City Manager's Report
Dear Bainbridge Islanders,
As we continue our evolving response to COVID-19 issues, our community keeps working together in many ways to provide support to one another and problem-solve on a wide range of issues. I also see islanders looking for ways to reinforce our core values, and promote a shared sense of resolve and resilience. These past few weeks have been long and tiring, but also encouraging in many ways.
We are all eager to begin the work of recovery. It may be that next week will bring new information from Governor Inslee to adjust some aspects of the statewide “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” orders. In which case, the City will be ready to join the entire Bainbridge Island community as we start our pivot towards the next chapter of this challenging time. I hope we will soon have clear information on what will, and won’t, be different in the time after May 4. In the meantime, please see the Governor's announcement earlier this week on his vision for the state's eventual safe return to public life amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Please continue to be particularly alert to the need to drive carefully on all roads. Drivers islandwide should slow down, and make sure to safely share the road with bicyclists, pedestrians, dog walkers and others. There are some suggestions in the community about taking this time to implement creative projects to establish one-lane, one-way roads to temporarily provide additional room for non-motorized users. I’m looking forward to hearing more specific suggestions on this so we can understand community support and neighborhood feedback.

This week, the City Council held a virtual meeting to receive a briefing on COVID-19 response efforts. This week’s briefing focused on economic impacts, as they are understood at this time. Presenters from Kitsap Economic Development Alliance (KEDA), the Bainbridge Island Downtown Association (BIDA), and the Bainbridge Island Chamber of Commerce provided information to the Council on what each organization is observing, and what programs and support networks are available to local businesses. The Council also discussed the process the Council will use to review the candidates for the South Ward Council vacancy.

Next week, the City Council will hold another 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.
For more information on these topics and other items, please see below.

Best wishes,

Morgan Smith
City Manager
COVID-19 Updates
Update on Emergency Operations Center (EOC) response
The City's Emergency Operations Center (EOC) will remain activated Monday, Wednesday and Friday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. to continue fulfilling community resource requests.

City Manager Morgan Smith provided an update on the City’s COVID-19 response during the Tuesday, April 21 City Council meeting. The update also included information from staff at Bainbridge Island Downtown Association, Bainbridge Island Chamber of Commerce and Kitsap Economic Development Alliance about economic mitigation and work to support local businesses during the "Stay Home, Stay Healthy" order. Watch the meeting here.
Governor Inslee announces plan to allow construction projects previously underway to be completed
Gov. Jay Inslee, in consultation with the state's construction industry, announced today a plan to allow current construction projects to be completed.

The recommendations were informed by workers, contractors, health and safety experts, and local government officials, for safe construction standards.

The plan includes requirements related to safety training, physical distancing, personal protective equipment (PPE), sanitation and cleanliness, monitoring employees for symptoms, and logging job site visitors.

Read the full plan here.
Kitsap County closes drive-thru testing site
The drive-thru testing site in Bremerton has closed.The Kitsap County Emergency Operations Center has been in contact with local health care providers, and they have reported that they have ample capacity to handle testing for those who need it.

Read the full update from Kitsap County here.
Kitsap Public Health update
As of today (April 24), Kitsap Public Helath reports 145 positive COVID-19 cases in Kitsap County.

On April 21, Kitsap Public Health announced a second death in Kitsap County associated with COVID-19. The community member who died was an older adult with underlying health conditions.

Click here for the latest COVID-19 test results and health information from Kitsap Public Health.
City Council Updates
City Council to meet next week by video conference
The City Council will host a meeting next week on Tuesday, April 28 using the Zoom video conference platform.

The public will still be able to watch the meeting through the City's usual platforms:
  • City livestream: please visit the City Council agenda page here (click on "In Progress" when the meeting starts.

  • Watch the live broadcast on Bremerton Kitsap Access Television (BKAT) (Ch. 12 on Comcast & Ch. 3 on WAVE).

There will be several items where public comment will be allowed during the meeting. Details will be included in the City Council agenda on how to participate in the Zoom video conference and share your comments. Click here to sign up to receive the agenda by email when it's published later today.
City Council to consider Helpline House request for additional rental assistance amid COVID-19 pandemic
During the April 28 video conference meeting, the City Council will discuss a request from Helpline House for $60,000 in funding to support Bainbridge residents who need rental assistance due to financial insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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.

The City Council is expected to vote on the request during the April 28 meeting.

Helpline House is a nonprofit on Bainbridge Island that provides essential needs and services for the community. More details on the request will be included in the April 28 City Council agenda that will be published later today.
City Council to hold April 28 public hearing on small wireless facilities design standards
The City Council will hold a public hearing April 28 by video conference to consider 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 is proposed to 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.

In 2018, the FCC adopted new regulations governing the roll out of SWFs, which includes telecommunications equipment mounted on poles, wires, buildings, etc. meant to facilitate cell phone reception and the transfer of wireless data. In 2019, then Mayor Kol Medina signed and sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on behalf of the Council expressing concern with federal regulations relating to SWFs on Bainbridge Island. The City Council is concerned that the new federal regulations unreasonably restrict the City's authority to regulate use of the City right of way. The Council is also concerned with the lack of scientific study on the environmental and health impacts of 5G technology, which is the latest generation of SWFs.

Due to broad federal preemption, the City is limited in how it can regulate the rollout of SWFs on Bainbridge Island. While limited by federal law, the City does retain some authority over SWFs, including design standards. However, if the City doesn't adopt permanent design standards then it loses what ability it has to regulate what SWFs will look like and where they can be placed on the island.

In 2019, the City Council directed staff to continue work on permanent design standards for SWFs and referred the matter to the Planning Commission for its review and recommendation. Once the Planning Commission completes its work, there will be additional opportunity for public comment during a future Planning Commission public hearing and during a future City Council business meeting (dates to be determined).

For information on how to provide public comment during the April 28 hearing, please see the City Council agenda when it's published later today.
City Council to hold public hearing on density bonus options
The City Council will hold a public hearing during the April 28 meeting to allow the public an opportunity to comment on the interim zoning control ordinance related to Floor Area Ratio (“FAR”) density bonus options ( Ordinance 2020-10).

The hearing must be held within 60 days of adoption of the interim zoning control ordinance. The ordinance was adopted March 10 on an emergency basis and became effective immediately.

The interim control pauses the use of bonus FAR (which increases density) for some types of projects in some instances. The pause allows the Council to study whether the applicability and use of certain types of bonus density options are meeting what is intended, including related to the Comprehensive Plan.

Floor area is a form of measurement used to determine the amount of square footage that can be constructed on a property. Each property in the Mixed Use Town Center and High School Road zoning districts has a base and bonus floor area ratio that is allowed for residential, commercial, and mixed use projects.

The interim zoning control ordinance suspends the applicability and use of bonus floor area ratio as provided in BIMC 18.12.030.E. (dimensional standards) and the related provisions described in the ordinance, except for subsections E.1. (related to Optional Affordable Housing) and E.6. (related to Historic Structure Preservation).

The ordinance excludes development projects that filed a complete land use permit application with the City and have purchased from the City or otherwise acquired development rights, including related to bonus floor area ratio, through an executed covenant, development agreement, or contract, prior to the effective date of the ordinance (March 10).

The general purpose of the bonus FAR option has been to provide an incentive program to achieve a broad range of community benefits and to implement the Comprehensive Plan and Winslow Master Plan. For example, when an applicant elected to purchase bonus FAR from the City, the proceeds were typically divided as follows: 60% was put toward the preservation of agricultural land on the island, and 40% was put toward the purchase of public amenities (like traffic calming, pocket parks, street trees, or pedestrian connections). In some circumstances, 100% of the fees were designated for the preservation of agricultural land (see Resolution No. 2001-54).

As a result of the Council’s March 10 action, FAR bonus density, which is currently available in the Mixed Use Town Center and High School Road Districts, can only be obtained or used at this time 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 in the Mixed Use Town Center 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.  

See the April 14 Council meeting for more information.

In a separate action during the February 25 business meeting, the Council requested that City staff work with the Planning Commission to develop reforms to the current Code that would allow the use of bonus FAR only for the purposes of providing affordable housing, historic preservation, or transfer of development rights. That effort will result in a proposed ordinance that will return to the Council for consideration of approval.

For information on how to provide public comment during the April 28 hearing, please see the City Council agenda when it's published later today.
City Council to discuss self-service storage facilities moratorium next week
During the April 28 meeting, City Council will discuss options related to the self-service storage facilities moratorium, and will consider whether to let the moratorium expire in late May or to instead set a public hearing for May 12 to consider an extension until late November.

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 (Lynwood Center, Island Center, and Rolling Bay). 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.
City receives 10 applications for south ward City Council vacancy
The City received 10 applications for the south ward City Council vacancy. View the applications here.

During the April 21 meeting, Council discussed the process the Council will use for filling the vacancy. On 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
City seeking volunteers to serve on committees
Want to make a difference in our community? Apply to serve on a City Advisory Group. There are openings on committees related to land use, climate change, historic preservation, and more. A list of all the openings and an online application can be found here.

Applications are due by 4 p.m. Friday, May 8.

Questions? Contact Executive Assistant Roz Lassoff at
City Council to discuss future Planning Commission, Design Review Board meetings
During the April 28 meeting, City Council will discuss plans to resume Planning Commission and Design Review Board meetings in May.

Consideration of resuming 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 suggest that the first Planning Commission meeting be planned for May 14, 2020, and the first Design Review Board meeting would be May 18, 2020.

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. The topics covered will be in alignment with any Governor's orders in place at that time.
Other Updates
Welcome, Chief Clark!
We’re pleased to welcome our new Police Chief Joe Clark who was sworn in Monday, April 20. City Clerk Christine Brown administered the oath of office in a video conference. A formal swearing-in ceremony will occur at a later date. Welcome, Chief Clark!
Staff Spotlight: City Arborist Nick Snyder
On this National Arbor Day, a holiday when people are encouraged to plant trees, we'd like to recognize City Arborist Nick Snyder.

Nick Snyder can’t remember a time when he didn’t love trees. There were plenty of them near the home in Snohomish where he grew up. “My friends and I were constantly running around in the woods, exploring,” he shared. “But ultimately, my true love for trees came about when I was able to know what I was looking at.” That knowledge came later; primarily while earning a degree from the University of Washington in resource management from the School of Forestry.

With his degree in hand, he started his own business as a private arborist, offering pruning services and consultations for residents in and around Seattle. In 2016, he moved to Bainbridge Island; his wife was born on the island and the couple owns a small homestead near the Grand Forest. After nine years of working as a private arborist, his desire to work as part of a team and to prioritize education and interaction with the public led him to apply for the City’s first full-time arborist staff position. He has been in the position for six months and is thrilled to “get to talk about trees all day.”

Snyder’s main role in the position is to act as a point of information for the community. City code regulations for trees on the island are complex; part of his job is to make them easier to understand. Nick is currently working on a new tree ordinance revising tree regulations to improve readability of the City’s code.

In 2019, the City Council directed staff to move forward with developing a new tree ordinance following review of a consulting arborists’ report of the City’s current tree regulation codes, staff response and Council discussion.

With a dense town center, dedicated forest land, agricultural lands, and critical areas, Nick acknowledged that the city is similar to a mini county in a lot of ways. “Having a code that everybody can understand, and that protects our extensive natural resources – including Puget Sound – is difficult,” he shared.

He also inspects trees for the City, reviews all clearing permits and responds to complaints of illegal clearing. The most frequently asked question Snyder gets asked is, “How many trees can I cut without a permit?” He grinned when saying, “I wish it was, ‘How many trees can I plant without a permit?’” He was quick to point out that most residents on the island love trees and are simply trying to follow the rules. However, stewardship of the island’s trees is a topic he is passionate about and takes seriously.

“I would love to be able to incentivize people to restore and steward their property,” he said. “Because so much of the island is private property, ultimately it comes down to individuals choosing to look toward the future and imagine how today’s actions might look five, ten, or twenty years down the line.”

Nick believes that it is important for regulations to consider flexibility to address unforeseen circumstances, such as a large section of the forest being killed by beetles or other unknown effects of climate change. He stressed the importance of having the ability to react quickly when things change; having an arborist on staff makes responding to events much more efficient. Rather than having to hire a private arborist to come weeks later or having a planner who is not a trained professional be the one to make decisions, Snyder can respond within a day to hazardous tree situations.

No matter what he’s doing, he’s doing what he loves. “I love interacting with people, my coworkers, the public. We have a really great community on the island, where most people are interested in trees and receptive to learning more.” Another of his favorite aspects about the island is the amount of open space; he regularly takes advantage of living so close to trails by going hiking with his wife, dog, and goats (his goats carry their gear!).

For more information on current tree regulations, please visit the City's Tree Regulations webpage. Nick can be reached at
Bainbridge business earns Earth Day award
Congratutions to the owners of Bainbridge Island-based Modern Collision Rebuild & Service for receiving an Earth Day award from Kitsap County Public Works and the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC).

The owners of Modern Collision Rebuild & Service, brothers Aaron and Micah Strom, have ensured that their business remains a leader in sustainable practices since first winning an Earth Day award twenty years ago, according to an announcement released this week by Kitsap County.Their policies and procedures ensure reduced environmental impact and protect the community, such as reducing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and improving air quality. They are adamant about properly disposing of hazardous waste products and recycling, and have also adopted a state highway for litter cleanup. Their conscious effort to provide eco-friendly services benefits our environment and our community.

The Earth Day awards celebrate members of the community who provide outstanding environmental stewardship for our county. This year’s winners were publicly nominated for their service towards sustainability, recycling, litter control, habitat protection, and renewable energy. Read the full announcement and learn about the other Earth Day award recipients here.

Micah Strom serves on the City's Island Center Subarea Planning Committee.
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Contact Information

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