Letters to the Editor

View of waterfront lost; dismayed by changes to port building design

If you can remain calm while all around is panic… then perhaps you don’t understand the situation.

After sitting through two public meetings to review the design plans for the new waterfront building at the port, a cabal has had the architect change direction without public input.

At the prior public meetings, 50 participants gave input, clicking clickers and sticking stickers and all those things we were asked to do by the presentation team. The design was drawn up by award-winning architect Peter Brochvogel and featured open space and a low profile aesthetic that fits the Northwest shed-style vernacular architecture of buildings similar to the Ice Cream Shop on Front Street, the Cannery Building on Jackson Beach, or the Brickworks building.

The previous design was beautiful, and would have been a vast improvement over what was there before. The new design, slipped in under cover of darkness, takes the roof line from 17 feet to 29-feet 10-inches. The previous elegant design turns into massive 30-foot behemoth blocking any hope of a view of the harbor from Front Street.

At the previous public meetings, one or two people worried the shed roof looked too modern. Does the Ice Cream Store or Cannery look too modern? Imagine your favorite heritage barn covered in mirrored glass. What makes it look modern? The answer is the material used.

It would be very simple to make the original design seem more historical by simply changing materials used in the renderings or adding a green roof while retaining a low profile.

Please make an effort to look at the new design and let the Port commissioners and the Historic Review Board know we would like to keep the view.

Paul Le Baron, San Juan Island

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