Category Archives: City Hall

Council narrows site options for police headquarters

Bainbridge Island police car

City Council nixed two locations from its site list for a new Bainbridge Island Police headquarters Tuesday night.

The council discussed four different options, removing the Visconsi development location and the city-owned gravel lot by City Hall, because both sites were viewed problematic locations.

Expansion at the gravel lot could affect future retail development options downtown, while the Visconsi location was seen as too far away from City Hall as well as having potential traffic issues.

The two locations still being considered are a site on Madison Avenue, adjacent to the north of City Hall, and 1.89-acres along New Brooklyn Road by Bainbridge Island Fire Station 21 on Madison Avenue, which was assessed for $232,000. A nearby 2.1 acre parcel to the New Brooklyn Road site sold for $1.3 million in November 2013, according to city documents.

The city will not provide any additional information on the property north of City Hall at this time, said City Spokeswoman Kellie Stickney.

Last fall, City Council voted 5-2 against a joint police and fire station.

City Manager Doug Schulze said the goal was to have the police headquarters near City Hall, while other council members voiced concerns about being a tenant to the fire department.

A Seattle architectural firm presented the idea of a joint facility by the fire station along New Brooklyn Road, where the city is considering purchasing 1.89 acres for a police station.

The architectural firm found in June that building a joint facility would cost $15.3 million, versus $17.6 million for building them separately. A June phone poll of 200 island residents found 87 percent favored a combined facility.

While location was the primary concern for the Visconsi location, couple council members had issue with the price tag of the site as well.

The Visconsi $2.05 million price tag includes the land, cost of a new road, utilities and project costs.

Bradley Goldberg, vice president of development, told Schulze in an email earlier this month there would need to be a “quick close” in 60 to 90 days to sell the city the land at $2.05 million.

Councilman Wayne Roth said he saw the Visconsi development offer as a “really strong invitation not to located there,” because the city had repeatedly asked for more information and a presentation nearly two months ago that were never provided.

The city had asked about the option to own the land after a lease, but was instead given a rent option.

Last month, Visconsi developers sent the city a letter of intent, outlining a general 20-year rental agreement with the city. The 24,500 square-foot building would be two stories. Rent would start at $943,250 a year and increase 10 percent every five years, being about $1.255 a year after 15 years, totaling more than $21 million over 20 years. The city would have the option to renew the lease every five years before an increase with the ability to end the lease with one year notice.

The city would be responsible for traffic impact fees, wiring and building the interior, including drywall, first floor slab, flooring and lighting.

The city is continuing to seeking other sites.

This post was updated to correct who owns the property on Madison Avenue by City Hall and typos from the City Council agenda, including information for the New Brooklyn Road property.

Michael Scott joins the City Council

Michael Scott, a Seattle lawyer, was appointed to the Bainbridge Island City Council by a 4-2 vote Thursday. RACHEL ANNE SEYMOUR / KITSAP SUN
Michael Scott, a Seattle lawyer, was appointed to the Bainbridge Island City Council by a 4-2 vote Thursday. RACHEL ANNE SEYMOUR / KITSAP SUN

Michael Scott — no, not Michael Scott from The Office — became the new Bainbridge Island council member by a 4-2 vote Thursday night.

Scott, an attorney with Hillis Clark Martin & Peterson in Seattle, has lived on the island since 1989. And he served on the Bainbridge Island School Board from 2001 to 2004.

His law practice focuses on litigation between commercial disputes, as well as arbitration and mediation.

Scott is capable of working with a “strong-willed group of people,” Councilman Val Tollefson said.

Tollefson also noted his work with the school board and community groups.

Scott was a board member of Elderhealth Northwest — now Full Life Care — from 1992 until 1998, and is a committee member of Pride Foundation, a regional organization that “works to expand opportunities and advance full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people across the Northwest.”

Scott said in his application for the position that his top three priorities as a council member would be balancing development with open space, improving infrastructure surrounding the ferry terminal and maintaining economic business centers — downtown Winslow, Lynwood Center and Rolling Bay, among others.

Councilman Roger Townsend said that Scott’s interest in running in the November election and his commitment to the position long-term impressed him.

Scott was one of two candidates who said they would be interested in running for election. John Green was the other candidate. The three others, Monica Aufrecht, Gary Pettersen and Joe Levan, said they would consider running after weighing the job responsibilities with their careers and family lives.

Greg Millerd withdrew his application after he realized he could not attend the interview Thursday night.

Roger Townsend, Wayne Roth, Sarah Blossom and Mayor Anne Blair voted for Scott.

Steve Bonkowski voted for Monica Aufrecht and Val Tollefson voted for Joe Levan.

Check the Kitsap Sun website for a full story tomorrow.

Don’t even think about cheese Friday

Kitsap Sun file photo
Kitsap Sun file photo

Cheese — the iconic image of Wisconsin — isn’t allowed at City Hall this Blue Friday, as the Seahawks prepare to take on the Packers on Sunday in Seattle.

City Manager Doug Schulze has banned the consumption of cheese and cheese-flavored foods in City Hall on Jan. 16, 2015, and everyone is talking about it. The story has hit national news and is being reported by ESPN, Yahoo, CBS and others.

Because the ban includes all cheese flavored foods, we’re guessing Cheese Whiz is included, but who eats that stuff anyway?

Packers fans also are banning Seattle related items in a battle of what team has the most ridiculous — err, best — fans. Some Wisconsin radio stations are refusing to play music by Seattle-based musicians like Nirvana and Heart.

Surprisingly enough, there are some Packers fans living on Bainbridge Island.

And if any of them really want to ruffle some Seahawks feathers in opposition of the ban, they can take their cheese into City Hall in a plastic bag.

One city council candidate withdraws application

Greg Millerd has withdrawn his application for the City Council’s open seat after realizing he could not make Thursday night’s interviews for the position.

During the Jan. 13 council meeting, the board discussed letting Millerd participate by phone or Skype because he had a family event planned out of town. He told the council he did not know when or where he would have cellphone service.

The five remaining candidates are Monica Aufrecht, John Green, Joe Levan, Gary Pettersen and Michael Scott.

You can read their bios on a previous blog post.

Revisiting waterfront park’s priorities

Participants in a city park visioning meeting walk the Waterfront trail in 2013. Photo by TAD SOOTER / KITSAP SUN
Participants in a city park visioning meeting walk the Waterfront trail in 2013. Photo by TAD SOOTER / KITSAP SUN

Eagle Harbor Waterfront Park and its new dock will be back on the city council agenda after the board rescinded last week’s vote following public outcry on the decision to prioritize the dock.

During the Jan. 6, the council voted 4-2 to phase in park construction as funds are available, because anticipated grant money didn’t come through and left the city $835,000 short on the project.

Council members disputed the original vision of the park priority and some noted the project had been listed as an information only item on last week’s agenda.

Councilman Wayne Roth and Mayor Anne Blair said the motion that passed last week in favor of prioritizing a new dock was also unclear.

Roth, who voted against last week’s motion, said that he isn’t against a new dock and had understood funding for it would be dealt with depending on what grant money was available.

The new dock is estimated to cost a little more than $2 million, and the park improvements about $1 million. Without the grant funds, the city has $2,232,000 for the project, leaving less than $250,000 for the park after paying for the dock.

Sarah Blossom and Steve Bonkowski voted against rescinding the vote Tuesday night.

Bonkowski said he didn’t believe the council was going in the wrong direction by prioritizing the dock, which he views as dangerous.

The city began looking at updating waterfront park last summer to improve the 5.5-acre park space and dock, which is more than 30 years old. Its 20 concrete floats and 23 piles are deteriorating, and also contain toxic creosote.

Along with a new dock, park improvements would include connecting trails to neighborhoods, along with ADA accessible paths and a viewing plaza or vendor area. The current plans call for turning the tennis court into a “multiuse area.”

Bonkowski said he understand previous discussions on the park concept to be for water access and “water access includes a dock.”

The project has been added to the Jan. 20 agenda for discussion and public comment.

A full story will be online with the Kitsap Sun on Wednesday.

Mother-in-law houses could get size boost

Increasing the allowed size of accessory dwelling units, commonly called mother-in-law houses, could be one way Bainbridge Island handles affordable housing and density concerns.

The city’s current code says mother-in-law units cannot be larger than 800 square feet.

Local architect Jeb Thornburg told the council that is a “reasonably sized” single person or couple’s home, although a 900-square-feet mother-in-law unit could have two bedrooms and be more family friendly or allow for live-in caregivers.

Thornburg said there could be “significant market demand, significant market value” by increasing the threshold.

Poulsbo also has an 800 square-feet limit for mother-in-law units with the stipulation that they can be bigger if the unit is located on the ground floor or a basement.

The county allows 900 square-feet or 50 percent of the primary residence’s square footage, whichever is smaller.

Port Orchard has the same restrictions as the county, while Bremerton allows for the largest mother-in-law units at 1,000 square feet or 60 percent of the primary residence’s square footage, whichever is smaller. Bremerton also has a minimum of 300 square feet.

The city of Bainbridge Island has permitted 280 mother-in-law units since 1992, although others could have been permitted by the county or built without permits, said Kathy Cook, City Planning and Community Development director.

The council did not take any action with plans to discuss the increase at another meeting.

City manager’s review is out, goals for 2015 set

Bainbridge Island City Manager Doug Schulze at City Hall in 2013. Photo by MEEGAN M. REID / KITSAP SUN
Bainbridge Island City Manager Doug Schulze at City Hall in 2013. Photo by MEEGAN M. REID / KITSAP SUN

The City Council is set to approve the city manager’s performance evaluation Tuesday night.

Doug Schulze has been with Bainbridge Island since the City Council tabbed him for the position in late 2012.

Before he became city manager, the city had been through five city managers — two of which were interims — in a four-year span.

Schulze’s recent evaluation says that the council is “pleased” overall with his performance in 2014, rating his leadership at 8.29 on a 1-10 scale.

The three areas the council members all ranked his work as “excellent” were ethics, job knowledge and professional development.

The areas Schulze could improve on are delegating, forging comprises and risk management, the evaluation says.

It also says a couple council members “perceive the City Manager to be too cautious and risk adverse [sic]. This could be tied to comments under the Timing category in which some Councilors suggested that Doug’s cautiousness may translate into him taking too long to make a decision or implement a decision.”

The council also laid out the city manager’s goals for this year:

  1. Ensure the council has informed and engaging discussions and debates about public policy.
  2. Keep the council informed about city progress in transforming into a High Performing Organization.
  3. Reach agreement with the council on four to six responsibilities that he will be responsible for and provide quarterly updates on.

Read the full review and goals.

Other items on the Jan. 13 agenda include potentially changing the land clearing code and going over the appointment process for a new City Council member, which is set to happen Thursday.

Interviews with the six candidates start at 6 p.m. Thursday followed by an executive session.

The council will publicly vote on the appointee that same night.

Six candidates eye central ward vacancy

Six candidates are looking to fill the central ward vacancy on the Bainbridge Island City Council since David Ward resigned at the end of last year.

The six that have applied for the position are Monica Aufrecht, John Green, Joe Levan, Greg Millerd, Gary Pettersen and Michael Scott.

The council will interview candidates during a public meeting this month before voting on and choosing the new council member to finish Ward’s term, which ends in December 2015. Council members serve four year terms, earning $1,000 a month. The mayor earns $1,250 a month.

MONICA AUFRECHT

Aufrecht is a college instructor who moved to the island in 2012. She earned a Ph.D in philosophy from the University of Washington, where she is now an instructor. She also teaches at Seattle Central College.

Last year, she served as a committee member for the Metropolitan Parks and Recreation District for the island, helping with the new Strawberry Hill Dog Park.

Aufrecht’s top three priorities on the council would be affordable housing, reducing pollution in Puget Sound and traffic and safety.

JOHN GREEN

Green owns and manages his own development and construction company on the island, where he has lived for 20 years. With his business he has worked with city planners, the public works department and city council, among other government agencies.

Green ran for the central ward position in 2011, losing in the primary election with 14.35 percent of the vote.

Green’s top three priorities would be the comprehensive plan, stormwater cleanup and fiscal responsibilities. He suggested “outsourcing” and raising the car tab fee, which is set at $20. Raising the car tab fee would require a vote from residents.

JOE LEVAN

Levan has lived on the island since 1995, and is an attorney currently working for the Municipal Research and Services Center in Seattle. He has provided legal services to multiple cities and served as interim assistant city manager of Maple Valley in 2007, where he also served as city attorney.

Levan earned two bachelor’s degrees from Seattle University in 1989, before earning his law degree from the same college a decade later.

He ran for the central ward position in 2011, losing in the general election to David Ward by about 1,000 votes.

Levan’s three priorities would be a smooth transition after Ward’s resignation, creating a safe and green community, as well as a more diversified economy.

GREG MILLERD

Millerd is a commercial real estate agent with Cushman & Wakefield, where he has been for about 20 years.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and mass community cation from the University of Wisconsin before earning a masters in business at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California.

Millerd’s top two priorities would be to evaluate the city’s current real estate portfolio and review having a joint police and fire station. “It makes no sense to me that both the fire departments and police department would have unique facilities,” he wrote in his application. The city council voted 5-2 against a combination station last fall.

GARY PETTERSEN

Petterson, who most recently worked for Boeing Everett plant, has served on the planning commissioner for Winslow and Bainbridge Island.

He worked most of his career as a draftsman and computer programmer throughout the greater Seattle area.

Petterson also served in the Army from 1967 to 1971.

His top three priorities would be keeping downtown Winslow pedestrian friendly, help resolve ferry traffic congestion and broadcasting city council meetings again.

Bainbridge Island Television, which use to broadcast council meetings, went off air in 2010. The meetings can be streamed lived from the city’s website or viewed on BKAT.

MICHAEL SCOTT

Scott, an attorney with Hillis Clark Martin & Peterson in Seattle, has lived on the island since 1989. And he served on the Bainbridge Island School Board from 2001 to 2004.

His law practice focuses on litigation between commercial disputes, as well as arbitration and mediation.

Scott’s top three priorities as a council member would be balancing development with open space, improving infrastructure surrounding the ferry terminal and maintaining economic business centers — downtown Winslow, Lynwood Center and Rolling Bay, among others.

Help us rank the top 10 Islander stories of 2014

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The tugboat Pacific Knight helps maneuver the state ferry Tacoma to the Bainbridge Island dock after it lost power while making the 12:20 p.m. sailing from Seattle to Bainbridge on July 29, 2014. MEEGAN M. REID / KITSAP SUN

We are asking readers to rank the top Bainbridge Islander stories from this past year in a survey. The top 10 will be posted on this blog.

You can take the survey here.

If you need to refresh your memory on a story,  they are listed below in no particular order with links:

 

Public participation encouraged for updating Comprehensive Plan

If you’re either happy or not pleased about the Visconsi shopping complex or other recent moves by the city or City Council, Bainbridge Island residents will get a chance to have their voice heard as the city begins working on updating its Comprehensive Plan at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 11.

As part of Thursday’s regularly scheduled Planning Commission meeting held in the Council Chamber, residents will learn how the recently created Comprehensive Plan Update-Navigate Bainbridge Steering Committee will develop a plan for the public’s involvement in the update.

The Steering Committee is comprised of City Council members Mayor Anne Blair, Sarah Blossom and Val Tollefson and Planning Commissioners Mack Pearl, Maradel Gale and Mike Lewars. The committee will work closely with city staff to help guide updating the Comprehensive Plan.

Developing the initial components of a public participation plan is the first task for the Steering Committee. The plan for public participation will be presented to residents attending Thursday’s meeting, which residents are encouraged to attend.

For more information about the Comprehensive Plan Update-Navigate Bainbridge, and participation, visit www.bainbridgewa.gov/615/Navigate-Bainbridge-Comprehensive-Plan-U. People can also sign-up to receive email updates on the Comprehensive Plan Update by going to www.bainbridgewa.gov/list.aspx and choosing Navigate Bainbridge.

Questions about the Comprehensive Update-Navigate Bainbridge can also be emailed to pcd@bainbridgewa.gov or by calling Special Project Planner Jennifer Sutton, in the city’s Department of Planning & Community Development, at 206-842-3772.

City Council noticing proliferation of sandwich boards

Photo by Ethan Fowler / Special to the Kitsap Sun A pedestrian crosses Ericksen Avenue as he walks along Winslow Way next to a number of business sandwich boards.
Photo by Ethan Fowler / Special to the Kitsap Sun
A pedestrian crosses Ericksen Avenue as he walks along Winslow Way next to a number of business sandwich boards.

Even though last month the Bainbridge City Council pleased Winslow Way merchants with the process it and the city took in updating an ordinance for the retail use of sidewalks for cafes and displays, the City Council is still keeping a close eye on the seemingly growing use of sandwich boards by island businesses.

At the July 21 meeting, council member Steve Bonkowski wanted to add an item under council discussion about sandwich boards since a number of people had made comments about the influx of sandwich boards and trees advertising a hospital on public land. Bonkowski said he would refrain from talking about the use of the trees for another time and would focus the discussion on sandwich boards.

“At least to me, there are a lot more (sandwich boards) than I ever envisioned possible,” Bonkowski said. “It’s almost as if we’re deforesting the island to make sandwich boards.”

Bonkowski said it appeared there were two different varieties of sandwich boards: ones that advertise to consumers to “come on in” and others that direct the locations of businesses.

City Manager Doug Schulze said that on July 21 that the city’s Code Compliance officer found 39 signs from Madison Avenue, along Winslow Way, to State Route 305 with two violations. On July 18, the Code Compliance officer found 43 signs and only two violations for multiple signs that were off-site.

Schulze said he’s aware businesses use sandwich boards also on High School Road.

During the recent economic downturn, Schulze said cities often gave businesses more latitude on sandwich boards for advertising. Schulze also used a PowerPoint presentation to show the City Council some examples of how cities, including Seattle, use uniform directional signs to direct people to businesses.

“It doesn’t look like it’s a matter of people not complying with the current ordinance, it looks like it’s just what the current ordinance allows,” Schulze said. “What I would suggest is we look at the (sign) ordinance, but at the same time that we’re working with the businesses so that we can find some solutions that can work with the businesses as well. Rather than just looking at eliminating the signage.”

Bonkowski then asked Schulze whether something could be done this summer to impact the issue.

“I think it would be pretty difficult to get something constructed and installed that quickly,” Schulze said. “But, I think, certainly for next summer, it’s a reasonable timeframe.”

Council member Wayne Roth noted there are city directories in the Bainbridge ferry terminal and Columbia Bank that are updated, already in place and providing solutions to the situation. Roth said he’s used them many times with tourists who needed help finding food and clothing locations.

“There’s always been – old Winslow Way/new Winslow Way – some sandwich boards somewhere,” Roth said. “But it is now that everyone has one out and ‘Now I need one, too, (philosophy)’ and it has gotten to be … hard to find a business without one.”

Schulze said he planned to have a discussion with the business community about sandwich boards in the near future and revisit the issue with the City Council possibly as early as September.

Any change in the city’s sign ordinance would require public hearings.

Study indicates Bainbridge boasts large tenured city workforce

During a presentation on a citywide study of job classification and compensation by Milliman Inc. of Seattle, Bainbridge City Council members learned during Monday night’s meeting that Bainbridge Island city employees receive approximately 9 percent above the market median (50th percentile) when comparing actual salaries.

The compensation analysis was from 34 cities that responded to Milliman’s request. Most of the responding cities were primarily from Washington, but some were from Oregon, said Greg McNutt, a compensation consultant and principal with Milliman. Yakima, Renton, Spokane Valley, Marysville and Lakewood were some of the municipalities that responded.

“You have a lot of tenured people here,” McNutt told the Council. “You have 86 percent of the people that are at the top step.”

Some of the recommendations given by McNutt for managing the city’s staff included:

— Managing base salaries toward its intended market position. This action will maintain desired market target.

— Maintaining benefits in their current form. This will provide employees both the opportunity to save for retirement and act as a safety net against unforeseen health issues.

— Maintaining salary structured at their current range width, but create mores steps within each grade with annual increments of approximately 3 percent between steps. This would cause pay progression problems to diminish over time.

— Manage high fixed costs of base salaries.

McNutt’s presentation to the City Council was for information only and no action was taken on it.