Opinion

City seeks more public input on WSF proposals | Opinion | Nov. 12

Earlier this year, David Moseley, the assistant secretary of the Ferries Division for Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), offered to resolve the 1995 Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between WSDOT and the City of Bainbridge Island concerning the Washington State Ferries maintenance site on Eagle Harbor.

The MOA contemplates approximately one-acre of the WSF site being leased by WSDOT to the city or a private operator as a boat haul-out facility.

Mr. Moseley presented two possible paths to resolution:

1. Implement the MOA where WSDOT would lease approximately one-acre of the current WSF Eagle Harbor facility property for a maritime use such as a boat haul out facility;

2. Provide COBI with a financial settlement package, for up to $2 million to either purchase land or fund a water-based project.

Since his proposal, the City Council’s three-member WSF Ad Hoc Committee met and identified a four-step process for determining the best alternative for the city.

This process consists of four steps:

• A call for letters of interest and project concepts that culminated in two public meetings with brainstorming and presentations in late September;

• This week’s request for viable, financially and operationally feasible waterfront projects;

• At a Dec. 8 public meeting, the committee will make recommendations to the full City Council to enable it to choose among the alternatives;

• If WSF approves the lease or project option chosen by the council, then the city will issue a final formal request for proposals.

The WSF Ad Hoc Committee requested advice and assistance from a three-member subcommittee (Sandra Davis, Tom Kane and David Lynch) of our citizen-volunteer Harbor Commission.

The group has met twice over the past two months with assistance from the city administration.

The result is the set of “request” documents now posted on the city’s website, including a list of decision criteria to evaluate the projects that come forward by the Nov. 22 deadline.

The current request focuses primarily on the City Council being able to determine the viability and operational and financial feasibility of proposed options while ascertaining that there is minimal risk and no significant financial impact upon the city.

The council has charged the WSF Ad Hoc Committee (with the help of its Harbor Commission advisers) to review all responses and make a recommendation to the City Council by Dec. 8 for how the city should respond to WSF’s offer.

In evaluating project descriptions for the two alternatives, the committee members expect to benefit from knowledge and expertise of its Harbor Commission advisors, members of the public, and other available resources.

The council, after evaluating the feasibility of different project proposals, may – in a separate future process, the fourth step – publish a formal RFP that could lead to agreements or contracts for a project chosen by council and agreed to by WSDOT. The city reserves the right, however, to not proceed with any of the projects submitted.

As described above, the city is therefore seeking the public’s help in identifying viable, financial and operationally feasible waterfront projects that maximize the public benefit of our harbor and shorelines without financial impact to the city. Responses to this current request are due by Nov. 22.

The current request, as well as the documentation of the entire process to date from audio recordings of the public meetings, presentations made and the current letters of interest, can all be found on the city’s homepage http://www.ci.bainbridge-isl.wa.us, under the link: “Washington State Ferries Offers and City Requests.”

You may also ask for the request by emailing City Clerk Roz Lassoff, rlassoff@ci.bainbridge-isl.wa.us, or pick up the request from City Hall.

You are welcome to contact any Ad Hoc Committee members who are working on this exciting opportunity for our city and community.

Hilary Franz, Debbi Lester (chair), and Barry Peters

City Council WSF Ad Hoc Committee members

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