered stable, firm, or slip resistant.
If the developer chooses to proceed with the installation of a concrete path, as previously approved by the Hearing Examiner, there is no basis for the City to object to this work. Alternatives were discussed this week with the developer, but it is not clear at this time whether the developer will proceed with a concrete surface or will seek City approval for an alternative surface. The City has communicated that the City would be likely to accept alternative surface options that comply with the Hearing Examiner’s decision.
As a condition of the Bainbridge Landing project, the City required the developer to work with an arborist to implement tree protection measures to monitor and manage the tree during construction. As part of this work, the developer submitted an assessment from a certified arborist that confirmed that the location of the planned path would not impact the health of the tree. According to the 2016 arborist report submitted by Katy Bigelow, the trail is not in the drip line of the tree.
In addition, City Arborist Nick Snyder recently evaluated the pedestrian connection and the nearby tree and determined that the installation of a pedestrian connection in the proposed location – whether concrete or some other material – is not anticipated to adversely impact the tree. Although the path is located at the edge of the critical root zone, it is unlikely that any healthy, significant roots will be damaged by the placement of the pedestrian access since no additional excavation is required.
Harbor Square Open Space
We understand that some Harbor Square residents have described this pedestrian connection as a “pathway to nowhere” and have concerns about the connectivity of the path.
As noted in the Hearing Examiner’s 2017 condition above, this path is intended to connect public open space on the Bainbridge Landing project with similar public open space on the Harbor Square property.
In November 2005, a declaration of public open space was recorded for the future Harbor Square Condominium Development that guaranteed public access to the dedicated open space.
In 2006, the final Harbor Square project condition added the tree to the open space. The City designated the tree as a “heritage tree” after the Harbor Square developer (Opus NWR Development) applied for the designation to receive a development bonus for the project.
The pedestrian connection between the existing Harbor Square open space and the newly added Bainbridge Landing open space is a meaningful amenity that is intended to expand the utility and function of both areas.
This story was updated at 10:30 a.m. Friday, Jan. 31.