Category Archives: Environment

Slip into a dock fundraiser

The island's park district received a grant to replace the Hidden Cove dock, which has been closed because of safety concerns. Photo by Tristan Baurick/Kitsap Sun
The island’s park district received a grant to replace the Hidden Cove dock, which has been closed because of safety concerns. Photo by Tristan Baurick/Kitsap Sun

Bainbridge Island Parks Foundation is working to raise $100,000 to help the park district supplement money for a new Hidden Cove dock.

Earlier this month, the park district received a $300,000 matching grant from the state to replace the nearly 200-foot-long dock, which is closed because of safety concerns.

The foundation is having a dock party at Hidden Cove Park on Sunday from 3-6 p.m. with swimming, games and snacks for donations.

Hidden Cove’s dock one of two public float docks on the island. Bainbridge’s other float dock is at Waterfront Park in Winslow.

Hidden Cove dock had been a popular swimming and kayak launching site on the north end of the island.

Another popular swimming and launch site is the Point White Pier on the southwest end of the island.

Hidden Cove dock party attendees are encouraged to walk or ride to the event. Those driving can park at the Hidden Cove ballfields and follow balloons along the trail to the park.

Rockaway Beach residents asked to reduce water use

Water5_13374983_ver1.0_640_480City officials are calling Rockaway Beach residents to ask them to reduce water use, specifically landscape irrigation.

A new release from the city said the Rockaway Beach water system, which serves about 90 homes, is experiencing “unusually high water consumption.” The increase is putting stress on the system that pulls water from a single well with limited capacity.

While it hasn’t been dangerously hot on the island, higher than normal temperatures have hit the region, along with dry conditions.

No other areas of the city’s water system have been affected, according to the city.

City goes all green with electric

420524_5531137_ver1.0_640_480City Council members voted 5-2 to buy 100 percent green energy for the city. Council members Sarah Blossom and Steve Bonkowski voted against it.

Bonkowski said he would vote against it because of the low percent  of residents who participate, which he correlated to green energy support.

About 13 percent of islanders participate in Puget Sound Energy’s Green Power Program. The program relies more on wind, bio-gas and solar-energy sources instead of coal.

The city had been buying about about 13 percent of its electricity from green energy to match the resident participation, costing about $3,000 a year. The city spends a total of $330,000 a year on electricity, and going to all green power would cost the city an additional $15,000 a year.

Going all the way with green energy?

420524_5531137_ver1.0_640_480City Council will discuss buying 100 percent green energy for the city’s electricity at its next business meeting in two weeks.

Puget Sound Energy’s Green Power Program relies more on wind, bio-gas and solar-energy sources instead of coal.

About 13 percent of the city’s electricity is from green energy, costing about $3,000 a year. The city spends a total of $330,000 a year on electricity, and going to all green power would cost the city an additional $15,000 a year.

The council decided to buy 13 percent green power from PSE last year, matching the percent of residents that use green power.

Two other Washington cities buy 100 percent green energy, said Heather Mulligan, PSE market manager. Those cities are Lacey and Bellingham.

Parking proposed for Manitou Beach Drive

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A view from along Manitou Beach Drive. (Kitsap Sun file photo)

The city is proposing a “small parking area” on Manitou Beach Drive, making it easier for residents and guests to enjoy the city-owned waterfront property.

While there are views of Puget Sound and Seattle from the shoreline, Manitou Beach Drive is a narrow two-lane road without shoulders.

The city owns .13 acre of waterfront land across the street from 9865 Manitou Beach Drive, according  to the county parcel search.

The city owns about another acre next to 9865 Manitou Beach Drive, where six parking spots are being proposed.

A public meeting Wednesday night will help identify how many parking spots are needed or wanted for access to the waterfront, said Mark Epstein with the city’s capital projects coordinator.

The public meeting is at 6:30 p.m. in the City Council Chambers at City Hall, 280 Madison Avenue.

Manitou Beach Parking Alternative--six stall

Bags of oily food causing stink in Winslow

Bainbridge Island city officials are trying to figure out who has been leaving plastic produce bags filled with “liquid food waste” on trash bins for animals to tear open.

The city’s maintenance crews have been finding these bags around Winslow — including Waterfront Park and City Hall — the last several weeks, according to a news release from Kellie Stickney, the city’s spokeswoman.

The bags have been torn open by birds and raccoons, causing the waste to spill out. And City officials say the oily waste is a “potential human health hazard” and can wash into the drainage system that flows into Eagle Harbor.

They haven’t be able to tell exactly what type of food is in the bags, and their best guess is that it is either soup or leftover food from cooking, Stickney said.

City officials have not been able to find who is responsible and is asking residents to report any suspicious behavior to the Public Works Department at 206-842-2016 or the county’s Spills Hotline at 360-337-5777.

FCC approves radio station for the island

Kitsap Sun file photo
Kitsap Sun file photo

The Federal Communications Commission recently granted the city of Bainbridge Island a 10-year license to operate an AM information radio station.

The city expects to have the station — which will be transmitted on 600k Hz and 1700 kHz — broadcasting in late summer or fall, according to the city manager’s report.

The radio station will provide information about Amber Alerts, school incidents, bridge closures, earthquakes and other types of emergencies.

“During nonemergency times, the station could be used to inform motorists of street repairs, traffic hazards, community events, travel advisories, city history and even visitor information,” the report says.

The city has been working to start a radio station alongside Sustainable Bainbridge, an island nonprofit that created Bainbridge Community Broadcasting.

Bainbridge Community Broadcasting provides podcasts and radio shows online via its website.

Agate Pass Bridge down to one lane for three weeks

Agate-Pass-Bridge

Agate Pass Bridge will be down to one lane for 21 days starting Feb. 9 for cleaning and inspection.

One lane will be closed 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 7:45 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, according to Washington State Department of Transportation.

The bridge, which was built in 1950 and is more than 1,000 feet long, has about 22,000 vehicles cross a day

Bainbridge Island Mayor Anne Blair assured residents the council voiced their concern with WSDOT, along with Poulsbo city officials and the Suquamish Tribe, about traffic issues.

“The cries of ‘Are you kidding?’ and ‘Can you do something else?’ were loud,” Blair said. “They are certainly aware of the difficulties.”

Work cannot be done at night, because of safety and efficiency concerns, WSDOT said.

Workers will remove “yards of hardened debris and animal droppings by hand, a time-consuming and labor-intensive process.”

WSDOT has to remove the debris by hand, unless it can “fully encase” the bridge to meet water quality standards. The full-encasement requirement is too expensive for WSDOT, the agency said, and cleaning the bridge is the affordable alternative that meets the Clean Water Act requirements.

Crews also will repair and patch the bridge and roadway, sealing joints, replacing rivets and repairing damaged rails and walkway railing. If possible, they will remove rust from the bridge, too.

Bicyclists and pedestrians will be “escorted” across the bridge while work is being done, and “accommodations” will be made for emergency vehicles.

While the Chilly Hilly bike route does not go across the bridge, those going to the event Feb. 22 should expect delays.

The work is done in February to avoid the peregrine falcon nesting period. The falcon is a protected species and have historically nested on the bridge. February also has less traffic than summer months.

Freezing rain and snow could delay work on the bridge, which hasn’t been cleaned since 1991. It is inspected every two years, requiring lane closures then as well. It was last inspected in 2013.

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.

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.