City Manager's Report
Bainbridge Islanders,
At the start of this week, Governor Inslee issued new orders that increased restrictions and closures for Washington State restaurants, bars, gyms, movie theaters, stores and many other businesses. The new orders also include stricter guidance that tightly limits in-person contact with people outside of your own household. The goal of these restrictions – which we all share – is to reduce the rapid increase in COVID cases in our region. The impact, however, is disheartening. Many island businesses and families will face significant economic struggles as a result of these changes. It is becoming clear that our local economy may take years to recover the vibrancy and variety that we previously took for granted. And while it is less important, the loss of many valued opportunities for social diversion and connections means that our coming weeks will now be more quiet, and more inward facing, than most of us would choose.

Each week during this year’s ongoing emergency, I have tried to use this weekly message to emphasize what seems to be the most important message or public health goal for that moment. And also encourage Islanders to take encouragement from other Islanders; to reflect on and appreciate our extraordinary collective resources, volunteerism, and problem-solving. This week my message is more personal. I hope each Bainbridge Island family can use this Thanksgiving week to renew your appreciation and love for those who are close to you. Find some way to mark this holiday as a time that is distinct, joyful and thankful, so that it doesn’t feel like just another winter week within the long COVID landscape. Please also remember that you have neighbors who are in need, and who are facing real crisis and challenges. There are dozens of ways each of us can ease this time for others, whether that is through a donation, a phone call, an errand, or an extra to-go order. I hope the entire Bainbridge Island community can continue to be generous with one another as we move through this next difficult phase.

This week, the Council held a Special Meeting to review semi-finalist candidates for the City Manager position. As part of that meeting, the Council agreed to the format and participants for the next steps in the selection process. The Council also held a study session, during which they reviewed the decision framework for the Sustainable Transportation Plan, received the Planning Commission’s recommendation on changes to Floor Area Ratio rules, and approved the 2021-2026 Capital Improvement Plan. The Council also expressed its intent to reject a land use amendment request related to composting facilities at the “Triangle” property, and scheduled time for that purpose on Nov. 24. The Council referred an option to develop specific regulations for composting to the joint subcommittee of Council and Planning Commission.

Next week, the Council will consider final approval of the 2021-2022 Budget, an ordinance to integrate the Critical Areas Ordinance into the SMP, expansion of a no-wake zone within Blakely Harbor, and appointments to fill vacancies on the Planning Commission and the Lodging Tax Advisory Committee (LTAC).

For more information about some of these topics and other items of interest, please see below. Please note that there will be no City Manager's report next week due to the Thanksgiving holiday.

Best wishes,

Morgan Smith
City Manager
COVID-19 Updates
City's drive-thru COVID-19 testing site adds more appointments
We have added eight appointments for each day the City's drive-thru testing site is open.

In addition, appointments can now only be booked four weeks in advance.

The City testing site should not be used for pre-travel clearance and is not an approved site for travel to Hawaii.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms, please get tested through your primary care physician or urgent care. A list of medical clinics and pharmacies in Kitsap County offering COVID-19 testing can be found here.

We are always assessing our operations and will post an update if other changes are made.

Learn more about the test site here.

Please remember that a negative test result is not a guarantee and does not provide free rein to participate in large gatherings for the holidays. "It is possible for an individual to have a test come back negative and still have COVID, depending on where they are in the cycle of the virus," Emergency Management Coordinator Anne LeSage said. "We all have to do our due diligence to follow best practices in limiting how many people we have contact with outside our immediate household, maintaining 6 feet or more of physical distance, wearing face coverings, washings our hands, etc."
Gov. Inslee orders new restrictions to slow spread of COVID-19
On Nov. 15, Gov. Jay Inslee announced a four-week statewide set of restrictions to slow the spread of rapidly increasing COVID cases in our state and ensure that
hospital and medical systems are not overwhelmed.

This includes new guidelines for indoor and outdoor gatherings, restaurants and bars, gyms, museums and more. The guidelines are outlined here.
Give thanks, not COVID this holiday season
This year, we need to connect in new ways over the holidays to slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep our families healthy.

The Kitsap Public Health District updated its friendly flyer to include creative ways to celebrate and avoid high-risk activities. Download the flyer, companion poster, as well as other resources to help deal with the impacts of COVID-19 at

Other resources on how to safely celebrate Thanksgiving are available on the Centers for Disease Control website.
WSF: Check schedules if you must ride a state ferry over Thanksgiving weekend
Please see the message below from Washington State Ferries.

With statewide restrictions in place to help slow the spread of COVID-19, this will not be a normal Thanksgiving for ferry travel. If you absolutely must ride our ferries, please wear a mask anytime outside of your vehicle as one is required aboard our vessels and throughout our terminals in compliance with the state’s health order to help keep people safe.

In addition, be aware that some sailing schedules are different from years past as they are dependent on our COVID Response Service Plan.

Read the full update and adjusted sailing schedules here.
Biennial Budget
City Council adopts Capital Improvement Plan, biennial budget scheduled for approval next week
The City Council this week adopted the 2021-2026 Capital Improvement Plan. This six-year plan includes $10.5 million dollars of new project spending in the coming biennium, of which $1.7 million is anticipated to be grant revenue. No additional changes were made to the operating budget at the Nov. 17 meeting. Learn more about the Capital Improvement Plan here.

The 2021-2022 budget is scheduled for approval at the Nov. 24 meeting. This is the financial plan for the upcoming two years of City operations and, despite contracting revenues and the resulting difficult budget choices necessitated by the COVID pandemic, funds certain high priority topics such as addressing climate change and funding sustainable transportation efforts.

Two positions that are new to the City are included in the budget – a position dedicated to coordinating the City’s response to climate change and a position dedicated to providing behavioral health services.
Project Updates
Update on comcast meeting
Due to an extensive power outage on the island during the evening of Nov. 18, the Comcast franchise agreement meeting was canceled and will be rescheduled to allow for more participation among the community.

We will keep you posted on a future date and time.

We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your understanding.
Work begins to add new sidewalks along Wyatt Way
The City’s contractor continued work on the west side of the Wyatt Way Reconstruction project during the last two weeks, with the workdays heavily dependent on weather conditions.

The water main construction, which was delayed due to pressurization and disinfection issues, is now mostly completed. A small portion of the water main that remains to be tested prior to being put into service is located outside of the street and sidewalk areas and will not hold up the progress on paving and concrete.

About half of the sidewalks on the west side of the project are now poured, with the remainder expected to be poured next week.

The contractor has not yet requested to pause the eastern portion of the work until spring, and therefore the project team expects work to proceed near the Wyatt Way-Madison Avenue intersection as the weather permits over the next several weeks.
City Council Updates
Ellen Schroer to serve as Interim City Manager
The City Council has selected Ellen Schroer to serve as Interim City Manager until a new City Manager is hired to replace outgoing City Manager Morgan Smith.

Schroer joined the City 10 years ago as the Director of Finance and Administrative Services. She was promoted to Deputy City Manager in 2018.

During her time as Finance Director, from 2010 to 2018, the City’s financial stability was restored through disciplined accounting and budgeting practices, the implementation of key financial policies, improved forecasting and reporting, and a multi-year commitment to rebuilding the City's critical reserve funds. As a result, the City currently holds a Aaa bond rating.

Prior to joining the City of Bainbridge Island, Ellen worked in finance roles for the City of Seattle. She received her master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Washington and her bachelor’s degree in German Language and Literature from Whitman College. Ellen and her family have lived on Bainbridge Island for more than 15 years.

City Manager search process
The City Council continues to work with SGR on the City Manager search process. The Council held an executive session Nov. 16 to narrow the list of finalists. The Council will hold executive sessions Dec. 2 and Dec. 3 to interview the candidates with visits by the finalists expected in early January.

In January, the City expects to host a community online open house as part of the search process.
Deadline next week to apply for north ward City Council vacancy
The deadline to apply for the north ward City Council vacancy is 4 p.m. next Wednesday, Nov. 25.

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.

Application forms are available on the City’s website at

The Council will hold candidate interviews at the Dec. 1 study session. The oath of office will occur during the week of Dec. 7 and the new Councilmember will attend the Dec. 15 meeting.

Click here for more information about the vacancy and to learn about the candidates.
Council, Planning Commission discuss Floor Area Ratio
At the City Council meeting this week, the Planning Commission presented draft Ordinance No. 2020-16 to remove all bonus Floor Area Ratio (FAR) provisions of BIMC 18.12.030.E (dimensional standards) except those related to affordable housing and, in the Ferry Terminal District, relocating surface ferry parking under a building or below ground. This includes removing Subsection E.1.b, which would remove the option to purchase residential FAR from the Islander Mobile Home Park. The City Council discussed the potential budget and workplan implications of this idea, and ended by making a motion to direct the City Manager to contact the Islander Mobile Home Park regarding potential purchase of Floor Area Ratio by the City.
The other concept stressed by the Planning Commission to the City Council at the study session 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 affordable housing, reconsidering base FAR, and updating the Winslow Master Plan. Once that broader work is completed, it is likely that 
BIMC 1812.030.E would be revised again

The purpose of the Council briefing was for the City Council to provide input prior to the Planning Commission holding a public hearing and completing their recommendation on the Ordinance.

At the Planning Commission’s Nov. 19 meeting, the Commission debriefed from the Council meeting, and opted to leave Subsection E.1.b related to the Islander Mobile Home Park unchanged. The Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on this ordinance early in 2021. After Planning Commission review, the City Council will consider final adoption.  

This Planning Commission recommendation originated in City Council approval of an interim zoning control on March 10, 2020 that suspended density bonus options. The interim zoning control was subsequently extended until March 10, 2021 (Ordinance Nos. 2020-10 and 2020-20).
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.
City Council expected to reject land use amendment request for compost site
The City Council this week expressed its intent to reject a land use code amendment request that would allow for a composting facility at a site known as the “Triangle Property,” located at the intersection of Fletcher Bay Rd. and Lynwood Center Rd following numerous concerns from residents who live in the area.

The Council directed staff to return to the Nov. 24 meeting with an agenda item to consider the option of not further pursuing the request.

In addition, the Council passed a motion to add consideration of standards for composting facilities to the 2021 workplan for the Joint Planning Commission and City Council Land Use Committee.

The Council previously discussed this request at the Oct. 6 study session.

Watch the Nov. 17 discussion here.
Upcoming City Council agenda
Below are some of the topics to be discussed during the Nov. 24 City Council meeting.

  • City Council to consider ordinance to adopt biennial budget
  • Consider land use amendment request for compost site
  • Set public hearing to extend landmark tree ordinance 
  • Adopt Shoreline Master Program amendment to integrate the Critical Areas Ordinance and make changes to the nonconforming sections 
  • Ordinance to amend wake restriction in Blakely Harbor 
  • Confirmation of appointment to Planning Commission 
  • Confirmation of appointment to Lodging Tax Advisory Committee

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
Island Center update
The Island Center subarea planning committee meeting was canceled this week due to the power outage. The committee is still figuring out a date to reschedule the meeting. To learn when the next meeting will be held, sign up for the project Notify Me list here.
Public participation meeting on Wintergreen Townhomes proposal to be rescheduled
The public participation meeting for the Wintergreen Townhomes proposal will be rescheduled due to a technical difficulty with Zoom at the Nov. 19 Planning Commission meeting.

The public participation meeting provides 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.

When the public participation meeting date is rescheduled, we'll share the information in the City Manager's Report.
Other Updates
City seeks to hire a Planner
The City is seeking applicants for a Planner position in the Planning & Community Development Department, which coordinates and manages land use activity. This position collaborates with a team of planners, and the ideal candidate will be able to manage multiple projects concurrently utilizing effective communication and customer service skills.

Learn more and apply here.
The City will not be publishing a City Manager's Report next week due to the Thanksgiving holiday. We hope you and your loved ones have a happy Thanksgiving!
Important Dates
Thursday, Nov. 26 & Friday, Nov. 27: City offices are closed for Thanksgiving.
Thursday, Dec. 3: Race Equity Task Force meeting; 6 p.m.; Zoom
Friday, Dec. 18: Sustainable Transportation Task Force meeting; 9:30 a.m.; Zoom
Stay Connected
Contact Information

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