City Manager's Report
Bainbridge Islanders,
This week at the City, the launch of the new community COVID testing site continued to be a point of focus, as City staff and dozens of Bainbridge Island volunteers work hard to establish a mode of operations that is both sustainable and safe. The goal of this ambitious and complex effort is to expand our local testing capacity in order to support safer reopening activities for island businesses, schools, and residents.  

This work takes place against the backdrop of rapid increases in positive COVID test numbers locally, regionally, and nationally. Because increased levels of transmission may lead to increases in serious illness and hospitalization, it is critical that our community do everything possible to push back against these trends to help preserve our medical resources, and thereby maintain the capacity in our health care system for those with critical needs, due to COVID or other serious conditions. 

Please do what you can to support your neighbors and community in this mutual effort. This includes first and foremost the continued commitment to face coverings and social distancing, both of which have demonstrated and significant effects on slowing the rate of transmission. Also important is to be aware of when testing is important, and what available resources are best suited to your situation. The City’s community testing site is one option that is designed to supplement the other options that are available from a range of providers. We will continue to work to provide the community with education and information on how best to seek the testing services you need, so that our network of local resources can work in an effective and coordinated way.  Thank you for your support in this important and ongoing process.

This week, the Council business meeting included a recognition for outgoing North Ward Councilmember Kol Medina, a proclamation to honor Veterans Day, deliberations on the next biennial budget, plans for the process the Council will use to review finalists for the City Manager position, approval of the Climate Action Plan, and approval of the goals for the City’s Sustainable Transportation Plan.

Next week, the Council will hold a Special Meeting on Nov. 16 related to their review of candidates for the City Manager position. The Council will also hold a study session on Nov. 17, with a range of topics including the decision framework for the Sustainable Transportation Plan, the Planning Commission’s recommendation on changes to Floor Area Ratio rules, and consideration of final approval for the 2021-2026 Capital Improvement Plan.

For more information about these issues and other items of interest, please see below.

Best wishes,

Morgan Smith
City Manager
COVID-19 Updates
Update on City's COVID-19 testing site
The Bainbridge Island Community Based Testing Site is up and running at the Town Square. Appointments are now limited to four weeks out for booking.

Not everyone needs to get tested. You should schedule a test if you have COVID symptoms, were a close contact to someone with COVID or had some other worrisome exposure, need a negative test to return to work or school, or recently traveled to an area with a high case rate.

The City testing site should not be used for pre-travel clearance and is not an approved site for travel to Hawaii. Additional information on the testing site is available here.
Public health officials: 'Increase in COVID-19 activity statewide extremely concerning as holiday season nears

On. Nov. 10, Washington State Department of Health (DOH) released the latest statewide situation report on COVID-19 transmission, which shows disease transmission is happening at an accelerated pace across the entire state.  

Report findings include:
  • Disease is spreading rapidly across Washington. The best estimates of the reproductive number (how many new people each COVID-19 patient will infect) are 1.29 in western Washington and 1.36 in eastern Washington as of October 30. The goal is a number well below one, which would mean COVID-19 transmission is declining.
  • From mid to late-October, case counts and hospitalizations have increased in both western and eastern Washington. Although some of the increase in cases through early October is related to increased testing volumes, more recent case counts in both eastern and western Washington have increased, despite testing volumes being flat.
  • Hospitalizations will continue to rise in western Washington even if cases start to plateau. Hospital admissions in western Washington have been increasing since the start of October. Because patients may stay in the hospital for up to several weeks, hospital occupancy will continue to rise for some time after hospital admissions level off.

Read the full update here.

“We all need to do our part to flatten the curve,” State Health Officer Dr. Kathy Lofy said during a Nov. 10 telebriefing to provide an update on the state's ongoing response to COVID-19.

Lofy is calling on Washingtonians to stop socializing for the next several weeks to slow the spread of COVID-19. If people do need to socialize, Lofy says to limit your social contacts to no more than five people outside your household per week.

“I’m particularly concerned at this point about a surge in hospitalizations that could put huge strain on our hospitals and overwhelm their capacity. We’re at the point that if we cannot change the current trajectory of disease by changing our behaviors we’ll need to take actions that will hurt our economy -- and no one wants to do that again," Lofy said.

Watch the telebriefing here.
Contact tracing helps slow spread of COVID-19
Please see the message below from Kitsap County's Nov. 9 COVID-19 update.

Public health professionals perform case investigations and contact tracing to help slow and prevent the spread of infectious diseases like COVID-19. Contact tracing is one of the best tools we have to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community and prevent more people from getting sick.

When Kitsap Public Health is notified of a positive COVID-19 case in our community, they interview the case and learn about the people they interacted closely with during the time they were contagious. "Close contacts" are advised to quarantine (stay home and away from others) for 14 days from their last contact with the case. It is also recommended that close contacts get tested for COVID-19. This process can greatly reduce the potential for COVID-19 being passed from one person to another.

If you get a call from Kitsap Public Health, please respond!

Learn more about case investigations and contact tracing from the Washington State Department of Health.
Biennial Budget
Council Approves Additional Budget Changes
During this week's Nov. 10 budget workshop, the Council affirmed majority support for three additional adjustments to the 2021-22 biennial budget.
  • Grow Avenue: Remove the Grow Avenue traffic calming project from the 2021-26 Capital Improvement Plan. The Council directed the City Manager to bring this project back for discussion along with the traffic calming program in 2021.

  • Springbrook Fish Weir – Added Springbrook Fish Weir project to the CIP in 2023 as follows: $100,000 from the General Fund, $100,000 from the SSWM Fund, and $1,000,000 grant supported.

  • Winslow Master Plan: Reduced funding for the Island Center Subarea Plan implementation from $30,000 to $10,000 and removed the funding for the Comprehensive Plan update of $25,000 and redirected that funding to the Winslow Master Plan update for a total of $45,000.

The final adopted budget ordinance is scheduled for the Council to consider approval on November 24.

Also this week:
  • The public had an opportunity to comment on the 2021-2022 budget during the second of two public hearings on the budget.

  • The 2021 final Property tax ordinance was passed that will increase property taxes by 1% over 2020. This is the maximum allowed by State law and reflects roughly a $4 increase over 2020 on a median assessed home of $787,000. Property taxes account for more than 40% of General Fund revenues and represent the single largest funding source for the City.

On November 17, the Council will consider approval of the 2021-26 Capital Improvement Plan. Approval of this set of spending decisions is typically finalized ahead of the approval of the final budget, in order to facilitate the final version of the budget ordinance and accompanying documentation.
Project Updates
City to host Nov. 18 Zoom meeting to discuss Comcast Cable TV services
We’re seeking input on the cable television services provided by Comcast on Bainbridge Island, as part of a franchise agreement renewal process. If you are a City resident or the owner of a business located on Bainbridge Island, please join us for a Zoom meeting Wednesday, Nov. 18 at 6 p.m. to share your thoughts.

The purpose of the Nov. 18 meeting is to hear the community’s views on the cable television service they receive from Comcast to help the City understand the needs of the community as the City reviews Comcast’s franchise agreement.

The Nov. 18 Zoom meeting will include a presentation from the City’s consultant team, River Oaks Communications Corporation, on current cable communications policies and the Cable TV franchise renewal process.

How to watch and participate:
  • Zoom (Webinar ID: 933 8986 1901): 
  • To join the meeting on Zoom and participate in the discussion, please click this link (registration is not required): 
  • Join by telephone: Dial +1 253-215-8782

For more information on the franchise agreement and the renewal process, please visit the City’s Comcast Cable TV Franchise Agreement webpage.
Update on Sustainable Transportation Plan
At the November 10 business meeting, the City Council approved the Goals and Objectives for the Sustainable Transportation Plan (STP), including a primary goal of reducing 90% of transportation-related carbon emissions on the Island by 2045. A link the details can be found here. The Goals and Objectives will inform the next steps in the process, including helping to prioritize sustainable transportation projects and programs that will be identified and discussed with the project’s community Task Force over the next several months.

The next Council briefing on the STP will be November 17th, when the Council will hear a brief overview of the decision-making framework that is proposed for sorting and prioritizing projects and programs according to the Council’s goals. Once the Council has agreed on the overall direction of the framework, the Task Force will be digging into the details and making recommendations to the project team and Council about the final form and process for using the framework going forward.

City Council Updates
Recognition of service for Councilmember Kol Medina
The Nov. 10 Council meeting included a recognition of service for outgoing North Ward Councilmember Kol Medina.

Medina resigned his City Council seat to take the position of President of the Blue Mountain Community Foundation in Walla Walla, where he spent his childhood.

Medina was elected in 2015 and re-elected in 2019. He served a two-year term as Mayor during 2018-19 and was the Council's liaison to numerous regional organizations and agencies.
Application process for City Council North Ward vacancy
Residents interested in applying for the City Council North Ward vacancy have until 4 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 25 to submit an application.

Applicants must have lived in the City of Bainbridge Island for at least one year prior to Council appointment, must currently live in the North Ward, and be registered to vote. Click here to view the ward map on the City’s website to confirm your residence is in the North Ward.

The term of the vacated position will begin once a qualified candidate is appointed by a majority vote of the Council. The appointed Councilmember will hold office until a person is elected to the position at the next general municipal election, in November 2021, and after the results of that election have been certified.

Applications are due to the City Clerk by 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 25. Application forms are available on the City’s website at

Click here for more information about the vacancy.

At the Nov. 10 business meeting, the City Council confirmed the process they will use to review applicants and to appoint the new councilmember. The Council also adjusted the review schedule to allow the new councilmember to be sworn in the week of Dec. 7. This will facilitate the ability for the new councilmember to participate in the City Council's review of final candidates for the City Manager position, which is currently expected to begin in mid-December.
Update on City Manager search process
This week, the City Council discussed the next steps in the City Manager search process with a consultant from SGR, the search firm which is leading a national search process for the City. The Council has identified a group of semifinalists and will invite finalists to participate in an interview process in December. At the meeting on November 10, the Council decided to make a determination about the components of the finalist review process at a special meeting to be held on November 16.

City Council approves Climate Action Plan
At the meeting on November 10, the City Council approved a Climate Action Plan (CAP) for the City of Bainbridge Island. The CAP was developed by the Climate Change Advisory Committee, a Council advisory group comprised of community volunteers, combining input from a greenhouse gas emissions inventory completed in 2019, community feedback, and expertise from the committee. 

Council adopted a CAP with over 170 recommended actions, and a list of roughly 20 immediate actions identified for priority attention. Next steps will be to develop specific workplans and schedules for the first priority activities, to be launched in early 2021.

Planning Commission recommendations on Floor Area Ratio
At the Council's November 17 study session, the Planning Commission will present draft Ordinance No. 2020-16 to remove all bonus Floor Area Ratio (FAR) provisions of BIMC 18.12.030.E except those related to affordable housing and relocating surface ferry parking under a building or below ground. The Planning Commission is also recommending retaining the FAR provisions related to preserving historic buildings but relocating them to other sections of the Code and deleting the provisions for earning Bonus FAR through a Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) program until its TDR program is updated.

The purpose of the Council briefing is to receive City Council input prior to the Planning Commission holding a public hearing and completing their recommendation on the Ordinance. After which, the City Council will receive the results of the Planning Commission review and the Council will consider final adoption.

The Planning Commission is recommending that the Ordinance is an interim measure to undertake while the City Council, the Planning Commission and Planning Staff address broader revisions to the zoning code, including base FAR and whether to replace it with other measures such as form-based zoning. Once that broader work is completed, it is likely that Ordinance No. 2020-16 will be revised.

The Planning Commission began their work on this draft ordinance in March 2020 following a City Council motion that the City Manager work with the Planning Commission and appropriate City Committees or Commissions to bring back to Council as quickly as possible an Ordinance that will reform the City’s bonus FAR programs so as to only allow bonus FAR in relation to Affordable Housing, Historic Preservation and Transfer of Development Rights.

This recommendation is an element of the work program for the Ordinance 2020-20, which extended the interim zoning control that suspended density bonus options until March 10, 2021. The interim zoning control was originally passed on March 10, 2020 (Ordinance No. 2020-10). 

This interim control pauses the use of bonus FAR 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.
Upcoming City Council agenda
Below are some of the topics to be discussed during the Nov. 17 City Council meeting.

  • Budget discussion (Capital Improvement Plan)
  • Sustainable Transportation Plan update 
  • Update and next steps for Green Building Code
  • Consider Planning Commission recommendations prior to scheduling a public hearing on bonus floor area ratio
  • Update from joint City Council and Planning Commission Land Use Subcommittee 
  • Council direction to Design Review Board on flexibility for Affordable Housing Projects 
  • Options for land use regulations related to the Triangle Property and specific standards for composting facilities
  • Proposal from Chamber of Commerce for $15,000 funding to support website for local businesses

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).
Councilmember Deets to host virtual office hours
Councilmember Joe Deets will host virtual office hours 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. this Saturday, Nov. 14

Get the details for the Zoom meeting here.
City Advisory Group Updates
Planning Commission to hold public participation meeting on Wintergreen Townhomes project proposal
The Planning Commission will hold a public participation meeting at 6 p.m. on Nov. 19 to provide an opportunity for the community to learn about the Wintergreen Townhomes proposal, a 74-townhome long subdivision proposal that incorporates affordable housing (as defined in the Municipal Code) on two lots totaling 2.94 acres. The project site is located at 1332 Wintergreen Lane.

The applicant is in the process of slightly modifying the proposal in response to comments from the Design Review Board’s Design Guidance meeting on Nov. 2. Learn more about the project proposal here.

Members of the public who wish to participate in the public participation meeting, can join via Zoom. Instructions will be included in the agenda when it's published.
Other Updates
PSE reliability improvement project on NE Hidden Cove Rd.
Puget Sound Energy is upgrading the electric system along Northeast Hidden Cove Road to improve safety and electric reliability. The upgrades include replacing several aging utility poles, as well as replacing the existing electric wire with tree wire, where feasible. By installing tree wire in other locations, PSE has reduced power outages related to falling tree branches by up to 90 percent. The project also includes a new section of underground cable along a segment of Northeast Hidden Cove Road.

The work is expected to last from mid-November through early 2021. Please visit the project webpage to learn more. 

New public art sculptures installed in downtown
The latest outdoor sculptures in the Something New III public art program have been installed in downtown.
The Public Art Committee (PAC) selected the following sculptures:
  • Reflection by Abe Singer (placed outside of City Hall at the Henshaw Street entrance)
  • Shape of Memory by Fumi Amano (placed in the South Madison Plaza overlooking the marina - just outside of Doc's Marina Grill)
  • Fossil III by Lin McJunkin and Milo White (placed in front of Town & Country Market on Winslow Way)

The Something New program provides both a dynamic public art experience and an ongoing opportunity for sculptors from around the Pacific Northwest to exhibit their work.
Every year, the project brings a collection of sculptures on loan to outdoor sites located around Winslow. The infrastructure at each site is permanent. However, the artwork on display is not. After each yearlong exhibition, new art is selected and rotated into place, bringing “something new” to Bainbridge Island year after year.
Important Dates
Monday, Nov. 16: Design Review Board special meeting; 2 p.m.; Zoom
Monday, Nov. 16: Ethics Board; 6:30; Zoom
Wednesday, Nov. 18: Comcast Franchise Agreement Community Meeting; 6 p.m.; Zoom
Wednesday, Nov. 18: Climate Change Advisory Committee meeting; 6:30 p.m.; Zoom
Thursday, Nov. 19: Planning Commission meeting; 6 p.m.; Zoom
Thursday, Nov. 26 & Friday, Nov. 27: City offices closed for Thanksgiving
Stay Connected
Contact Information

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