City Manager's Report
Dear Bainbridge Islanders,
I would like to call your attention today to the set of annual reports that convey the City’s progress on the highest priority tasks during 2019. 

2019 Workplan Priorities
In January 2019, the City Council and City staff worked together to identify 117 key tasks and initiatives for the year ahead. These workplan priorities represented areas of additional focus, new activities, or items of particular community significance. In many cases, the City’s priority items have a multi-year planning horizon, and so it is helpful to report regularly in order to track progress and next steps, and to also identify unexpected challenges or capacity issues.

Across the organization, results at year-end (as of Dec. 31, 2019) indicate that a large majority of the City’s 2019 workplan priorities – roughly 75% -- are completed or on track. Another 17% are continuing with a manageable level of disruption/delay ("Some Disruption") but are continuing towards completion. Only a very few isolated tasks – 10 tasks, or 8% of the tasks -- have been deferred due to capacity or other issues ("Major Disruption"). 

The City's year-end workplan results are presented in two different formats. You can view these reports and learn more on the City’s webpage on annual workplan priorities.

2019 Progress on Comprehensive Plan Implementation
As of year-end 2019, the City has made notable progress toward responding to the implementing actions identified in the 2017 Comprehensive Plan. The tasks outlined in this workplan represent a multi-year effort, and an initial timeline of five years has been envisioned. Given which, the fact that roughly a quarter of the identified tasks are now complete represents satisfactory progress.

Across the ten elements, there is a range of performance outcomes. The greatest progress is indicated within the actions related to Housing, Transportation, and Land Use. In part, this reflects the work completed in 2018-2019 related to the City's Development Moratorium, the follow-up from the 2018 Affordable Housing Task Force, and the completion of the 2018 ballot initiative for non-motorized spending. Looking ahead, additional significant activities are still planned within all three of these areas of focus (e.g., Sustainable Transportation Plan, ongoing Affordable Housing initiatives, remaining plans for Winslow and other areas).

Other elements indicate more mixed results. Both the Water Resources and Environmental elements will be informed by projects that are anticipated within 2020 (pending Climate Action Plan, Groundwater Management Plan, Green Building initiatives).
Within all elements, it is anticipated that new tasks will be identified that support the original implementing actions. In that respect, the workplan to implement the goals of the Comprehensive Plan will continue to evolve and expand over time. The purpose of the City's planned periodic reporting on these activities is to capture progress and projects that emerge throughout the monitoring period, to convey the degree to which implementation goals have been met, and to communicate more explicitly about how the City's annual workplans connect to the Comprehensive Plan.

Click here to view this report and learn more about the City's progress on Comprehensive Plan implementation.

At the business meeting this week, Councilmember Matt Tirman (South Ward) announced that he will be resigning from the Council effective Feb. 28. A recognition of Councilmember Tirman’s service is scheduled for the Feb. 25 business meeting.

At this week’s business meeting, the Council continued their discussion of the City’s Ethics Program, approved a consulting study on LEED certification and other sustainability assessments for the Police-Court project, and discussed the use of Floor Area Ratio (FAR) density bonuses.

For more information on these topics and other items, please see below. Please note that the Council study session scheduled for Feb. 18 has been canceled. The next City Council meeting will be the business meeting on Feb. 25.
Best wishes,

Morgan Smith
City Manager
Hearing Examiner decision on Winslow Hotel project expected by Feb. 28
The Hearing Examiner has closed the record of the proposed Winslow Hotel project hearing and will issue a decision on the Site Plan Review and Conditional Use Permit applications no later than Friday, Feb. 28.

The Hearing Examiner public hearing on the proposed project was held Jan. 23 in the Council Chamber. An audio recording of the hearing is available on the City’s Hearing Examiner webpage.

The Winslow Hotel project proposal, located at 251 Winslow Way W, includes an 87-room hotel with banquet and meeting rooms, restaurant and bar, and spa. There is a landscaped courtyard, reflecting pond and bandshell, and both under-building and surface parking totaling 136 spaces.
Update: City responds to Harbor Square concerns on pedestrian path
In recent weeks, many residents of the Harbor Square condominiums have contacted the City with questions related to how the completion of a small section of pathway at the neighboring Bainbridge Landing/BLIS development might impact a large tree within the Harbor Square open space. In a previous weekly update, the City provided some information to confirm that two certified arborists have assessed the path and determined that the path will not harm the tree. 

Harbor Square residents have also expressed concerns about a fence that Harbor Square installed that separates the two properties. Several dozen residents attended the Council meeting this week, and many provided public comment on this issue. 

To help to clarify the issues that have been raised, the below timeline summarizes some aspects of this topic:

  • 2003: Harbor Square project is approved. As a condition of approval, the Hearing Examiner required several public amenities, one of which was that some areas of the property be designated as public open space. In exchange for this open space and other public amenities, the project received bonus densities.

  • Some point after 2003: Harbor Square installs fence along north edge of property.

  • 2016: Bainbridge Landing project submits a certified arborist report as part of the project review process. Arborist report indicates that if tree protection specifications are followed, no significant amount of disturbance to oak tree roots by construction activities is anticipated.

  • 2017: Bainbridge Landing project is approved. As a condition of approval, the Hearing Examiner required several public amenities. One of these was “an on-site pedestrian connection to the adjoining public park on the Harbor Square property.” 

  • January 2020: As Bainbridge Landing project nears completion, Harbor Square residents expressed concerns that the completion of final 10 feet of pathway will harm large tree on Harbor Square property.

  • Jan. 23: City’s certified arborist conducts site visit and determines that completion of remaining pathway will not harm Harbor Square tree.

  • Jan. 31: City Manager visits site.

  • Late January to early February 2020: City staff discussed with Bainbridge Landing that alternative materials for the path may be an option. Bainbridge Landing requests to change surface of proposed path segment from planned concrete surface to a boardwalk design to provide additional protection to vegetation. City staff review of change in surface is in progress.

  • Feb. 11: Concerned residents provide public comment during City Council business meeting. Council requests update from City Manager.

Residents have also expressed concern about whether the City intends to pursue removal of the Harbor Square fence. From the City’s perspective, it is unclear why this concern has emerged. The City has not received any complaints about the Harbor Square fence and has not provided any communication to the property owners or residents about this fence.

At the Feb. 11 meeting, the City Manager confirmed to Council that staff will take up additional research on this set of concerns. This research will include information on the basis for the Hearing Examiner’s conditions for Harbor Square, the basis for the Hearing Examiner’s conditions for Bainbridge Landing, and the significance – if any – of the existing fence installed by Harbor Square.
House move rescheduled for Feb. 19
A heavy lifting company will be moving a house on N Madison Ave Wednesday, Feb. 19 and the project will cause detours on the north end of the island. The move was supposed to occur last month but was postponed.

The house, which is 24 feet wide and 40 feet long, is currently located at 14050 N Madison Ave and will move about 1,000 feet north to 14491 N Madison Ave.

N Madison Ave will be closed between Torvanger Rd (near the Port Madison Lutheran Church) and 14491 N Madison Ave. The work is expected from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Feb. 19.

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Project Updates
Crews to begin hazard tree removal Feb. 18 at Waterfront Park
On Tuesday, Feb. 18, crews will begin removing hazardous trees from Waterfront Park. The work is expected from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. during the weekdays. It’s anticipated the project will take about a week.

The trees were deemed hazardous by the City's arborist and create a risk to public safety.
Police seek public's help identifying people in theft investigations
Since Jan. 1, detectives have received more than a dozen reports involving thefts from mailboxes, vehicles, homes and storage units. In many of these cases, credit cards were stolen from purses or mailboxes then used at various locations in Kitsap County.

Photos were posted on the Police Facebook page of people caught on camera during the thefts or in stores where the stolen credit cards were used. Click here to view the photos. If you recognize anyone, please contact Det. Erik Peffer at 206-780-4665 or

In addition, please always make sure your belongings are locked and secure.
City Council Updates
Matt Tirman to resign from City Council
Councilmember Matt Tirman will resign from the City Council effective Feb. 28.

Tirman, who represents the South Ward, wrote in his Feb. 11 resignation letter to the Council “Serving on the Bainbridge Island City Council has been one of the greatest honors of my professional career, however, with increasing professional responsibilities I feel it would be in the best interest of our island if I stepped down and allowed another member of the community to serve out my term.”

The remainder of Tirman's four-year term expires December 2021. The Council will discuss the process to fill Tirman’s seat during the March 3 study session. More information on the application process will be available after that meeting.

A recognition of Councilmember Tirman’s service is scheduled for the Feb. 25 business meeting.
City Council considers changes to density bonus program
The City Council this week held an initial discussion related to whether to take steps to change the City’s regulations regarding development size in the Mixed Use Town Center and High School Road zones (commonly known as downtown Winslow). The Council discussed whether to change the current regulations, which allow a development to increase in size in exchange for certain specific public benefits, such as affordable housing, public amenities and/or infrastructure, the purchase of development rights, historic preservation, and the preservation of open space.

Floor Area Ratio (FAR) is one way the City regulates the intensity of building in these downtown zones. FAR is determined by dividing the floor area of all buildings on a lot by the size of a lot (see BIMC 18.12.050.G.). For instance, a 5,000 square foot building on a 10,000 square foot lot has a FAR of 0.5, whether the building is a 1-story building with a 5,000 square foot building footprint or a 2-story with 2,500 square feet on each floor.  

A section of the City’s current code ( BIMC 18.12.030.E.) describes the ways in which some projects can obtain bonus FAR in the Winslow Mixed Use and High School Road Districts. In these areas, eligible projects can obtain bonus FAR in the following ways:

  • by providing affordable housing;

  • by purchasing FAR (by the square foot) in an amount that is set by resolution as part of the City’s fee schedule;

  • by making monetary contributions toward public amenities and/or infrastructure beyond what is required for State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) mitigation in an amount established by resolution of the City Council;

  • by constructing public amenities and/or infrastructure beyond what is required to mitigate the impacts of development;

  • by transferring development rights to create permanent open space; and

  • by a few other specific means applicable only in the Ferry District. 

The bonus FAR works as an incentive program to achieve community benefits, and was originally added to the municipal code to implement the Comprehensive Plan and Winslow Master Plan. When an applicant elects to purchase bonus FAR from the City, the proceeds are typically divided as follows: 60% is put toward the preservation of agricultural land on the island, and 40% is put toward the purchase of public amenities (like traffic calming, pocket parks, street trees, or pedestrian connections). In some circumstances, 100% of the fees are designated for the preservation of agricultural land (Resolution No. 2001-54).

The Council had a lengthy discussion on this topic at the Feb. 11 meeting. As a result of the discussion, the Council decided to reconsider a motion made related to suspending the FAR option in these zones through a possible interim control ordinance. The Council also decided to table a motion related to having the Planning Commission review the topic and the City’s code addressing affordable housing. 

As a next step, the Council has scheduled additional discussion for the Feb. 25 business meeting. At that time, the Council will reconsider the motion related to possibly suspending the FAR option in these zones and will continue its discussion on related topics.
Upcoming City Council Agenda
The Feb. 18 study session has been canceled.

The next City Council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 25.
City Advisory Groups Updates
Planning Commission begins review of sign code
The Planning Commission began review of the proposed sign code rules during the Thursday, Feb. 13 study session.

Members will continue to review the draft code update during the Feb. 27 meeting and begin to make recommendations on revisions, as applicable.

The proposed rules address signs on Bainbridge Island, including the proliferation of sandwich boards.
Island Center workshop draws more than 100 participants
Thank you to everyone who participated in the Feb. 10 public workshop on the Island Center subarea planning process. More than 100 people attended the meeting with questions and comments on the future of this neighborhood center.

If you missed the meeting, you may view a video of the presentation and question/answer session on the project webpage. The presentation and open house boards can also be viewed on the project webpage.

The Island Center meeting will be shown on BKAT Tuesday, Feb. 18; Thursday, Feb. 20 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, Feb. 22 at 1 a.m. in place of the Feb. 18 City Council meeting that was canceled.

If you would like to comment on the Island Center materials or share your own ideas for Island Center, send an email to or attend an Island Center Subarea Planning Process Steering Committee meeting. Sign up on Notify Me to get committee meeting agendas and keep informed as the project progresses.

The steering committee will spend the spring refining preferred alternatives for transportation, open space and land uses in Island Center and integrating those alternatives into a draft subarea plan. The Draft Island Center Subarea Plan will then be forwarded (estimated for summer 2020) to the Planning Commission and City Council. The Council will consider final review and approval.
Upcoming Events & Meetings
Monday, Feb. 17:
City Hall is closed for Presidents Day.
Friday, Feb. 21:
Deadline to apply for Ethics Board .
Monday, Feb. 24:
Climate Change Advisory Committee special meeting; 6:30 p.m. at City Hall.
Tuesday, March 31:
Deadline to apply for Salary Commission.
IT Specialist retires after 28 years of service
Senior Information Technology Specialist Mary Carol Gulbranson retired last month with more than 28 years of service with the City of Bainbridge Island.

Mary Carol joined the City in 1991 as a part-time data entry clerk in the Finance Department. With the formation of the Information Technology group, Mary Carol provided key expertise in the development of a range of technological tools and systems, including the City’s first and subsequent websites, electronic records management systems and digital recording of public meetings. Mary Carol supported City staff, City Council and committee volunteers with a variety of help-desk needs, along with implementation of countless new technologies (and even more upgrades).

“When I joined the City last year, it was immediately evident to me that staff relied heavily on Mary Carol’s extensive knowledge and pleasant, patient approach to problem solving," said Information Technology Manager Melanie Dalton. "The City was fortunate to have such a dedicated, friendly and helpful employee. Mary Carol is missed and we wish her the best in her retirement."
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Contact Information

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