Impacts of Proposed Day Road Roundabout
The Bainbridge Island Land Trust (Land Trust) is aware of and working diligently to address the Washington Department of Transportation’s (WSDOT) plans at the corner of State Route 305 and Day Road. The WSDOT plans include constructing a roundabout and related storm water infrastructure on portions of a 24-acre Land Trust held conservation easement. This PDF includes more detailed project information.
-The conservation easement, donated by Mike Ryherd and Dottie Parcheski in 1990, was Bainbridge Island Land Trust’s first ever conservation easement.
-The property was placed into a conservation easement after local citizens worked diligently to stop development of the property into a strip mall, industrial business site, and then finally a golf driving range – all of which would have changed the view and habitat values at the corner of HWY 305 and Day Road forever.
-The nearly 24-acre property hosts a number of habitat types including a large open meadow, forest fringe, and stream-side areas. The protected property offers an iconic open space view on the corner of Day Road and Highway 305. The conservation easement protects these important values.
-Over 75 species of birds call this conservation easement home during many stages of their life cycles – including nesting. Hay from the fields has provided an agricultural product for over three decades. Its largely undeveloped status also provides watershed protection.
-While the land is privately owned, and all of the landowners of the property through the years have invested countless hours of their own labor to steward this property, the public and the Land Trust have been very active with the landowner in the stewardship and care of this property over the decades. In just the past 5 years, over 102 individual volunteers have worked on this property, providing over 284 hours of service. In addition, our Teen Conservation Crew and staff have dedicated over 400 hours through cost share efforts with the landowner to improve habitat conditions.
In December of 2018, the landowner and the Land Trust became aware of WSDOT’s plans to use a portion of the conservation easement for the Day Road and HWY 305 roundabout; part of the larger SR 305 Winslow Ferry to Hostmark Street project. These plans would violate the terms of the conservation easement.
We have worked diligently since that time to defend the conservation easement, track the project, and educate WSDOT and other decision makers about the conservation easement and the protective values of the land. Our hope has been that by working with WSDOT, a design alternative would be developed that could avoid impact to the conservation easement.
Unfortunately, the current design released September 17 at City of Bainbridge Island City Council meeting and the September 18 SR 305 Working Group Meeting still shows encroachment onto the conservation easement at varying scales, depending on the storm water design.
The Land Trust, upon accepting a conservation easement, has the legal obligation to defend the easement and conservation values from being violated or disrupted. Most times we have been able to resolve issues through negotiations with landowners and third parties.
The Land Trust and current landowner are continuing discussions with WSDOT and local leaders on how to resolve this issue. The Land Trust has expended extensive effort on the matter so far and there is no question this will require additional time and effort from our organization. We are dedicated, and obligated, to ensuring that preservation of the conservation easement and conservation values are major considerations in decisions being made.
As members of the Bainbridge Island community, the Land Trust and the landowner recognize the need to address traffic and safety concerns on SR 305, while also providing the ability for public transit and non-motorized routes.