City Manager's Report
Bainbridge Islanders,
As we move into the middle of January, the island has already received more rain than we would in a typical month of January. This exceptional rainfall total has had real impacts to the island, including landslides on some slopes, a discharge of partially treated effluent from the wastewater treatment plant, and trees toppled by the wind and saturated ground. We also experienced our first widespread power outages of 2021 due to a windstorm early Wednesday.

I'd like to share my thanks and appreciation to the City staff who do the hard work to help keep residents and visitors safe during these times of inclement weather. The work to safely respond to downed trees, landslides and other water hazards rely on a relatively small workgroup of roughly two dozen staff. The changes in our work processes that are made necessary by COVID-19 make this response even more complicated.

The historic precipitation reminds us of the changes that we are seeing in our climate and the importance of the steps we are taking to implement the City’s Climate Action Plan. The Climate Change Advisory Committee hosted the first of two community presentations on the Climate Action Plan this week. You can watch the recording on the City’s website, or plan to attend the next workshop on Saturday, Jan. 23.

The City continues its work to support the community and community organizations with the ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Community Based Testing Site remains in place at the City's Town Square. And, the City has added support for vaccine distribution to its COVID efforts. We thank the many volunteers who are giving of their time and effort to work in both of these areas.

At the City Council business meeting this week, Public Works Director Chris Wierzbicki provided a briefing following the Wastewater Treatment Plant discharge. The briefing, and information below, included an explanation of the combination of factors that we believe led to the discharge, as well as the immediate and near-term changes we will be making to avoid a similar situation in the future. 

The Council this week also approved an interlocal agreement with the Bainbridge Island Metropolitan Park and Recreation District to share services related to the construction and maintenance of trails on City property.

The City Council also read and approved the annual Proclamation recognizing Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in the City of Bainbridge Island on Monday, Jan. 18.

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

Best wishes,

Ellen Schroer
Interim City Manager
Crews continue storm response
Over the past week, City operations and maintenance crews were inundated responding to the impacts of the recent storm events, with staff working 24-hour shifts to keep flooding and other road and utility hazards mitigated and safe.

By yesterday afternoon (Thursday, Jan. 14), most of the downed trees, flooding issues and landslides were resolved, including the largest landslide that occurred on Pleasant Beach Drive.

Additionally, wastewater treatment plant operators worked 24-hour shifts to maintain treatment of historic inflows to the plant.

Over the next few days, crews will be addressing a host of minor issues caused by the storm, including restoring communications to key utility facilities, making permanent repairs to pump stations and repairing stormwater structures that sustained extensive damage.

Puget Sound Energy experienced power outages across its service area as a result of the wind and rain-saturated soil. The storm resulted in fallen trees and complex damage to poles, power lines, and other equipment.

As of Thursday morning, Puget Sound Energy estimated that power would be restored to all customers in Kitsap County by 12 p.m. today (Friday, Jan. 15).
Update on wastewater treatment plant discharge event
Public Works Director Chris Wierzbicki provided a briefing to the City Council at this week's business meeting following a discharge at the City's Wastewater Treatment Plant earlier this month due to heavy rains.

From roughly 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.

Please see a memo here that provides a summary of the discharge event and steps being taken to prevent a future incident.

Watch the Jan. 12 Council briefing here.
COVID-19 Updates
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 in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

As of Jan. 11, the City's site has tested 1,142 people and there were 14 positive test results.

On Tuesday, Jan. 26, staff will present an update to the City Council on the City's drive-thru COVID-19 test site and other COVID-19 response activities. 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
State update on COVID-19 vaccine distribution
On Wednesday, Jan. 13, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) shared key updates in a telebriefing on the COVID-19 vaccine distribution and administration efforts.

State health officials said they are "eager to pick up the pace to get vaccines to people who need them and expect to move into Phase 1B in a matter of days." State health officials did not provide a specific date for moving to Phase 1B. State Health officials are asking health care workers in Phase 1A who haven’t gotten their vaccine to make an appointment now.

Read the full update here.

The City of Bainbridge Island will notify the community when Kitsap County moves to Phase 1B and vaccine clinics are scheduled. Vaccinations will be provided by appointment. There are no other details at this time.
Kitsap County remains in Phase 1 of “Healthy Washington — Roadmap to Recovery”
Gov. Inslee’s “Healthy Washington — Roadmap to Recovery,” a COVID-19 phased recovery plan went into effect this week.

The state is following a regional recovery approach with every region beginning in Phase 1.
Project Updates
Temporary traffic calming measures along Grow Avenue to be implemented soon
City staff have developed a temporary plan for Grow Avenue traffic calming following the Dec. 15 conversation with the City Council regarding the opening of Grow Avenue as a detour route during the Wyatt Way reconstruction project. The plan will roll out slowly, and with temporary facilities, with the ability to adjust depending on feedback from the community. The basic concept is to create a number of “constricted travel zones” to hopefully reduce speeds, while keeping bicyclists and pedestrians safe.

Staff have identified six areas along the corridor (four on upper Grow Avenue and two on lower Grow Avenue) that could serve as the constricted zones, and which are not in conflict with parking, driveways or mailboxes, and have limited visibility from the adjacent homes.

Five of these zones (three on upper Grow Avenue and two on lower Grow Avenue) would be built out, potentially as soon as next week. The zones would be 30-60 feet long, and would consist of weighted (10 lb base) flexible delineators placed on the southbound fog line, the northbound fog line, and one on the centerline and the beginning and end of each zone (see photo below).
If the traffic calming measures seem to be working, the City would move to expand as follows:
  • Build out the remaining zone with temporary facilities;
  • Convert some or all zones to permanent (fixed to the ground) delineators;
  • Paint “20 MPH” on the street approaching each zone in each direction.

Benefits of this approach include keeping the shoulders open for walking/biking, and good visibility – particularly for bicyclists traveling at night. Additionally, delineators on both sides and in the middle of the road are intended to prevent traffic from weaving into the bicycle/pedestrian zones.

The City will also place radar feedback signs along the corridor.

Additional measures proposed along Grow Avenue by the Bainbridge Island School District and Squeaky Wheels, a bicycle advocacy group, to create a set of “safe routes to school” projects are still in development and may be incorporated at a later date.
Join us: Committee to host workshop on sustainable transportation
A subcommittee of Sustainable Transportation Task Force members will host an educational session this morning from 9 to 11 a.m. on the principles of Sustainable Transportation. This is the first in a series of four workshops designed to inform the Task Force and others interested in learning more about what sustainable transportation could mean for Bainbridge Island.

You can join the meeting at

During next week's Jan. 19 study session, staff will provide an update to the Council on the Sustainable Transportation Plan planning effort.
City Council Updates
City Manager finalists update
The City Council this week held final interviews with the three City Manager finalists. It's expected that the City Council will make a final selection this month.

The interview process for the finalists also included a series of virtual interviews with city staff, community partners and advisory group representatives. The City hosted an online community open house on Jan. 7 to give the community an opportunity to hear from the finalists. The video link is available on the City's website.

Learn more about the finalists here.
Council declines to add food truck proposal to future meeting agenda
During the Jan. 12 business meeting, the City Council had an agenda item to decide if they wish to discuss at a future meeting to allow food trucks to operate on City property. Following the Jan. 12 discussion, the Council decided not to move forward with a future discussion due to the lack of time and resources at this time to support the proposal.

The food truck item was placed on the Council’s Jan. 12 agenda after a Bainbridge Island resident, operating a food truck on private property on Bainbridge Island, contacted the Council requesting to locate the food truck on the City’s Town Square. The Jan. 12 agenda item was to decide only if the Council would like to discuss at a future meeting to allow food trucks to operate on City property.

It is the decision of the City Council to allow a food truck to operate on City property.

The City’s current zoning code allows food trucks to operate in Winslow. The use specific standards for food trucks require permission of the property owner upon which the business is going to operate.

Councilmember Joe Deets, who is a liaison to the business community, will discuss with members of the business community how to best support local business and report back to the Council.

Watch the Jan. 12 discussion here.
Council approves trails agreement with Park District
The City Council this week forwarded for approval an interlocal agreement with the Bainbridge Island Metro Park & Recreation District (Parks) for shared services related to trail construction and maintenance to its next business meeting.

Both the City and the Park District desire to work together to plan, build, and maintain recreational trails on City property. The agreement will allow Parks to provide trail construction and maintenance services on City property, and the City to provide catch-basin cleaning and roadside mowing services on Parks property.

The goal is to better serve island residents and to find efficiencies in resource allocation to achieve a shared vision.

Parks and City staff identified the following City properties (or rights of way) for potential
trail construction and/or maintenance in 2021:
  • Lovgreen Rd to Day Rd;
  • Wardwell Rd. (from northern terminus to Meigs Park); and
  • Maintenance of existing City trails.

Parks and City staff will continue to work together to identify and plan for construction of future trails. The Sustainable Transportation Plan effort will also identify future trails.
State delays implementation of building code update
The implementation of the 2018 Washington State Building Codes, which would allow for the construction of tiny homes, has been delayed to July 1. This means that tiny homes without wheels will not be a permitted use on Bainbridge Island until the updated building codes are implemented and the City Council adopts an amendment to the City’s Municipal Code.

The State Building Code Council (SBCC) voted late last Friday, Jan. 8 to delay implementation of the updated state building codes from Feb. 1 to July 1 to allow cities and people in the building industry more time to prepare for the changes. On Jan. 12, the Washington Association of Building Officials (WABO) submitted a formal petition to Gov. Jay Inslee for the immediate repeal of the SBCC’s emergency rule due to concerns about affordable housing, sustainability, accessibility, climate change and more. WABO anticipates a response from the Governor’s office by Jan. 19.

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 main objective of the I-codes is to offer protection of life/ safety to all people and property.

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.

The state's building code allows tiny houses with or without wheels; the City of Bainbridge Island's zoning code, however, would not allow a tiny home on wheels.

The City Council had a Jan. 12 agenda item to consider approval of an amendment to the City's code to allow tiny homes without wheels, but the agenda item was removed due to the pending status of the building code update.
Upcoming City Council agenda
Below are some of the topics to be discussed during the Jan. 19 City Council meeting.

  • Sustainable Transportation Plan update
  • Review results of 2020 City workplan priorities
  • Governance Manual and expectations for City Council liaisons
  • Economic Recovery Grants related to the COVID-19 pandemic

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
Learn about the Climate Action Plan in an online presentation
Members of the Climate Change Advisory Committee (CCAC) on Saturday, Jan. 23 will host the final online presentations 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 Jan. 23 event will be held 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Zoom.

CCAC members will give presentations on the plan, answer questions 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.
Other updates
City offices closed Jan. 18 in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day
City offices will be closed Monday, Jan. 18 in observance of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, a national day of service that celebrates the civil rights leader's life and legacy.

In recognition of this day, the City's Race Equity Advisory Committee and City Council will host a “Courageous Conversations" event on Thursday, Feb. 4 at 6 p.m. on Zoom. The event will focus on social justice and race equity in our community. More details and a Zoom link to come.
City hires Hydrogeologist to begin work on Groundwater Management Plan
The Public Works Department is pleased to announce that Maureen Whalen has been selected to fill the City’s term-limited Hydrogeologist position to begin work on the Groundwater Management Plan.

Maureen has education and experience in geology and hydrogeology, and for the last five years has been working in New Zealand as the Groundwater Science Team Leader for the Canterbury region. Her work on that team closely resembles the work she will be performing for the City.

Prior to her work in Canterbury, Maureen was a consulting Senior Geologist in New York, where she worked on hydrogeologic investigations and groundwater monitoring for municipal landfill closures and other environmental remediation projects.

Maureen's work for the City will involve developing a final scope and executing a workplan for the City’s Groundwater Management Plan. She will also inform and coordinate other efforts for the City’s “One Water” strategy (a phrase coined by Juan Rovalo of the City’s Environmental Technical Advisory Committee), which includes the Stormwater Master Plan, the Manzanita Creek Watershed Plan, the Water System Business Plan, and other ongoing efforts.
No-contact advisory issued for portions of Bainbridge Island due to King County sewage discharge
A no-contact advisory was issued for the east shoreline of Bainbridge Island, from Wing Point to Agate Point and North Kitsap shoreline, from Agate Pass Bridge to Apple Cove Point (north of Kingston) through Jan. 19 due to sewage overflow in King County.

During a no-contact advisory, the public is advised to avoid contact with the water in the affected area. This means the health district recommends against swimming, wading, or types of water recreation or play where water could be swallowed or get in the mouth, nose or eyes. People should also avoid direct skin contact if possible, and immediately wash with soap and water if they have exposure to the water.

Be aware that because of extreme high tides, pooled water near shorelines could also be contaminated.

A shellfish harvesting closure is in effect through Feb. 2.

See King County's advisory for details.
PSE seeking feedback on proposed “missing link” transmission line project
Puget Sound Energy will host an online community workshop on Thursday, Jan. 21 from 5 to 7:30 p.m. to gather feedback from Bainbridge Island residents on PSE's proposed "missing link" transmission line project.

As one part of PSE's solution to improve reliability on Bainbridge island, PSE is planning to build a new "missing link" transmission line between the Murden Cove and Winslow substations. The new power line will create a transmission line "loop", which means all substations will be connected to two transmission lines. If one line to a substation experiences a power outage, the other line can still feed the substation and provide power to customers.

PSE will share information about the need for the project, the routing process, and seek feedback on the route segments under consideration.
Visit to RSVP for the Jan. 21 event and learn more about the project.
Important Dates
Monday, Jan. 18: City offices closed for Martin Luther King Jr. Day; COVID-19 test site closed
Thursday, Jan. 21: Race Equity Advisory Committee special meeting; 6 p.m. on Zoom
Saturday, Jan. 23: Climate Action Plan presentation; 10 a.m. on Zoom
Monday, Jan. 25: Ethics Board special meeting; 6:30 p.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