City Manager's Report
Dear Bainbridge Islanders,
This week has brought new challenges to our community and region as we work to respond to the national and global impacts from COVID-19. Key highlights include:

  • The City issued a local proclamation of emergency this week, as has Kitsap County. The purpose of this action is to provide the City with flexibility in our operations and procurement, and to ensure our eligibility for reimbursement for costs associated with our emergency response. Read the City's proclamation here.

  • The City continues to share the most current and accurate information we have, so community members can be as informed as possible. We rely on Kitsap Public Health District (KPHD) for direction and guidance, but also look to other regional, state and national resources as well. We are monitoring closely when and how public health guidance indicates that we should make changes in City operations and services, the use of public spaces, or plans for meetings and events. We are communicating regularly about these issues, and we encourage everyone who is interested to make sure you are signed up for our Nixle alerts and following updates to the City’s website at

  • The City is the lead agency for our community’s response efforts. This entails a high degree of coordination and communication among key partner public agencies (BISD, BIFD, BIMPRD), and extensive connection with other county and regional resources. That coordination and cooperation is working very well. The relationships and communication Bainbridge agencies have built in our day-to-day work together makes us better positioned as a community to cooperate on this emerging and urgent set of challenges.

  • We are also working to inform and prepare the City’s own workforce. We are monitoring absenteeism, applying best practices for healthy use of shared public spaces and other areas, and expanding our cleaning approach to public spaces. The City is also building our contingency plans for continuity of our operations if we need to make changes due to either new guidance that affects our work, or because we experience significant impacts from absenteeism.

  • The context for our community and region is changing quickly and that will continue to be the case. The City is now moving to a mode of operations where it is understood that community spread of this virus is a reality. In that mode, this will be an event that we will be operating within for the next 12-18 months, similar in some ways to the experience around H1N1. That means that, as we go forward, our response efforts need to be developed with that perspective, and with that level of sustainability, in mind.

  • We want those people in our community who are particularly vulnerable to have the information they need to help to keep themselves safe. The rest of us also need to understand what we can do to support these groups, what steps we can take to slow the speed of transmission, and how to be ready to do whatever is asked of us to meet the requests for local and regional response.

Best wishes,

Morgan Smith
City Manager
COVID-19 Updates
Kitsap Public Health update on COVID-19
Below is the latest update from Kitsap Public Health as of 2 p.m. Thursday, March 12:

Positive Tests: 2
  • 3/10/2020: A Bainbridge Island resident in their 70s
  • 3/8/2020: A Bainbridge Island resident in their 60s

Negative Tests: 26

As of March 12, Kitsap Public Health is now providing testing updates at 2 p.m. to be consistent with the Washington State Department of Health.

Click here to read the latest updates and health information from Kitsap Public Health.
Bainbridge Island School District update on COVID-19
Following Gov. Jay Inslee's executive order, the Bainbridge Island School District has closed all schools through at least April 24, 2020 in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19. Learn more here.
Blood drive scheduled today at City Hall
Please consider donating blood today (Friday, March 13) during the Bloodworks Northwest drive at City Hall to help ensure a safe and reliable blood supply for our community.

The Washington State Department of Health released a bulletin March 12 encouraging people to continue to give blood amid COVID-19 concerns.

"Growing concerns about COVID-19 is leading to an increased number of canceled blood drives, which is impacting the amount of blood available for those in need. This is creating a significant public health risk and puts our local blood supply in danger of collapse," health officials said in the bulletin.

The blood drive at City Hall is scheduled 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. in the Council Chamber.

Information is available on the Bloodworks Northwest website to help answer questions or concerns people may have about donating blood.
City Information
Finance team earns prestigious award for annual report
For the fifth year in a row, the City of Bainbridge Island has received the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA). This year's award is for the 2018 comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR). The Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management.

“This award is made possible by ongoing hard work and excellence in processing by Finance staff and staff citywide,” said City Manager Morgan Smith.

Government Finance Officers Association is the leading public finance professional association servicing the needs of nearly 19,000 appointed and elected local, state, and provincial-level government officials and other finance practitioners. 
Volunteers needed for City Advisory Groups
Want to make a difference in your community? Apply to serve on a City Advisory group, including committees related to land use, climate change, historic preservation, and more. A list of openings and an online application can be found here.

Applications are due by 4 p.m. Friday, April 24. Applicants must be available in May for interviews. Terms begin July 1, 2020.

Questions? Contact Executive Assistant Roz Lassoff at 780-8624 or
City to remove hazardous trees on Wyatt Way
During the week of March 23, the City’s Operations and Maintenance crew will be pruning and removing hazard trees on Wyatt Way, just east of Madison Avenue.

The trees, located in a City-owned easement along Wyatt Way, were assessed by a consulting arborist in 2019, and recommendations were confirmed by the City’s arborist this year. 

Four black locusts, further to the west, were identified by the arborists as moderately high risk for falling on parked cars or pedestrians and will be removed.  

One willow tree, the easternmost of the cluster, will be significantly pruned, and dead wood removed. 
City Council Updates
Council suspends some density bonus options
On March 10, the City Council approved an interim zoning control ordinance related to Floor Area Ratio ("FAR") density bonus options ( Ordinance 2020-10). The interim control is effective immediately and pauses the use of bonus FAR (which increases density) for some types of projects in some instances. The pause will allow the Council to study whether the applicability and use of certain types of bonus density options are meeting what is intended, including related to the Comprehensive Plan.

Floor area is a form of measurement used to determine the amount of square footage that can be constructed on a property. Each property in the Mixed Use Town Center and High School Road zoning districts has a base and bonus floor area ratio that is allowed for residential, commercial, and mixed use projects. 

The interim zoning control ordinance, approved by the Council on March 10, suspends the applicability and use of bonus floor area ratio as provided in BIMC 18.12.030.E. (dimensional standards) and the related provisions described in the ordinance, except for subsections E.1. (related to Optional Affordable Housing) and E.6. (related to Historic Structure Preservation). 

The ordinance excludes development projects that filed a complete land use permit application with the City and have purchased from the City or otherwise acquired development rights, including related to bonus floor area ratio, through an executed covenant, development agreement, or contract, prior to the effective date of the ordinance (March 10).

The general purpose of the bonus FAR option has been to provide an incentive program to achieve a broad range of community benefits and to implement the Comprehensive Plan and Winslow Master Plan. For example, when an applicant elected to purchase bonus FAR from the City, the proceeds were typically divided as follows: 60% was put toward the preservation of agricultural land on the island, and 40% was put toward the purchase of public amenities (like traffic calming, pocket parks, street trees, or pedestrian connections). In some circumstances, 100% of the fees were designated for the preservation of agricultural land (see, Resolution No. 2001-54). 

As a result of the Council’s March 10 action, FAR bonus density, which is currently available in the Mixed Use Town Center and High School Road Districts, can only be obtained or used at this time under the following circumstances:
  • providing affordable housing as defined in Chapter 18.36 BIMC in accordance with BIMC 18.12.030.E.1.;
  • transferring unused FAR from the Islander Mobile Home Park to another parcel in the Mixed Use Town Center in accordance with BIMC 18.12.030.E.1.; or
  • preserving an historic structure located on a state, local, or federal register in accordance with BIMC 18.12.030.E.6. such that, when an historic structure is preserved, the square footage of that structure will not count toward the FAR calculation.  

The City Council will further discuss this interim zoning control topic during the March 17 study session. A public hearing on the interim zoning control ordinance is scheduled to occur as part of the April 14 business meeting. 

In a separate action during the February 25 business meeting, the Council requested that City staff work with the Planning Commission to develop reforms to the current Code that would allow the use of bonus FAR only for the purposes of providing affordable housing, historic preservation, or transfer of development rights. On March 12, the Planning Commission will begin its discussions of the land use code amendment. That effort will result in a proposed ordinance that will return to the Council for consideration of approval.
Council approves term-limited position for public records requests
The City Council moved forward a request to hire a Public Records Specialist to address the growing number of increasingly complex public records requests

The average number of new requests per month was 46 from late 2016 through 2019. In January and February 2020, the City received 202 requests, or an average of 101 per month. This is roughly double the three-year average.

The additional resources will help the City meet legal response requirements in the face of a higher level of demand. The public records specialist position is limited to 12 months. The position will be supervised by City Clerk Christine Brown with work responsibilities related to identifying and compiling records responsive to public records requests received by the City. 

Additional discussion of staffing and whether to add a regular, ongoing position, may be part of the upcoming biennial budget discussions. Learn more here
Council sets public hearing on development moratorium extension
The City Council will hold a public hearing March 24 to consider extending the development moratorium (currently set to expire April 3) for six months. The six-month extension would allow City staff time to continue affordable housing tasks and work on adoption of the new Critical Areas Ordinance within the Shoreline Master Program.

If Council approves the extension, it would mark the fifth extension since the moratorium was approved in January 2018. 
Upcoming City Council Agenda
Below are some of the topics scheduled for the March 17 study session.
  • Presentation with overview of draft Climate Action Plan goals and strategies
  • Update on the Sustainable Transportation Plan
  • Review of the Code of Conduct and Ethics Program
  • Discussion on update to integrate the Shoreline Master Program (SMP) into the Critical Areas Ordinance (CAO)
  • Discussion on development of the Capital Improvement Plan
  • Resolution on Climate Emergency

If you would like to receive the City Council agenda by email when it's published, click  here  to sign up on the Council Agendas webpage.

The meetings are live-streamed on the  City website . Visit the  Agendas & Minutes  section, then click on "In Progress" when the meeting starts. You can also watch the meetings on BKAT (Ch. 12 on Comcast & Ch. 3 on WAVE).
Upcoming Events & Meetings
Monday, March 16:
Design Review Board meeting; 2 to 5 p.m. at City Hall.
Tuesday, March 17:
Department of Ecology will host a webinar to discuss the Blakely Harbor Park cleanup site. Details here.
Tuesday, March 31:
Deadline to apply for Salary Commission.
Friday, April 10:
Deadline to respond to Request for Qualifications for COBI Connects & Photography/Video services. Learn more here.
Stay Connected
Contact Information

280 Madison Avenue North
Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
Phone: 206-842-7633