City Manager's Report
Bainbridge Islanders,
This week, there seems to be a more notable level of activity and intention across our community, as perhaps we are all mindful of the changes and events ahead of us in the coming weeks. I have seen cars turn with regularity into the ballot drop box site on North Madison Ave., signaling to me that Islanders are heeding the request to submit our election ballots as soon as possible. This will help to support the successful processing of what is expected to be a higher than usual voter response. And despite cooler temperatures and some wet weather, I have seen neighbors and visitors continue to use our outdoor spaces to exercise, visit, and eat together in small groups. Parking lots at our schools are filling up, as BISD staff works hard to support the thousands of Bainbridge students in remote learning, and to prepare for a pivot to some in-person activities next month.

I hope every Bainbridge household is using this time to think ahead about any additional preparations or plans you can make to navigate the upcoming winter season. In terms of public health, experts have alerted us that more time indoors will increase the risk of COVID transmission and may bring a “third wave” across the US. Here in Puget Sound, the coming weeks of colder and darker days will make it more challenging to keep up healthy routines, social engagement, and neighborhood connections.

I encourage each of us to think about how we can succeed during this time, individually and collectively. Across Washington State, our current positivity rate for COVID testing is 3.5%. In some states, that rate is as high as 20%. We are doing many things right, and as a result are able to move slowly back to increased business, school, and social activities. If we hope to keep moving forward in these areas, we need to commit to the continued use of our best tools to keep community spread rates low: wear face coverings, maintain distance from others, wash hands frequently. I know Islanders can continue to excel in how we approach this year’s challenges, and how we support and strengthen one another in this next, new season.

Next week, the City Council meeting will include a number of significant topics, including continued work to develop the 2021-2022 budget and ongoing discussions related to Sustainable Transportation, non-motorized levels of service, and an update on the Ethics Board. For more information about some of these topics and other items of interest, please see below.

Best wishes,

Morgan Smith
City Manager
City Council seeking applicants to fill north ward vacancy
The City of Bainbridge Island is now accepting applications from Bainbridge Island residents in the north ward to fill a vacancy on the City Council following the resignation of Councilmember Kol Medina.

Residents interested in applying for the Council vacancy 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 qualified 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 .
COVID-19 Updates
Plan safe ways to participate in Halloween activities this year
Please see the message below from the Centers for DIsease Control.

Many traditional Halloween activities can be high risk for spreading viruses. There are several safer, alternative ways to participate in Halloween. Some of those alternatives may include:

  • Doing a Halloween scavenger hunt where children are given lists of Halloween-themed things to look for while they walk outdoors from house to house admiring Halloween decorations at a distance
  • Having a virtual Halloween costume contest
  • Having a Halloween movie night with people you live with
  • Having a scavenger hunt-style trick-or-treat search with your household members in or around your home rather than going house to house

See a full list of alternative ideas here.

If you may have COVID-19 or you may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, you should not participate in in-person Halloween festivities and should not give out candy to trick-or-treaters.

Learn more about lower, moderate and higher risk activities and other holiday celebration tips here.
Biennial Budget
Council begins proposing changes to Biennial Budget
City staff discussed with Council this week impacts to the 2021-22 Proposed Budget related to last week's decision issued by the Washington State Supreme Court to strike down Initiative 976 (described as the "$30 car-tab initiative"). The Supreme Court ruling restored the City’s ability to spend funds received since December 2019 and going forward.

In 2020, the City has received revenues of about $50,000 per month for an estimated total of roughly $600,000 in 2020. Of this amount, $200,000 is designated for traffic calming and climate mitigation projects. The other $400,000 per year is available for eligible transportation projects, and is used by the City to support maintenance of the island's extensive road network.

During this week's budget discussion, the Council approved the following motions as preliminary potential changes to the Proposed 2021-22 budget.
  • Add $200,000 to plan and design the Coppertop/Sakai/ Woodward Trail, which extends the STO from the pond in Sakai Park, north to Sportsman's Club Road, and creates new safe access to Sakai and Woodward schools through the Coppertop Industrial Park.
  • Add $60,000 for Senior Center improvements and $100,000 to the 2023-24 budget for Senior Center improvements.
  • Add $78,000 for structural preservation projects at the Suyematsu farms, the clearing of brush and debris from structures at the site, and interpretive signage.
  • Designate $600,000 from the Transportation Benefit fund balance for high priority short-term projects resulting from the Sustainable Transportation planning.
  • Replace an existing vacant planner position with a natural resource senior planner position.
  • Defer the Country Club Road bulkhead reconstruction project to at least 2023 to allow time to develop an island-wide strategy for shoreline roadways that aligns with the City's Climate Action Plan.
  • Remove $25,000 from the Public Works’ 2021 professional services budget for the Complete Streets ordinance development.
  • Add $15,000 for completion of a National Citizens Survey.
  • Add an FTE for a climate adaptation officer, to be funded separately from the $300,000 proposed funding for the Climate Action Plan implementation.
  • Add $200,000 to the climate change implementation budget which is currently included at $300,000.

The budgetary impact of these motions will be summarized by staff at the Oct. 27 Council meeting. Additional background on each of these proposals will be provided at a special budget workshop scheduled for Nov. 4.

A preliminary public hearing on the Biennial Budget will be held during the Oct. 27 City Council meeting. This will provide the first opportunity for the public to provide input on the proposed budget. A second (and final) public hearing on the budget is scheduled for the Nov. 10 Council meeting.

The proposed 2021-2022 Budget and supporting materials can be viewed online at
Public Hearing on property tax increase scheduled for next week
During the Oct. 27 City Council meeting, a public hearing on the property tax increase will be held to allow for the public to provide input.

The property tax levy is set to increase 1%, which is the maximum allowed by state law. Assuming no other changes, with a 1% increase, the owner of a median-priced home of $787,000 would pay roughly an additional $4 in property tax to the City.

The City of Bainbridge Island property tax represents about 9% of the total property tax bill each year.
Project Updates
Sustainable Transportation update
The Sustainable Transportation Task Force will meet this morning (Friday, Oct. 23) from 9 to noon on Zoom. The meeting will include a presentation on the Climate Action Plan, then the group will be discussing the gap analysis work that was done by Task Force members. The analysis discussion will be divided into identifying the gaps and barriers in the existing infrastructure, as well as gaps in policies and programs.

The community will have an opportunity to provide comments to the Task Force at today's meeting.

Join the Zoom meeting here.

At the Oct. 20 City Council study session, consultants from Nelson Nygaard presented the final Goals and Objectives for the plan, and will ask for Council approval after receiving public comment at the Council's Oct. 27 business meeting. The six goals are:
  1. Climate Action and Resilience;
  2. Natural Systems and Rural Character;
  3. Safety and Comfort;
  4. Equity and Accessibility;
  5. Connected and Convenient; and
  6. Implementation and Funding.

Additional information may be found on the project webpage here.
Staff presents transportation system update to Council
Public Works staff shared a presentation this week with the City Council about three tools the City uses to measure the quality of the island’s transportation system and to plan for future impacts to the system:

  • transportation levels of service;
  • transportation concurrency program; and
  • traffic impact fees. 

The presentation outlined each of the tools, how the City uses them, and what kind of results they have produced.

The staff also presented some options for changes to the way the City uses these tools, such as moving towards a multi-modal level of service policy that would align with the Council’s goals for the ongoing Sustainable Transportation Plan (STP). Those goals include reducing single-occupancy vehicle trips and encouraging more transit ridership, biking and walking.

There will be an opportunity for the public to comment on this topic at the Oct. 27 City Council meeting, during which the Council may provide some direction to staff regarding which potential policy changes they are interested in pursuing upon completion of the STP.

Watch the Oct. 20 presentation here.
Residents propose to lower speed limit along Old Mill Road
At the Oct. 27 City Council meeting, the Council will consider a resolution that proposes to lower the speed limit on Old Mill Road from 30 to 25 miles per hour.

The City’s Public Works Department received emails from at least 20 residents along the Old Mill corridor regarding lowering the speed limit (a majority of whom were in favor of the change).

Staff reviewed the request and determined that the conditions along the road were favorable for the reduction. The City’s typical process is to bring forward any changes in speed limits to the City Council for approval, which allows the technical details of the change to be discussed, and also provides an opportunity for public comment.

While the conditions on Old Mill Road were amenable to a speed limit reduction, the evaluation and implementation of speed limit changes are not always straightforward. In accordance with engineering best practices, and guidance from the State, speed limits should be set within 5 miles per hour of what’s called the “85th percentile” speed, which derives from driver’s comfort level traveling along the road. Other factors, such as the number of driveways, allowable street parking, and the presence or absence of bicycle and pedestrian facilities, can also be considered as part of the analysis. Enforcement of speed limits is also a critical safety factor, and the City’s Police Department will be provided information on any changes along Old Mill Road to help keep all users safe.
City Council Updates
Council considers new tree retention requirements for small lots
A recent tree clearing, which was permitted, 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.

During the Oct. 20 City Council meeting, City staff proposed using the existing Tree Unit regulations to address this issue. A Tree Unit approach would impose existing tree retention standards from zoning districts with similarly small-sized lots to the lots in R-0.4, R-1, and R-2. The City Council concluded that a Tree Unit methodology was not appropriate in these less dense zoning districts, and instead directed staff to come up with alternative methods for tree retention on these lots.

As a next step, staff will present the Planning Commission with options that are alternatives to a Tree Unit approach during the Commission’s Oct. 29 meeting. Once the Planning Commission completes its review and recommendation, the proposal will be forwarded to the Council for approval.

Watch the Oct. 20 Council discussion here.
Friends of the Farms presents affordable housing proposal for farm interns
Friends of the Farms and a team of community partners presented a draft proposal this week to the City Council for intern housing on the City-owned Morales farm property, located at the corner of SR 305 and Lovgreen Road.

The proposal is to place three new permanent structures on the Morales farm to house farm interns and, in the future, to repair and repurpose the existing Morales house to provide a common gathering space and a place for educational activities.

The Council forwarded this item to a future meeting for additional discussion once additional details are worked out between the project team and City staff. A future meeting date has not been set.

Watch the Oct. 20 discussion here.
Council to consider narrowing scope of development moratorium next week
The City Council next week is expected to narrow the scope of the development moratorium to apply only to shoreline properties within the Winslow Master Plan Study Area.

On Sept. 22, the Council approved a six-month extension of the development moratorium to allow staff time to complete integration of the updated critical areas ordinance (CAO) into the Shoreline Master Program (SMP). This is the final workplan item for the moratorium. If the CAO integration work is completed prior to six months, then the Council will consider terminating the moratorium.

The CAO item is expected to return to the Council to be integrated into the SMP in November, then will be sent to the Washington State Department of Ecology for final approval.
Upcoming City Council agenda
Below are some of the topics scheduled for the Tuesday, Oct. 27 City Council meeting.

  • Summary of budget decisions from Oct. 20 discussion
  • Winslow Water Tank financing and funding alternatives
  • Public hearing on property tax levy collection in 2021
  • Public hearing on the 2021-2022 Biennial budget
  • Public hearing on extending small wireless facilities design standards interim official control
  • Discussion on Sustainable Transportation Plan framework
  • Discussion on next steps for transportation levels of service
  • Update on the development moratorium
  • Update on the self-service storage facilities moratorium
  • Update on the Ethics Board operating rules
  • Proposal to change the speed limit on Old Mill Road

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
Planning Commission to hold public hearing to prohibit new self-service storage facilities
The Planning Commission will hold a public hearing Thursday, Oct. 29 on draft Ordinance 2020-34 to prohibit new self-service storage facilities and to allow expansion of existing facilities.

If the Planning Commission completes its recommendation on self-service storage facilities following the Oct. 29 public hearing, then the ordinance will move forward to the Council for consideration of approval on Nov. 10.

If the Planning Commission does not complete its recommendation, and the Council desires to extend the self-service storage facilities moratorium (set to expire Nov. 26), then the Council will need to hold a public hearing to consider the moratorium extension on Nov. 10.

Learn more about the self-service storage facilities moratorium here.
Race Equity Task Force hosts march to educate for equity
The City’s Race Equity Task Force (RETF) will hold a march and vigil on Saturday, Oct. 24 at 7 p.m. to educate for equity.

“We welcome people of all colors, ages and abilities from Bainbridge Island and beyond to join us in this movement,” RETF member Savanna Rovelstad said.

The event will begin at the corner of Winslow Way and SR 305, and end with a vigil in front of City Hall, located at 280 Madison Ave N.

Please wear a mask and bring a candle to light for the vigil.

During the Oct. 13 business meeting, the City Council approved a proclamation declaring that Black Lives Matter is not an inherently political activity. Read the resolution and watch the discussion here.
Important Dates
Friday, Oct. 23: Sustainable Transportation Task Force meeting; 9:30 a.m.; Zoom
Saturday, Oct. 24: Race Equity Task Force march; 7 p.m.; SR 305 & Winslow Way
Thursday, Oct. 29: Planning Commission meeting; Zoom
Tuesday, Nov. 3: Election Day
Wednesday, Nov. 4: Special City Council meeting (budget workshop); 6 p.m.
Thursday, Nov. 5: Race Equity Task Force meeting; 6 p.m.; Zoom
Wednesday, Nov. 11: City offices are closed for Veterans Day.
Wednesday, Nov. 18: Save the date: Comcast Franchise Agreement Community Meeting; 6 p.m. Zoom; Stay tuned for details.
Stay Connected
Contact Information

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