City Manager's Report
Bainbridge Islanders,
As the City enters 2021, staff are working on a wide range of topics, some long-standing projects and other emerging issues. Front and center for many is the City’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to operating our own testing site, the City has taken a leadership role in supporting the vaccine distribution in our community and is working to support the Bainbridge Island School District as they prepare to have students back in the classroom. The backdrop and new work of COVID response and adjusting our service delivery continues into 2021.

At the same time, the City continues many high priority capital project and operating initiatives. The safety improvement project on Wyatt Way has faced some challenges, in particular recently from the extraordinarily wet weather, but new sidewalks are in use and traffic is able to use the new intersection at Wyatt Way and Grow Avenue. Work on this project will continue in the first quarter of the year to the east and the installation of a mini-roundabout at the intersection of Wyatt Way and Madison Avenue. Community task forces are supporting ongoing policy work related to Green Building and Sustainable Transportation. And, Council recently provided guidance related to establishing a Multifamily Housing Tax Exemption program for Bainbridge Island.

The City Council held its first meeting of the year earlier this week, using the Zoom platform that many of us had not heard of this time last year but which is now part of many City meetings. At the Council meeting, the Council welcomed its newest member, Brenda Fantroy-Johnson, to her first meeting. The Council also selected a mayor for 2021, Rasham Nassar, and a deputy mayor for the first half of the year, Kirsten Hytopoulos. In addition, Council received updates on ongoing land use issues and reviewed the Council liaison assignments to regional and local committees. Watch the Council meeting here.

The Council also hosted a community open house on Thursday, Jan. 7 with the three finalists for the City Manager position. There is more information below about the open house and how to provide your feedback to the Council. I hope you take time to do so and add your voice to this important process.

For more information on some of next week's topics and other items, please see below.

Best wishes,

Ellen Schroer
Interim City Manager
COVID-19 Updates
State releases next phase of vaccine prioritization
The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) this week released guidance for the next phase of COVID-19 vaccination. The department worked closely with the Governor’s Office to finalize prioritization for phase 1B, which includes people 70 years or old and those 50 years or older in multigenerational households.

In addition to partnership with Gov. Inslee and reliance on federal guidance, nearly 20,000 people across the state weighed in on the prioritization through focus groups, interviews, and surveys over the past few months. This feedback directly informed DOH's recommendations for COVID-19 vaccine prioritization and allocation, and continues to help DOH make sure vaccine plans are equitable and protect those most at risk from COVID-19 infections.

Click here to view the graphic that shows the groups and the timeline for phase 1B.

Additional details of phase 1B will be posted on the DOH website.

According to DOH, we are not moving into phase 1B right now. Our state is still in phase 1A of vaccinations, and will continue to be for the next few weeks. Many pharmacies, clinics and hospitals are vaccinating people in 1A1 (tier 1), and others have moved to 1A2 (tier 2). Once we’re ready to start phase 1B, DOH will let communities know how and where to get vaccine.

DOH created a website to allow people to check for vaccine eligibility at Currently, this tool will only determine if you are eligible for the vaccine right now as the initial part of Phase 1. In the coming weeks as plans for future phases are confirmed, this tool will allow people to determine which future phase they fall.

On Jan. 6, state health officials provided an update on COVID-19 vaccine rollout. Watch here.
City assists with vaccine distribution efforts
The City's Emergency Management Coordinator Anne LeSage, in partnership with Bainbridge Prepares and the Bainbridge Island Fire Department, is supporting Bainbridge Island Community Pharmacy with vaccine distribution efforts. We have activated our Medical Reserve Corps, Community Emergency Response Team, Bainbridge Island Emergency Medical Responders, and other emergency management volunteers to assist in this effort.

A few highlights:
  • Initial doses of the Moderna vaccine were provided to 307 Priority 1A participants the week of Dec. 21
  • An additional 500 doses of the Moderna vaccine are being distributed this week to priority 1A participants
  • Priority 1A participants fall into one of four categories:
  • healthcare workers,
  • high risk first responders,
  • residents and staff of long term care facilities, and
  • people working at COVID test sites and vaccine clinics.

Additional updates will be provided to the Council and the community as vaccine distribution continues. Please visit the City's COVID-19 page for the latest updates on the City's response.

The Kitsap Public Health District is coordinating the overall County effort with local healthcare providers on the dissemination of the COVID vaccine to Priority 1A providers.
Additional information is available on the KPHD website.
Inslee announces “Healthy Washington — Roadmap to Recovery”
Gov. Jay Inslee this week announced “Healthy Washington—Roadmap to Recovery,” a COVID-19 phased recovery plan.

Beginning next Monday, Jan. 11, the state will follow a regional recovery approach with every region beginning in Phase 1.

The regions are mostly based on Emergency Medical Services (EMS) regions used for evaluating healthcare services. There are eight regions of four or more counties, divided according to available healthcare services based on metrics such as hospitalizations, case data and disease mobility. Kitsap County is in the Northwest region, along with Clallam, Jefferson, and Mason counties.

A region’s phase will be determined by the Department of Health (DOH) in response to four metric requirements. The final metrics for regions will be calculated on Jan. 8 and will be effective Jan. 11.

To go forward from Phase 1 to Phase 2, regions must meet all four metrics:
  • Decreasing trend in two-week rate of COVID-19 cases per 100K population (decrease >10%)
  • Decreasing trend in two-week rate new COVID-19 hospital admission rates per 100K population (decrease >10%)
  • ICU occupancy (total — COVID-19 and non-COVID-19) of less than 90%
  • COVID-19 test positivity rate of <10%

Read the full details of the recovery plan here.
City's COVID-19 test site to be closed Jan. 18
The City's drive-thru COVID-19 test site will be closed Monday, Jan. 18 for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

As of Jan. 4, the City's site has tested 972 people and there were 11 positive test results.

On Tuesday, Jan. 26, staff will present an update to the City Council on the City's response to COVID-19 and drive-thru COVID-19 test site. You may watch the briefing the following ways:

  • Zoom (link will be available in the Jan. 26 City Council agenda)
  • City website livestream (visit the Agendas & Minutes page, then click on "In Progress" when the meeting starts)
  • BKAT: Channel 12 on Comcast & Channel 3 on WAVE
Gov. Inslee delays implementation of single-use plastic bag law
Gov. Jay Inslee issued a proclamation on Dec. 18 delaying implementation of a single-use plastic bag law.

The law, passed by the Legislature in 2020, was set to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2021, relating to a statewide prohibition on retailers’ issuance of single-use plastic bags.

The governor is delaying the new law's implementation due to supply issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which are affecting their ability to procure the alternative bags, including:

  • Increased demand for paper and thicker plastic bags, due to increased demand for takeout and groceries;
  • Retailers asking customers not to bring bags from home, to protect workers; and
  • Thicker plastic bag manufacturers transitioning their facilities to manufacture hospital gowns and other PPE.

This order will expire at 11:59 p.m. on Jan. 30, 2021 unless further extended by the Legislature.

Read the full proclamation here.
Project Updates
Staff to provide briefing next week on wastewater treatment plant discharge
Public Works Director Chris Wierzbicki will provide a briefing to the City Council at next week's Jan. 12 business meeting following a discharge at the City's Wastewater Treatment Plant last weekend due to heavy rains.

At approximately 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 2 to 12:30 a.m. on Sunday, Jan. 3, approximately 250,000 gallons of partially treated effluent was discharged from the City’s Wastewater Treatment Plant outfall into the Puget Sound, east of Wing Point. The discharge occurred due to heavy rainfall that exceeded the plant’s capability to fully treat the wastewater. An on-call staff technician became aware of the incident through an alarm on the system. City staff stopped the discharge by reconfiguring the plant to increase capacity. The City immediately notified the Kitsap Public Health District about the discharge.

The Health District issued a no-contact advisory for the Eagle Harbor area that is set to expire today (Jan. 8).

During a no-contact advisory, the public is advised to avoid contact with water in the affected area. The Health District recommends against swimming, wading, or types of water recreation that could cause water to be swallowed or get into the mouth, nose or eyes. People should also avoid direct skin contact if possible, and immediately wash with soap and clean water if they have exposure to the water.

The public is advised to not harvest shellfish in the affected area during the no-contact advisory. All existing shellfish advisories remain in effect. Go to for details.

Staff next week will provide the Council with an overview of the conditions and decision-making that led to the discharge, and corrective actions that will be taken to prevent such a discharge in the future.
Update on Wyatt Way safety improvement project
The wet weather the last couple weeks has slowed progress on the Wyatt Way Reconstruction project, but we are hopeful the contractor will complete the storm drainage improvements near the Wyatt Way-Madison Avenue intersection by the end of next week.

The decision to start the demolition of streets and sidewalks for construction of the new facilities, including the roundabout, is centered on the upcoming weather forecast and the ability to maintain proper erosion control measures.

The current project schedule still proposes that the project will be substantially complete in March.

Wyatt Way will likely remain open in both directions through next week, and any forthcoming revisions to the detour routes will be communicated as far in advance as possible.

Upper Grow Avenue remains closed while the staff work through the design and implementation of traffic calming measures, which will be implemented later this month in a phased approach along the entire corridor from Winslow Way to High School Road.

Get project updates here.
Committee members to host sustainable transportation sessions
A subcommittee of Sustainable Transportation Task Force members, led by Susan Loftus, is preparing a series of educational sessions to provide members of the City's Task Force, Technical Advisory Team, and City Council with more detailed information and opportunity for discussion about a number of sustainable transportation topics. These will be virtual webinars that are open to the public but targeted to help the Task Force with its continuing work. These sessions will be valuable as the project team will soon identify future projects, policies and programs and begin to evaluate and prioritize those items. The sessions are scheduled as follows:

Session 1: Overview of Sustainable Transportation - 120 mins
Fri, Jan 15 at 9 a.m.
  • Basic principles of a sustainable transportation system
  • The synergistic effect of sustainable transportation mode choices
  • What does it take to achieve our bold Climate Action Plan goals?

Session 2: Applying Basic Principles to Bainbridge Island and Our Plan Goals - 90 mins 
Fri, Jan 22 at 9 a.m.
  • Equity specific issues (gender, age, income and race)
  • Rural character of the island in relation to sustainable transportation
  • All Ages and Abilities networks
  • E-bikes 

Session 3: Shared Mobility/ Micro transit - 90 mins
Fri, Feb 5 time TBD
  • Interconnection of modes to create a strong, resilient system
  • Shared e-mobility
  • Micro Transit
  • Emerging technologies

Session 4: Successful Sustainable Transportation Systems in North America and World-Wide - 90 mins
Fri, Feb 12 at 9 a.m.
  • Culture shifting away from car dominance
  • Supportive policies
  • Examples of successfully dealing with challenges similar to ours; hills, rain, dark winters

The Zoom links for the sessions will be posted on the Sustainable Transportation Plan project page.
Learn about the Climate Action Plan in an online presentation
Members of the Climate Change Advisory Committee (CCAC) will host the first of two online presentations next Wednesday, Jan. 13 on the Climate Action Plan (CAP) to help the City and community begin implementation of the plan.

The CAP, unanimously approved by the City Council on Nov. 10, includes more than 180 actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prepare our community for the impacts of climate change.

The online event will be held Wednesday, Jan. 13 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. and a second online event will be held 10 to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 23.

CCAC members will give presentations on the plan, answer questions on the CAP and discuss next steps.

How to participate

The Council identified implementation of the CAP as its highest priority item for the 2021-2022 budget. Read the CAP here.
City Council Updates
Council appoints new Mayor, Deputy Mayor
The City Council this week appointed Rasham Nassar to serve as Mayor. Nassar will serve a one-year term, replacing Leslie Schneider who announced in December that she would not be serving the second year of her two-year term.

"I would be honored to serve and I would do my absolute best to treat the role with utmost respect," said Nassar prior to the appointment.

"We, as a Council, have an opportunity to kick off '21 and to get a lot of really great work done and I would be so thrilled and so happy to invest 100% of my time to make sure that the Council's work in '21 is the community's work and that we get as much done that is of interest to the community as possible."
The Council appointed Councilmember Kirsten Hytopoulos to serve as Deputy Mayor for a six-month term, ending June 30.

Under the council-manager form of government, the seven members of the City Council choose a chair among themselves to serve a two-year term. The chair has the title of Mayor and presides at Council business meetings. He or she also continues to have all the rights, privileges, and immunities of a member of the Council. The Mayor is recognized as the head of the City for ceremonial purposes.

The City Council also selects a Mayor pro tem (Deputy Mayor), to serve in the absence or temporary disability of the mayor. The Mayor pro tem presides over City Council study sessions.
Council adds new tree retention requirements for small lots to staff workplan
The City Council this week held their second discussion on small lots and potential regulatory options for tree retention. Following discussion, the Council directed staff to add small lots to the Planning Department's workplan for 2021.

A permitted tree clearing last year near the Fairy Dell Trail and Olympic View Drive in the Battle Point neighborhood prompted concerns from some community members, and now the City Council is considering new tree retention requirements for lots less than 12,500 square feet in the R-0.4, R-1, and R-2 zoning districts to address the clearing of entire lots.

Currently, lots in the R-0.4, R-1, and R-2 zoning districts that are 12,500 square feet or less have no tree retention regulations.

Watch the Jan. 5 discussion here.
Council to consider approval of trails agreement with Park District
The City Council next week will consider approval of an Interlocal Agreement with the Bainbridge Island Metro Park & Recreation District (Parks). The agreement provides a process for each organization to request services from the other regarding trails. For example, it would allow Parks to construct and maintain trails on City property and rights of way, or allow the City to mow roadsides and clean catch basins within Parks properties.

The goal is to better serve island residents by appropriately allocating resources from each agency based on a shared vision and language.

Staff initially presented this proposal to the Council in January 2020.
Council to consider adoption of building code amendment that would allow tiny houses
The City Council next week will consider adoption of an amendment to the City’s Municipal Code that would allow tiny houses without wheels as a permitted use on Bainbridge Island.

The building code update is part of a larger state effort. Every three years, the International Code Council (ICC) publishes new I-Codes to be adopted in many state and local jurisdictions. The 2018 I-codes were supposed to be adopted in July 2020, but the action was postponed to Feb. 1, 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The main objective of the I-codes is to offer protection of life/ safety to all people and property.

For the first time, the updated building codes include specific requirements for tiny houses. In 2019, the Washington State legislature approved State Senate Bill 5383, which directed the State Building Council to adopt standards specific to tiny houses. The new Washington state codes have a specific section, Appendix Q, with a focus on tiny house construction and how tiny houses are to be regulated to offer protection of life. A tiny house is a dwelling unit that is 400 square feet or less in floor area.

The state legislation allows the City to amend its building code to allow tiny houses as a primary or accessory dwelling unit without wheels. The state's building code allows tiny houses with or without wheels, but the City's zoning code would not allow a tiny home on wheels.

A permit is required to build a tiny home without wheels and will be reviewed the same way that staff would look at a regular size home. Tiny homes can be built in any zoning districts that allow single-family residential as a permitted use. People may begin submitting permits on Feb. 2.
Upcoming City Council agenda
Below are some of the topics to be discussed during the Jan. 12 City Council meeting.

  • Proclamation honoring Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • Discussion on the City-BI Metro Park & Recreation District Interlocal Agreement
  • Update on Wastewater Treatment Plant and sewer situation
  • Discussion to consider whether to pursue allowing the use of City property for food trucks
  • Council to consider adoption of building code update

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

Ways to Watch
  • Zoom
  • City website livestream (visit the Agendas & Minutes page, then click on "In Progress" when the meeting starts)
  • BKAT (Channel 12 on Comcast & Channel 3 on WAVE)
City Advisory Group Updates
Upcoming Planning Commission meeting
The Planning Commission will meet at 6 p.m. next Thursday, Jan. 14 on Zoom. The topics will include:
  • Appointment of Chair and Co-Chair
  • Discussion on Multifamily Tax Exemption program 
  • Update on Triage Phase II Code Changes to the Pre-application review process

The agenda will be posted on the Agendas & Minutes page after it is published.
Other updates
City hosts City Manager finalists open house
The City Council hosted an online open house on Thursday evening to give the community an opportunity to learn more about the City Manager finalists.

If you missed the open house, the video link is available on the City's website.

The Council invites community members to submit email feedback about the strengths, weaknesses and areas for follow up. Emails may be sent to individual council members or to the general Council email at

It's expected that the City Council will make a final selection this month.

The finalists, selected from a pool of 66 applications, listed in alphabetical order by last name, are:
Keith Campbell, who is the City Manager of Stayton, Oregon and has served in this role since 2014. He has 14 years of local government experience. He previously served as the City Clerk for the City of Shawnee, Kansas from 2010 to 2014 and the Deputy County Clerk of Douglas County, Kansas from 2006 to 2010. Campbell holds a Master of Public Administration and a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in psychology from the University of Kansas.
Blair King, who is the City Manager of Coronado, California and has served in this role since 2010. He has 36 years of local government experience, which includes 25 years as a City Manager at cities throughout California. Blair holds a Master of Public Administration and bachelor’s degree from California State University, Fresno.
Anthony Williams, who is the Mayor of Abilene, Texas, a position he was elected to in 2017. He is the Advancement & Executive Community Relations Officer at Abilene Christian University, where he has worked for 23 years in various positions that include Chief Business Services Officer from 2010 to 2017, Director of Retail Operations from 2000 to 2010 and Bookstore Manager from 1997 to 2000. He holds a bachelor’s degree in education from McMurry University.
COBI Connects resumes publication
We hope you received the January 2021 COBI Connects last week in your mailbox! The online version is now posted on the City website.

If you have a mailing address on Bainbridge Island and did not receive the newsletter, please let us know at
Important Dates
Wednesday, Jan. 13: Climate Action Plan presentation; 5:30 p.m. on Zoom
Thursday, Jan. 14: Planning Commission meeting; 6 p.m. on Zoom
Monday, Jan. 18: City offices closed for Martin Luther King Jr. Day; COVID-19 test site closed
Wednesday, Jan. 20: Island Center Subarea Planning Process Steering Committee meeting; 6:30 p.m. on Zoom
Saturday, Jan. 23: Climate Action Plan presentation; 10 a.m. on Zoom
Thursday, Jan. 28: Planning Commission meeting; 6 p.m. on Zoom; Public participation meeting on Wintergreen Townhomes project proposal
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Contact Information

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