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.
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
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.
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.
information about the Comprehensive Plan Update-Navigate
Bainbridge, and participation, visit
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
about the Comprehensive Update-Navigate Bainbridge can also be
emailed to email@example.com or by calling Special Project
Planner Jennifer Sutton, in the city’s Department of Planning &
Community Development, at 206-842-3772.
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
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
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
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.
Kellie Stickney beat out at least 29 other applicants to be
named the city’s community engagement specialist – a new
position that aims to help Bainbridge Island do a better job
of telling its story.
The advertisement for the opening boasted an
annual salary ranging from $62,595 to $78,499.
Stickney, 31, comes to the island with 10 years of experience
working with nonprofits and cities such as Lynnwood and
Sea-Tac. For the past four years, she has worked as the marketing
and outreach director for Seattle’s SustainableWorks, a nonprofit
general contractor and energy efficiency program.
“It is an honor to have the opportunity to use my skills
and experience to serve the residents of Bainbridge Island as
their community engagement specialist,” said Stickney, who
will start her new job March 10. “I’m looking forward to
working with residents and city staff to build an even
stronger and more connected Bainbridge community.”
Stickney, who was born and raised in Hermiston, Ore.,
earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Gonzaga
University in 2004 and a master’s of public administration
from the University of Washington in 2009.
By Ethan Fowler
Special to the Kitsap Sun
PORT ORCHARD — Kitsap County Superior Court Judge Jeanette Dalton
denied a motion to dismiss a Public Records Act complaint Friday
and forced a hearing to determine whether the act was violated for
9 a.m. March 24.
The Public Records Act (PRA) complaint by plaintiffs Althea
Paulson, a political blogger for her website Bainbridge Notebook,
and Bob Fortner, a self-described community watchdog, alleges two
current Council members, Steve Bonkowski and David Ward, along with
former Council member Debbie Lester, used personal email accounts
to conduct city business last year about the water utility.
In January, Lester was dropped from the amended complaint.
“I made (Judge Dalton) an argument that she hadn’t even thought
about,” said Dan Mallove, attorney for the plaintiffs and Paulson’s
husband, after 31-minute hearing. “The essence of the argument was
when the council members refused to allow inspection of the hard
drives of their personal computers, they were placing their own
individual interests ahead of the community because they’re
exposing the city to liability if there are responsive public
documents on their computers and they’re not produced. And that’s a
violation of the PRA.
“If they are placing their own individual interest ahead of the
city and they’re wrong, then they should be personally liable for
that, not the city.”
As she was leaving the courthouse following the hearing, attorney
Jessica Goldman, who represents Ward and Bonkowski, said the March
24 hearing was “unwarranted.” According to her motion to dismiss
filing, Goldman said the city did “conduct an adequate search and
provided reasonably timely access to the requested public
Mallove said Lester produced more than 100 documents, and Ward and
Bonkowski fewer than 10 documents. In phone interviews Monday,
Bonkowski confirmed Mallove’s document figure, but Ward said
he had submitted “substantially more than 10 documents.”
“They were party to scores of these emails that Lester produced,”
Mallove said. “We’re looking for the complete thread of the
conversation and how do we know what’s not being produced. The
public is at a disadvantage because we don’t know what’s out
Dalton told both sides in the case that she thought the March 24
hearing could require a half day in court.
BAINBRIDGE ISLAND – The seven members of Bainbridge’s City
unanimously moved in a direction to change its weekly meeting
from Wednesdays to Tuesdays at its all-day retreat held at the
Bainbridge Island Museum of Art Jan. 24.
New council member Val Tollefson first broached the idea of
the day the Council meets at the Jan. 15 meeting. He cited the
would allow more time for city staff to do Council work since
be more days to work before weekends and that council members would
able to read agendas on weekends.
At the retreat, Council member David Ward said he thought the
day of Wednesday was “horrible” due to the challenges it causes
he needs to book flights around it due to his work.
Mayor Anne Blair said before the day the Council meets could
it would have to be formalized through a vote at an upcoming
because the date is set by an ordinance. Prior to meeting on
Wednesdays starting in 2002, the Council met on Thursdays from
1991-2001, on Mondays from 1965 to 1991 and on Tuesdays from 1947
1965, City Clerk Roz Lassoff said.
In addition to changing when the Council meets, the Council
talked about possibly moving the location of its work sessions
various centers around the island and conducting those meetings
tables instead of their elevated Council seats. This would promote
“more free flow” and exchange of ideas, Council member Roger
The Council also discussed the projects it wanted to complete by
end of 2014 with moderator Patrick Ibarra, who traveled
Glendale, Ariz. Looking at the priorities through lenses of
“need” and “nice,” the Council’s projects included:
— Shoreline Management Program
— Biennium budget
— Comprehensive Plan (land use)
— Completing all the road projects
— Transportation Master Plan draft
— Waterfront Park plan completed and agreed upon
— Telecommunications ordinance passed with
companies to improve the island’s cell phone service
— Agriculture ordinance, possibly to include
marijuana and trees
— Plans to address city workforce demographics
“This is a lot of work,” Ibarra told the Council at the
the eight-hour meeting. “You’re setting yourself up for a big
The lattice towers were installed in the late 1960s and are
reaching the end of their usable lifespans. PSE plans to replace
the towers with four steel poles. The upgrade will help prevent
transmission lines from failing and interrupting the island’s power
supply, according the the PSE project page.
“By replacing the two existing lattice towers with four new
steel poles, we can ensure the transmission lines will remain safe
and reliable for many years to come.”
PSE is applying for city permits for the project this fall.
Construction will likely take place in the summer of 2014 or
A public participation meeting for the project is scheduled from
4-7 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall. A short presentation will be given
at about 5:30 p.m. The meeting is a requirement of the permit
Six of the eight semifinalists are from Washington. One
semifinalist is from Texas, and one is from Indiana. The
semifinalists will complete a brief online interview. Finalists
will be selected Oct. 1. The finalists will visit the island in
mid-October for more extensive interviews.
The city is searching for a permanent replacement for Lance
resigned this spring. John Cunningham is serving as interim
public works director.
The City Council
awarded a $700,000 contract for road reconstruction and
shoulder widening in July and a public outreach meeting was held
Aug. 19. The project was supposed to begin late this summer
but the contractor ran into scheduling conflicts with private
utility companies working in the area said Interim Public Works
Director John Cunningham. With rainy weather descending, the work
was postponed until the spring of 2014.
“The last thing we want to do is open it up and not get it paved
before the wet winter weather hits here,” Cunningham said during a
recent briefing to the City Council.
This is the second phase of work on Fort Ward Hill Road.
Contractors will rebuild the street between Bolero Drive and Sunny
Hill Circle, and widen shoulders to 5 feet on both sides. An
additional 700 feet of guardrail, rockeries and drainage will be
The first phase of the project rebuilt the roadway between
Country Club Road and Bolero Drive in 2008.
As promised, new City Manager Doug Schulze has made public
outreach a priority.
City Hall has taken gradual steps to up its web presence over
the last year, including the launch of a city manager Twitter account this
week. It’s also experimenting with new online tools for
Here are some outreach improvements the city has made recently,
in no particular order:
Long awaited repairs on crumbling
Rockaway Beach Road
will begin next week, accompanied by a road closure.
A traffic detour will be in effect for the duration of the
stabilization project, according to a Wednesday bulletin from the
city. The city expects the road to be closed near Creosote
Lane from about Aug. 21 through the end of November.