City Manager's Report
Dear Bainbridge Islanders,
On Bainbridge Island, this last week of August would typically mark the end of summer and a final stretch of freedom before the start of school. With the ongoing changes and disruptions due to COVID-19, this pivot may feel very different this year. Yet it still seems as if this week marks a time of turnover in some sense for many islanders.

Along with the resumption of online schooling in our district, next week will also bring the return of a two-ferry schedule for the WSDOT Seattle/Bainbridge route. Islanders will welcome this change after many months of reduced ferry service. But we are also probably noting that our roads and sidewalks are becoming busy again as residents and visitors continue to increase their levels of activity and travel.

In many ways, these are welcome signs of a return towards our community’s regular patterns and pastimes. Yet the news related to the outbreak in COVID-19 cases at St. Michael Medical Center in Bremerton is a sobering reminder that more activity needs to be coupled with an increased commitment to safe public health practices. Please continue to do what you can to practice and promote our best tools against increased community transmission: wear a mask in public, maintain social distancing, and wash hands frequently.

None of us knows exactly what the fall holds in store for our island, but we do know what steps we can take to help support prevention and safety.

Please see below for information on this week’s City Council meeting and upcoming agenda items.

Best wishes,

Morgan Smith
City Manager
COVID-19 Updates
State, local public health officials respond to COVID-19 outbreak at Bremerton hospital
Kitsap Public Health and the Washington State Department of Health are working with St. Michael Medical Center, formerly known as Harrison Medical Center, in Bremerton to contain an outbreak of COVID-19 at the hospital.

As of 4:30 p.m. Aug. 26, Kitsap Public Health reported 49 confirmed cases linked to the outbreak (33 staff, 16 patients). Testing and case investigations are ongoing and reported case numbers are preliminary.

Please see the latest updates from the Kitsap Public Health District on the outbreak here.
City agrees to use CARES funding to reimburse Park District expenses
The City Council this week approved allocating up to $91,000 to the Bainbridge Island Metro Park and Recreation District (BIMPRD) from the City’s allocation of CARES funding. BIMPRD is seeking reimbursement for costs incurred related to emergency operations requests and for other unplanned services BIMPRD provided for community support during the COVID-19 emergency.

In total, the City expects to receive roughly $736,000 in CARES Act funding, on the basis of a Washington State formula that provided each city with $30 per resident from the State’s federal CARES funding. Most Washington State cities include the recreation function within the city organization, and so in most communities the $30 per capita allocation is intended to support impacts to recreation services as well as other municipal operations. For this reason, the City of Bainbridge Island offered to consider reallocating a portion of the City’s CARES funding to support BIMPRD expenses, although the BIMPRD is a separate public agency.

Earlier this summer, the Council agreed to use one-third of the City’s CARES funds -- roughly $260,000 -- to support community partners. Helpline House received $60,000 from the City to expand its rental assistance support. In July, the Council awarded $20,000 for a “Save Our Stores” local marketing program launched by the Bainbridge Island Downtown Association (BIDA) and the Chamber of Commerce. The Council also approved reimbursement to BIDA for $5,000 in eligible COVID-19 expenses. With the approval of up to $91,000 to support BIMPRD expenses, the City will have $84,000 remaining to allocate to other community support activities.

On Sept. 15, the Council will hold a next discussion on options to support economic recovery efforts. This discussion will be led by the members of the Council Ad Hoc Committee on Economic Recovery (Mayor Leslie Schneider, Deputy Mayor Joe Deets, and Councilmember Kol Medina).

Previously, on July 28, the Ad Hoc Committee presented the Council with a report on steps the City could take to support the Bainbridge Island economy. The report provided a series of suggested actions, and identified key policy issues that affect island businesses, including options for businesses to make use of public right of way, the need to improve and expand broadband services, and concerns related to Winslow-area parking. The Sept. 15 discussion is expected to return to these topics and identify potential next steps.
Project Updates
Hearing Examiner approves Police-Court facility proposal
The Hearing Examiner has approved the City’s proposed Police Station and Municipal Court Facility Project, marking another milestone in the next phase of the project.

The City plans to renovate the former Harrison Medical Center Building, located at 8804 Madison Avenue N, to support the completion of a new Police-Court facility. The City finalized the purchase of the building in January.

A hearing was held Aug. 13 for Hearing Examiner Andrew Reeves to consider approval of a Site Plan/Design Review Major Adjustment and a Conditional Use Permit for the proposed project.

In his summary, Reeves included conditions for the project; most of the conditions were applied to the original development and now carry forward to the City project.

The Hearing Examiner’s decision will become final following a 21-day period to allow for any appeals.

The next steps for the project include: submitting a building permit application in the next few weeks, completion of design documents, and advertisement for construction bids later this year.

Read the Hearing Examiner’s summary here
City hosts virtual meeting to discuss sustainable transportation
Partnerships. Improved infrastructure. Trail work parties. These were among some of the "big ideas" community members shared during last week's Sustainable Transportation Plan (STP) virtual community meeting to improve the ways we get around the island.

The STP team hosted the online meeting Aug. 20 to provide an update on the Sustainable Transportation Plan project and give community members an opportunity to provide feedback and hear from other neighbors.

The Sustainable Transportation Plan will help us reach the City Council’s goal to reduce carbon emissions by 90% by 2045 and improve safety and mobility for all. The core areas of focus for the plan include:

  • The integration of land use and transportation
  • Using equity framework and analysis tools; and 
  • Focusing on feasibility and implementation.

There’s still time to provide your input on the future of island transportation through the project online open house. You can also share your transportation priorities and experiences, including how COVID-19 has changed the way you travel. The online open house will close Monday, Sept. 7 so please visit the website soon!

The STP team will compile the input from the community meeting and online open house, then analyze the information as part of the project's ongoing work.

The Sustainable Transportation Task Force, made up of a cross-section of the community, will hold a virtual meeting at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 25. Community members are invited to watch the meeting on Zoom (a link to the meeting will be provided on the project webpage).

Watch the Aug. 20 meeting here.
City Council Updates
City Council extends interim zoning control for Floor Area Ratio (FAR) density bonus options
The City Council this week held a public hearing on Ordinance 2020-20 to extend the interim zoning control that suspends density bonus options for an additional six months, or until March 10, 2021. The interim zoning control was originally passed on March 10, 2020 (Ordinance No. 2020-10). The extension will allow the Planning Commission to complete its recommendation and take a legislative amendment through the adoption process to amend the City’s Bonus FAR program.

The interim control paused the use of bonus Floor Area Ratio (which increases the amount of possible development) for some types of projects in some instances. The ordinance limits the options to pursue density bonus for affordable housing, including the purchase of bonus FAR from the Islander Mobile home park and for the preservation of historic structures.

The Planning Commission continued discussion on this topic during its Aug. 27 meeting. The Commission's current recommendation is to scale back the Bonus FAR program to apply only when constructing affordable housing or historic preservation. The Commission will continue to refine its recommendation at the Sept. 10 Planning Commission meeting.

The Commission will update the City Council about its recommendation and hold a briefing at the Sept.15 City Council meeting.
City Council approves Race Equity Task Force requests
The Race Equity Task Force (RETF) this week presented an update on its current activities and workplan progress to the City Council. As part of the briefing, the RETF requested Council approval for additional work on two projects: development of a proposal for “welcoming community” signage, and development of a proposal related to an “equity lens” for the City. The Council unanimously approved both requests. RETF members will work next to develop specific recommendations on each of these items for future consideration by the Council.

The RETF also provided the Council with a recommendation for the City to implement a standing advisory committee related to Race and Equity. As presented by the RETF, the purpose of this new advisory committee is “to provide informed recommendations to the City Council on matters of identifying the programmatic, community, and legislative options to address systemic and structural racism and bias within government and law enforcement.”

The Council unanimously approved the creation of the new advisory committee, and it will be formally implemented via Council approval of an ordinance to add the committee to the City’s Municipal Code. City staff will work with the RETF to draft the implementing ordinance, which will return to Council in the next few weeks for consideration of approval.

Councilmembers expressed their support for the work of the RETF members on these items and other initiatives. "This is a significant milestone," Deputy Mayor Joe Deets said referring to the approval of the RETF items.

The RETF was created in 2019 and members have worked since that time to develop recommendations to the City Council on ways in which the City can help Bainbridge Island become a more inclusive and responsive community when it comes to addressing racial inequities.

Following the RETF presentation, the Council also approved the appointment of two new members to fill vacant positions on the RETF. However, one of the appointees subsequently notified the City that they would not be available to serve as planned. As a result, one RETF position remains vacant at this time. The Council will discuss the process to fill the remaining vacancy at the Council’s study session on Sept. 1.
Upcoming City Council agenda
Below are some of the topics scheduled for the Sept. 1 City Council meeting.

  • Green Building Task Force update
  • Update on the Development Moratorium
  • Update on virtual Police Town Hall
  • Review draft profile for City Manager search
  • Update from joint City Council & Planning Commission land use subcommittee
  • Shoreline Master Program Periodic Review public participation program and workplan update
  • Discuss process to fill Race Equity Task Force vacancy

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).
  • You can also watch the meetings on BKAT (Channel 12 on Comcast & Channel 3 on WAVE).
City Advisory Group Updates
Green Building Task Force to present recommendations
The Green Building Task Force next week will present to City Council recommendations for an interim green building program, and staff will seek Council’s direction on an ordinance that would establish permanent rules.

On June 16, the City Council directed the Green Building Task Force to recommend an interim "off-the-shelf" green building program (or components of a program) to be implemented before the current development moratorium expires on Oct. 3, 2020. The program will help with the City’s greenhouse gas emission reduction goals while a full program is developed.

Information on the Green Building Task Force recommendations will be available in the Sept. 1 City Council agenda packet when it’s published later today.
Other Updates
Wastewater Treatment Plant operators recognized for top performance
For the sixth year in a row, the City's Wastewater Treatment Plant operators have earned the Washington Department of Ecology’s outstanding performance award.

The City’s Wastewater Treatment Plant is among 125 plants out of 300 statewide to earn this recognition for full compliance with the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit.

Department of Ecology staff evaluates wastewater treatment plants for compliance with the effluent limits, monitoring and reporting requirements, spill prevention planning, pretreatment, and overall operational demands of the NPDES permit.

Thank you to our WWTP team for their hard work and dedication to protect our water quality -- 24 hours a day, 365 days a year!

Learn more about the award here.

Pictured from left to right: Doug Otte, Shane Cooper, Ralph Scott, and Ted Lyon
(not pictured Delbert Frantz)
Two-boat ferry service on SEA/BI route returns this Sunday
The Seattle/Bainbridge route will be restored to daily two-boat service beginning this Sunday, Aug. 30. The route has been operating on a reduced schedule since the spring as a result of COVID-19.

Get Washington State Ferries updates here.
Enforcement of bag ordinance begins next week
Enforcement of the City's single-use plastic bag ordinance will resume Sept. 1 following approval by the City Council earlier this month.

The ordinance was paused in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as there were public health concerns around the use of reusable shopping bags and paper bags were difficult for retailers to acquire.

The City implemented the plastic bag ban in 2012 to reduce pollution created by the product and help the environment.

When ordering packaging, local businesses selling food should also keep in the mind the requirements of Chapter 8.24 BIMC, which requires the use of biodegradable packaging when selling or conveying food directly to ultimate consumers within the City.
Important Dates
Friday, Aug. 28: Deadline to submit proposal for City Dock small boat concessionaire. Learn more here.
Monday, Sept. 7: City Hall closed for Labor Day.
Saturday, Sept. 26: Save the date for Day of Preparedness; 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Zoom.
Wednesday, Sept. 30: Deadline to submit responses in Comcast cable TV franchise renewal survey. Learn more here.
Stay Connected
Contact Information

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