PORT BLAKELY MILL CO. ANNOUNCES ITS PLANS
FOR A RURAL MASTER-PLANNED COMMUNITY ON BAINBRIDGE ISLAND
BAINBRIDGE ISLAND, Wash., Jan. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Port Blakely Mill Co. today announced its plans for an ecologically responsible 843-home rural master-planned community, which sets aside more than half of the company's land on South Bainbridge Island as open space for the protection of wetlands, wildlife habitat and recreation.
The plan calls for human-scale neighborhoods and a village center interconnected by country lanes and an extensive public trail system. It also features a rowing and sailing club at the head of Blakely Harbor, a community-operated passenger-only ferry to Seattle, public parks, ball fields, a school site and a state-of-the-art tertiary waste-water treatment system. Focal points of the proposed village center will be a reconstruction of Port Blakely's historic general store, Captain Renton's home and portions of the boardwalk which served a once-thriving Port Blakely Mill Co. community in the late 1800s.
"The Port Blakely proposal is a comprehensive plan. Its parts are interrelated and economically dependent on the proposed density of the community," Charles Wilson, Port Blakely real estate manager said. "The plan must be viewed as a package. It is not a collection of separate parts and features."
The small forested neighborhoods are to be built over time in carefully monitored stages governed by design guidelines. The stringent design rules will require architects and builders to create a visual variety of homes that capture and preserve the rural character of Bainbridge Island. Individual building lots will be placed into the existing landscape using predetermined building sites. In addition, most homesites will have conservation easements to protect trees and wildlife habitat.
"Careful planning, comprehensive environmental studies and local assessments helped us determine what our rural community should look and feel like," Wilson said. "I'm confident the proposed community at Port Blakely will be one of this region's best examples of responsible land use."
According to Wilson, the configuration of the proposed master plan's open space is a major component. "The open space was not selected in an arbitrary fashion," said Wilson. "The existing features of the land, such as the wetland systems and wildlife corridors, made many of our decisions for us. In fact, not a single home was sited on the property until we had a clear understanding of where not to build."
Another key part of the proposed plan is its pedestrian-friendly orientation. The village center with its historic general store and boardwalk will place many day-to-day conveniences within walking distance of the new neighborhoods. The proposed community-operated passenger-only ferry also will enhance the community's pedestrian character and ease congestion at the island's Winslow ferry terminal.
"Much of what we've proposed was defined by convenient walking distances from neighborhoods to schools, the village center, ferry and recreational facilities," said Wilson. "The special emphasis placed on walking will promote a healthy lifestyle for residents and reduce automobile use and peak hour traffic on roads at the south end of the island."
Port Blakely's proposed trail network will be public and will give island residents careful access to wetland boundaries, Mac's Lake, a picturesque ravine, remnants of the Japanese villages of Nagaya and Yama (including the remains of a community bath, the Buddhist temple, and Takayoshi's general store) and three waterfront locations. The trail system is designed to link up to the existing trails at Fort Ward State Park and eventually to a proposed all-island trails concept.
Of particular note, the company's plan proposes public access to the harbor's north and south points via the trail network so residents and islanders will be able to enjoy panoramic views of Puget Sound, Mount Rainier and the Seattle skyline.
"By adding density away from the water to recover the values of these prized waterfront sites, we can provide everyone on the island with perpetual access to the most spectacular views on the property," said Wilson. "This is just one of the advantages we can provide through our master-planning process."
Along with the pedestrian trails, the company also proposes the creation of community bike paths which will be set back from the community's lanes and link up with parks, schools, village center and neighborhoods.
"A community assessment survey underscored the need for safer bike paths and more recreational opportunities for island families," said Wilson. "Our plan addresses those needs and will make Port Blakely a valued neighbor to the rest of the island."
As conservation measures, the Port Blakely proposal requires that all homes have water-conserving toilets, shower-flow restrictors and low-water-use landscaping.
"We also are proposing the development of a state-of-the-art tertiary waste-water treatment plant," said Wilson. "The system's reclaimed water will be used for landscaping and to recharge local aquifers."
The community's primary water supply will come from an 875-foot deep aquifer that has been shown to have no impact on existing shallow aquifers which serve surrounding wells. The shallow and deep aquifers are separated by some 600 feet of impervious clay.
"Careful thought and extensive planning have gone into Port Blakely's proposal for an 843-home rural community," said Wilson. "The rebirth of what once was a thriving 2,000-resident community at the turn of the century will incorporate today's values -- with a premium placed on maintaining the natural characteristics of the land, providing diverse and visually tasteful architecture, and offering a vast array of public recreational and educational opportunities. I believe this is a responsible way to manage growth."
The Port Blakely plan calls for approximately 17 housing types to meet the needs of families of differing sized, incomes and stages of life.
A model of the proposed rural master-planned community will be available for viewing at the Port Blakely Exhibit at Harold's Square in downtown Winslow.
Founded in 1863 at Blakely Harbor on Bainbridge Island, Port Blakely Mill Co. has tree farm holdings throughout the Northwest region.
/CONTACT: Kathy Chapman of The Rockey Co., 206-728-1100, for Port Blakely Mill Co./ CO: Port Blakely Mill Co. ST: Washington IN: SU:
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