City Manager's Report
Dear Bainbridge Islanders,
During the past week, Gov. Jay Inslee has eased the restrictions on several types of activities in recognition of improvements in the status of COVID-19 cases in Washington State. Residential construction is now allowed for projects that comply with on-site requirements on social distancing and other safety precautions. Some types of outdoor recreation will be allowed beginning May 5, and some elective surgeries may soon proceed.

The remainder of the Governor’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” restrictions, however, remain in place. It is anticipated that these restrictions will be extended past the current May 4 deadline. City staff is monitoring these updates and changes very closely, and will work hard to communicate about new information, and what is needed to support the work to restart some aspects of “regular” life.

This week, the City Council held a virtual meeting to conduct a public hearing on the interim zoning control related to Floor Area Ratio (FAR), to conduct a public hearing to extend the interim control on small wireless facilities, to address some emergency response decisions, and to review plans for Council meetings in May and June.

Next week, the Council will meet to interview the 10 candidates who have applied for the vacant south ward City Council position.

For more information on these topics and other items, please see below.

Best wishes,

Morgan Smith
City Manager
COVID-19 Updates
Update on City operations
Gov. Jay Inslee will provide an update today at 2:30 p.m. on the state's response to COVID-19. Watch the live event here.

City facilities (City Hall, Police Station and Municipal Court) will remain closed to the public throughout the duration of the "Stay Home, Stay Healthy" order.
Update on Emergency Operations Center
The Emergency Operations Center (EOC) will reduce its hours next week to Monday and Wednesday to continue fulfilling community resource requests.

The EOC is reducing its hours because there are fewer requests from essential service workers and community partners.

Key EOC personnel remains on call 24/7 in case the situation changes, and will continue weekly meetings with our community partners.

The EOC will remain activated through the duration of Gov. Jay Inslee’s "Stay Home, Stay Healthy" order.

As of April 24, the City has spent roughly $81,000 to support the COVID-19 response. This does not include significant staff time spent on emergency response activities and the work to shift to remote platforms delivering some City services.
City to lift some restrictions next week for park facilities
Gov. Jay Inslee announced this week a partial reopening of some outdoor recreation activities. As of Tuesday, May 5, some outdoor recreation will be allowed with appropriate safety precautions, including: fishing; hunting; playing golf; and day use at state parks, state public lands managed by the Department of Natural Resources and at state Fish and Wildlife areas. Read the full announcement here.

In recognition of the changes made by Governor Inslee to reopen some outdoor recreation areas statewide, effective May 5 the City will remove restrictions on vehicle access to City-owned park properties. Previously, the City closed both Pritchard Park and John T. Nelson Park at Strawberry Cannery Cove to vehicle access. As of May 5, vehicle access will again be allowed. Park users are reminded to follow all social distancing guidelines, and to only park vehicles in designated parking areas.

In addition, the launch ramp and boat trailer parking at Waterfront Park will open at dawn on May 5. The dock will remain closed to overnight stays. The sewage pumpout station remains available.

For updates on other Bainbridge parks, please see the Bainbridge Island Metro Park & Recreation District website.
City resumes inspections following Governor's new guidelines for construction activity
The City’s building department reinstated inspections this week following new guidance from Gov. Jay Inslee.

On April 24, Governor Inslee announced a plan to allow construction projects previously underway to be completed to get Washington moving toward recovery (learn more here). This week, the Governor issued additional guidance on construction activities.

The new guidance is an addendum to the Governor’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” proclamation. The requirements apply to all previously and newly authorized construction activities in Washington as long as Gubernatorial Proclamation 20-25, or any extension, is in effect.

Authorized construction now includes:
  • Construction previously authorized under Proclamation 20-25 and Governor Inslee’s March 25 memo on construction which included:
  • Construction related to essential activities as described in the order. 
  • Construction that furthers a public purpose related to a public entity or governmental function or facility, including but not limited to publicly financed low-income housing.
  • Construction activities that prevent imminent spoliation and avoid damage or unsafe conditions, or address emergency repairs as allowed under the Order. 
  • Construction not previously authorized under Proclamation 20-25 and the March 25 memo (that was in existence on March 23). In existence means construction activity needed to fulfill an obligation under a contract effective prior to March 23, 2020, or authorized by a government-issued permit obtained prior to March 23, 2020.

All active jobsites, and those associated with any jobsite, must follow the specific Phase 1 Construction Restart COVID-19 jobsite requirements. Assistance in preparing your jobsite plan can be viewed here.

To be in alignment with the Governor’s order, and for the safety of the City's inspectors and our community, all required workplans must be in place prior to any inspection process. City building inspectors have been trained on the jobsite requirements and are performing their work with personal protection equipment, including gloves, facial masks, eye protection and sanitizer to ensure the safety of our staff and the public.

All inspection requests can be scheduled by phone. Please call (206) 780-3789 to schedule an inspection.

Read the City’s April 27 COVID-19 building construction and inspection program update here.
Phone appointments now required for building and land use permit submittals
Beginning Monday, May 4, Planning and Community Development (PCD) will require phone appointments for the submittal of building and land use permits to make the process more efficient for staff and applicants.

Prior to the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order, the submittal of permits required an appointment with staff. In our initial response to the order, PCD removed the need for an appointment and allowed permits to come in by email anytime to adjust to the inability to take in permits in-person due to the City Hall closure.

Moving forward, as we improve and adjust in our response to COVID-19, staff is committed to continuing to provide excellent and timely customer service. By returning to an appointment-based submittals approach, staff can better provide the applicant individualized service with a permit specialist, rather than a series of back-and-forth emails.

The department will offer seven phone appointments daily for a total of 35 per week.

Please visit the PCD webpage to schedule an appointment.
City Council proclaims "Buy Bainbridge, Support Tomorrow Days" throughout May
The City Council proclaimed every Friday during the month of May as “Buy Bainbridge, Support Tomorrow Days” in an effort to curb the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic for the city’s small businesses.

Together, the Council, Bainbridge Island Downtown Association, and Chamber of Commerce encourage residents to support their favorite businesses (whether they are open or closed) by purchasing gift cards through the Support Local program. The portal refers customers directly to business websites, with nearly 50 participating island businesses. Participation is free to businesses and 100% of each gift card sold goes directly to business owners.

“This is a difficult time for our city, nation and world. In the face of adversity, we sincerely thank and applaud the dedication of Bainbridge Island’s small businesses as they have quickly pivoted to help fulfill essential needs and services for the island’s nearly 25,000 residents during this global health crisis,” Mayor Leslie Schneider said. “These businesses are the bedrock of our community and create a vibrant place to live, work and play for residents and visitors alike. It’s our turn to support them in their time of need.”

Businesses that are not yet on the Support Local website can still be supported by simply going to their individual websites or calling the business and purchasing gift cards directly.
Farmers Market to open May 9
The Bainbridge Island Farmers Market will return Saturday, May 9 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Town Square. Organizers ask that you please bring your mask, follow social distancing guidelines, and please leave the puppy and shopping bags at home.

The Farmers Market is limiting the number of vendors who participate, and the tables will be spaced apart. There will be a controlled entrance into the market, a hand washing station, and a hand sanitizer station.

Like grocery stores, farmers markets are among the many essential businesses that have remained open – with important safety guidelines in place. Please see Public Health - Seattle & King County's Public Health Insider for tips on how to keep you, your family, the vendors and other visitors healthy. Other information on Farmers Market guidelines can be found here.
City Council approves $60,000 Helpline House funding request
The City Council approved a $60,000 funding request to provide additional support to Helpline House’s rental assistance program during the COVID-19 pandemic. The money will support Bainbridge residents who need rental assistance due to financial insecurity related to COVID-19 impacts.

The program will allow participants to access a total of $2,200 in funding during a period of up to three months.

The City has a Housing Trust Fund (HTF), which is intended to support a range of housing services. Use of the HTF is approved by a majority vote of the City Council.

Helpline House is a nonprofit on Bainbridge Island that provides essential needs and services for the community.
Bainbridge duo aims to cycle every road during "Stay Home, Stay Healthy" order
By Water Resources Technician Christian Berg

Bainbridge Island is fortunate to have a network of scenic backroads and an integrated trail system. Dave Memke and Rusty Lhamon would know - they are currently in the midst of riding every signed or mapped road on the island (and most trails, too) during the "Stay Home, Stay Healthy" order. “We are lucky to be able to break away occasionally from what has become largely a purely virtual existence and enjoy the actual outdoors and real world,” Rusty said.

So far, Dave and Rusty have covered more than 200 miles and climbed more than 16,000 vertical feet. For perspective, the City maintains 142 miles of paved roads and another five miles of gravel roads.

"What that tells me is that they’re riding more because there are few roads that connect with each other, resulting in doubling back over roads covered. We have a lot of dead ends and cul-de-sacs that restrict transportation choices," said Engineering Project Manager Mark Epstein. "The Sustainable Transportation Plan can help identify where connections could be developed to help bicyclists (and pedestrians) get where they want to go more conveniently."

The biking duo has discovered that on a bike you can slow down and connect with your fellow islanders and be more approachable than you would be in a car. “People are just around, you can engage them really easily, it’s nice,” recounts Dave who also noted all interactions have been from a safe distance.

During the last few weeks, when many people have been working from home and not rushing off to work or after-school activities, the roads have been quieter than normal, creating optimal riding conditions. Rusty enjoys the time outside and reduced traffic. “The air seems cleaner, we’re breathing less exhaust," he said. He does note, however, that bike lanes on some of the busier roads, such as Eagle Harbor Drive and parts of Fletcher Bay Road, are "sorely missed".

Watch a short video here of Rusty and Dave on their journey to bike every road on Bainbridge.
Ofc. Dale Johnson retires after 36 years of service
Ofc. Dale Johnson retired this week after 36 years of service to the Bainbridge Island community. Ofc. Johnson was hired in 1984 as a Maintenance Electrician with Public Works for the City of Winslow. Following annexation in 1991, Johnson began his career as a Police Officer for the Bainbridge Island Police Department.

Ofc. Johnson served as a marine officer, motorcycle officer and K-9 handler. He was also on the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team. He received a Medal of Valor (highest honor) twice during his career and many other commendations and life-saving awards.

“Ofc. Johnson’s compassion for the community will be missed. Nearly every day he found a way to help or connect with the community, whether it was buying a coffee, lunch, gas for a stranded driver, or just helping someone cross the street -- he never missed an opportunity to help,” Sgt. Trevor Ziemba said. “Personally, I will miss his calm wisdom and steadfast reliability. Every day, he showed up to work perfectly polished with a positive mission-oriented attitude, our community was/is better because of him.”

Johnson graduated from Bainbridge High School in 1978. He served as a volunteer with the Bainbridge Island Volunteer Fire Department and later became a part-time paid firefighter/EMT lieutenant from 1990 until 2006.

Congratulations, Ofc. Johnson! Thank you for your service.

Watch a video tribute here.
City Council Updates
Council considers 'safe streets' proposal from non-motorized advocacy groups
The City Council formed an Ad Hoc Committee (consisting of Councilmembers Deets, Medina and Pollock) during the April 28 meeting to explore a proposal from Squeaky Wheels and Bainbridge GreenWays, a program of Sustainable Bainbridge focused on promoting and advocating for sustainable transportation modes on the island, to develop specific recommendations to support a "Safe and Healthy Streets" initiative to protect people walking and biking during the COVID-19 pandemic.

An email sent to City Council April 24 from Squeaky Wheels President Paula Holmes-Eber recommends local-access only or one-way streets. Holmes-Eber also requested City assistance to place barricades in front of designated road entrances, signs and police support.

The City Council Ad Hoc committee will work with the advocacy groups to assess options and work with specific neighborhoods on the idea of one-way street usage in selected sites.

Similar measures have been enacted in other cities, including Seattle.

Watch the City Council April 28 discussion here.
Council approves interim control extension for small wireless facilities
The City Council approved a six-month extension of the interim official control establishing design standards for small wireless facilities (SWFs).

The interim official control was first enacted in May 2019 and was extended in October 2019 for an additional six months. Due to the disruption caused by the COVID-19 public health emergency, the Planning Commission will not be able to finalize its recommendation regarding permanent design standards before the interim official control expires in May 2020. Therefore, an additional six-month extension of the interim official control will allow additional time for the Planning Commission to finalize its recommendation on permanent SWF design standards and for the Council to review the Planning Commission's recommendation.
Council continues discussion on bonus density options
The City Council held a public hearing on April 28 to receive and consider public comment regarding Ordinance No. 2020-10, which adopted an interim zoning control to suspend various options for achieving bonus density in the Winslow Mixed Use Town Center and High School Road Districts. The interim control ordinance was passed on March 10, 2020, and required a public hearing within 60 days, or by May 10.

As a result of the interim zoning control enacted by Ordinance No. 2020-10, Floor Area Ratio (“FAR”) bonus density can only be obtained or used currently under the following circumstances:

  • Providing affordable housing as defined in Chapter 18.36 BIMC in accordance with BIMC 18.12.030.E.1.;
  • Transferring unused FAR from the Islander Mobile Home Park to another parcel or parcels in the Mixed Use Town Center District for residential development in accordance with BIMC 18.12.030.E.1.; or
  • Preserving an historic structure located on a state, local, or federal register in accordance with BIMC 18.12.030.E.6. such that, when an historic structure is preserved, the square footage of that structure will not count toward the FAR calculation. 

Ordinance No. 2020-10 includes an exclusion recognizing development rights that were purchased from the City or otherwise acquired prior to the effective date of the ordinance, as well as a provision recognizing vested rights.

As directed by the City Council on Feb. 25, the Planning Commission has been tasked to bring back to Council as quickly as possible an ordinance that will reform the City’s bonus FAR program so as to only allow bonus FAR in relation to affordable housing, historic preservation, and transfer of development rights. The Planning Commission began its substantive discussion regarding the topic on March 12 and is anticipated to continue its discussion when the Planning Commission's meetings resume next month.
Council sets public hearing for self-service storage facilities moratorium
The City Council will hold a public hearing May 12 to receive and consider public comment on a six-month extension of the the self-service storage facilities moratorium. Council has also staff directed to prepare an exemption for projects under construction.

On Nov. 26, 2019, the City Council approved a six-month moratorium on the acceptance of building permit or land use permit applications for new self-service storage facilities. The moratorium applies to areas zoned as Business/Industrial and Neighborhood Centers. Self-service storage facilities are already prohibited in other zones. When discussing the moratorium, Council cited concerns about preserving these zoning areas for activities with the greatest potential for job creation and business enterprise.

The moratorium does not apply to permits required for upkeep, repair, or maintenance of existing self-service storage structures.

The moratorium is in effect until May 26, 2020 unless terminated or renewed by the City Council for one or more six-month periods.
Council to begin south ward candidate interviews next week
The City Council will begin its first round of interviews for the south ward City Council vacancy next Tuesday, May 5. A special City Council meeting will begin at 4:00 p.m. to interview all candidates and select finalists.

An additional special meeting will be held Monday, May 11 at 5:00 p.m. to interview finalists and select the new council member. The new council member would then be sworn in at the May 19 meeting and would join the Council's work at that meeting.

Public comment will not be accepted at the May 5 or May 11 meetings.
City Advisory Group Updates
Design Review Board, Planning Commission meetings to continue next month
At this time, the City plans to resume meetings of both the Planning Commission and Design Review Board in mid-May. Content for these meetings will be in alignment with any statewide restrictions.

The work of these committees is necessary due to the specific role that the Planning Commission and the Design Review Board have based on state law and City code requirements regarding the land use process.
City staff is planning that the first Planning Commission meeting would be May 14 and the first Design Review Board meeting would be May 18.
The meetings will be conducted remotely on the Zoom platform with the same options for public participation and comment as City Council meetings.
The Planning Commission meetings will continue to be streamed live on the City's website, with the video recording available following the meeting.
Important Dates
Tuesday May 5:
City Council to interview south ward City Council candidates. The meeting begins at 4 p.m.
Friday, May 8:
Deadline to apply for City Advisory Groups. Get the details here.
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Contact Information

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