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News from City Hall 
Dear Bainbridge Islanders,

I hope you all found the time to enjoy the abundant sunshine and warm temperatures this week. Looking around the island, it seems as if everything bloomed into spring colors overnight. We all have busy lives but remember to take a few minutes to enjoy this time of year, and to appreciate the beautiful island scenery that is part of our everyday experience.

When you read below, you'll see the wide range of topics the City is currently working on. I notice that several of our current projects involve significant decisions that could impact many Islanders. The City Council is taking up the set of recommendations on subdivision standards that was developed by the Planning Commission over several months. The Council's work to consider and refine these changes will continue into April, and we will work to keep the public informed as that discussion moves forward. As part of the next discussion, City staff will prepare background information on how many properties across the island are likely to be subject to these new standards and will also provide some site-specific examples to better illustrate what these changes might mean. 

The City is also considering the results of a recent rate study to review City water and sewer rates. This is a topic we will continue to discuss throughout the Spring.

At the next City Council meeting (March 26), the Council will consider whether to approve a purchase and sale agreement for the Harrison Medical Building, which the City plans to renovate to provide a new Police Station and Municipal Court facility. This is an important milestone in the work to ensure that we have safe and sustainable facilities for critical City services. The selection of the Harrison Building for this project emerged through years of planning, analysis, and consideration. This is also a significant financial decision for the community. The City's current budget plans for a $20 million total cost for this project, which includes this purchase of $8.975 million. Some project highlights are provided below, and you can find more detailed information on the project's webpage.

Finally, I hope that you will also take note of the announcement below that the City has started the annual process to seek volunteers who would like to join one of our citizen advisory committees. All of our standing committees have rotating terms, which means that every year there are opportunities for new folks to join the conversation. New members are appointed for terms that begin on July 1. The time to apply is now, so please see below and the City's webpage if you'd like to learn more.

Best wishes,

Morgan Smith
City Manager
City Council to consider approval of purchase and sale agreement for the Harrison Medical Center Building

During the March 26 business meeting, the City Council will consider authorizing City Manager Morgan Smith to execute a purchase and sale agreement for the Harrison Medical Center Building, located at 8804 Madison Avenue N, in the amount of $8.975 million. The City intends to renovate the building to provide replacement facilities for the Police Department and Municipal Court. Based on feasibility studies performed in 2018, the approximate cost for the complete project, including property purchase and renovations, is estimated to be $20 million. This project is likely to be the most significant financial investment the City will make in the next 20 years.
If the agreement is approved, the City will have 60 days to complete due diligence tasks as outlined in the purchase agreement.  Once that work is complete, the City will use the next six to nine months to develop more detailed plans for the building's renovation, to refine initial cost estimates, and to prepare documentation to bid the project's construction in early 2020.
More information on this project is available on the Police-Municipal Court Project page. There also will be information in the City Council agenda packet when it is published later today, including  several appraisals for the Harrison property.
City seeking volunteers to serve on citizen committees

The City is looking for volunteers to fill positions on numerous boards and committees that assist and advise City Council on issues that range from climate change and design review to utility-related policies, transportation planning, and public access to the shore.

The Design Review Board and the Marine Access Committee are among the committees seeking new members.

As part of its duties and responsibilities, the Design Review Board serves as an advisory body to the Planning and Community Development director, Hearing Examiner and Planning Commission, as applicable, regarding site plan and design reviews and conditional use permits. 

"We review new projects to ensure they contribute to the existing small town character in the downtown core and the rural character of the island," said DRB Chair Joe Dunstan who has served on the board for two years. 

The DRB is made up of architects, landscape architects, planners, real estate agents and brokers, and artists.There is also one at-large member of the community. 

"This is a very exciting time for the DRB as new design guidelines, based on the Comprehensive Plan, are being completed in July. These guidelines will provide the foundation for our review and decision-making on all projects in the future," said Dunstan.

The DRB meets the first and third Monday of every month 2-5 p.m. at City Hall.

The Marine Access Committee, which implements recommendations for the appropriate provision of public access to water, meets on the second Monday of each month at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall. The MAC's latest efforts involved a recommendation to the City Council regarding the buoy layout in the City's Dave Ullin Open Water Marina (DUOWM) that provides moorage for liveaboards.

"Serving on the Marine Access Committee has allowed me to participate, first-hand, in the public process and help shape outcomes that are important to our community," said Anthony Oddo. 

Most of the committee positions require a three-year term commitment. The work load varies for each committee; some meet monthly and others more frequently. Some commi ttees may require advance reading in order to participate meaningfully in the discussion. 

For more information about the committees and to apply online, please visit the Citizen Advisory Groups webpage. Applications are due by 4 p.m. on Monday, April 29. Applicants must be available mid-May to early June for interviews. Terms begin on July 1.
Next Week: Public hearing scheduled on the extension of development moratorium

The City Council will consider a six-month extension of the development moratorium at next week's March 26 business meeting, and the community is invited to share any thoughts on this topic during a public hearing.

The Council passed the temporary moratorium in January 2018 and it has been extended several times.  The moratorium is set to expire April 8. The six-month extension would allow staff more time to complete the work plan that includes the following topics:

  • Critical Areas Ordinance
  • Subdivisions
  • Design Guidelines
  • Land Use Review Procedures and Decision Criteria
  • Affordable Housing
If the Council opts not to extend the moratorium, it will expire April 8 and there will be no restrictions on submittal of any development applications except for housing design demonstration projects (HDDP) with less than 100 percent affordable units.

During the March 19 meeting, the Council discussed proposed revisions of the municipal code regarding subdivision regulations that relate to review procedures, design guidelines, and standards. A public hearing on the proposed subdivisions update is expected to be held at a City Council business meeting in May.

  Watch the discussions here
Water and sewer utility rate discussions ongoing

The City Council discussed a proposed set of changes to water and sewer utility rates during its study session on March 19 that would pay for rising operating costs, maintenance of facilities, and several major capital projects.  Water and sewer utility rates have not changed in more than five years.

Last year, the City hired a consultant, Financial Consulting Solutions Group (FCS), to evaluate the rates of the water and sewer utilities and, if necessary, to make recommendations to adjust the rates. The rates for different groups of customers may change by different amounts as a result of this study, which evaluated the cost to the utilities to serve the various classes of customers. The last time a rate study was done was 10 years ago.
The Utility Advisory Committee (UAC) - which provides recommendations to City Council on matters related to the City's water, sanitary sewer, storm water and other utilities - has regularly been meeting with the consultant to discuss the proposed rate changes. 

The Council plans to consider formally adopting the recommended rates in the next few months.
TRAINING: Emergency volunteers respond to plane crash in mock exercise

Shortly after 7:00 last Saturday night, Fort Ward Park, which is usually quiet at dusk except for the sound of passing ferries and waves breaking along the shore, was the scene of a disaster.

Responders were told debris from a plane littered the ground, accompanied by pieces of luggage and victims screaming for help.
In a tree, a man with a fractured femur was slumped over howling in pain. A few feet away, another victim was hidden under brush with a laceration to his stomach area as a father searched for his missing baby that was later found under a pile of ferns.

With first aid kits in-hand and head lamps the only reflection of light, volunteers from the Bainbridge Island Emergency Medical Responders (BIEMRs) team made their way through the park assessing the damage and searching for victims in need of emergency medical care.
This was just a drill - a mock scenario to prepare volunteers in the event of a disaster on Bainbridge Island.
"I have participated in a number of disaster response drills throughout my career. This drill felt very real and our volunteers took the scenario seriously," said Emergency Management Coordinator Anne LeSage.

The exercise was the culmination of a Wilderness First Responder (WFR) program designed to teach volunteers remote medical skills that can be used during a disaster on the island.  The class, which is a combination of 40 hours of online course work and 40 hours of in-class training, teaches participants emergency interim medical care to help prepare injured people for transportation by paramedics.

Participants learn basic first aid skills, splinting, bleeding control, wound cleaning, CPR, how to treat cold and heat-related illness, patient assessment, and triage and treatment. The 26 WFR-trained volunteers now join 74 current members of our community's BIEMRs team. This is the fourth class to complete this course that is paid for by the City and offered to residents at a subsidized price; the course generally costs about $900, participants only pay $150.
"Wilderness First Responder training provides an invaluable disaster medical response skill set," said LeSage. "Whether you are out hiking or camping in the backcountry, or if you want to help out post-disaster, the skills you learn will help take care of others."
The next course will be offered in October. If you're interested, please email Anne LeSage at

If you'd like to read a full summary of the March 16 nighttime training exercise and learn more about the program, please click here.
City Council: On the agenda for March 26

Below are some of the topics that will be discussed during the March 26 City Council business meeting:
  • Purchase agreement for Harrison Medical Building (see information above).
  • Public hearing on extension of development moratorium (see information above).
  • Presentations on the 2019 work plans for the  Multi-Modal Transportation Advisory Commitee and Ethics Board.
  • Update on the subdivision regulations.
  • A resolution for the Green New Deal. 
  • Proposal to purchase art work.
Did you know you can receive the  Council agenda every week when it's published? Sign up for  Notify Me on the City's website-- select "City Council Meeting Notifications." You can get the updates by text or email.
Sign Up: Traffic Notficiations
Did you know that you can get weekly updates by email or text about traffic notifications in our area? Select "Traffic Notifications" on our Notify Me list. The updates may include information about upcoming paving, utility work and other projects. 

Please note: this is a separate service from our Nixle emergency notification system.

The Washington State Department of Transportation  (WSDOT) also provides email updates for major roadwork on state highways in Kitsap County. Sign up here
Upcoming Events
  • Tuesday, March 26: City Council Business Meeting; 6 p.m.
  • Wednesday, March 27: Utility Advisory Committee; 5 p.m. @ Council Conference Room
See the full calendar list here.
City of Bainbridge Island