A Message from Commissioner Bacon

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Island County

District 1 News - January 12, 2024

January Statue Newsletter Pic

Thank you for reading my newsletter for the 2nd week of 2024.

The County offices will be closed on Monday, January 15, in recognition of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Almost 40 people attended my meeting on water availability Monday afternoon—thank you so much if you were there! I will plan to hold more of these targeted meetings this year, especially as we get farther down the line working on our comprehensive plan update.

But I need to apologize to anyone whose hand I shook on Monday—because I have been really sick the last several days. I hope I didn’t give this to anyone else (whatever it is). It’s not flu or COVID. It’s respiratory, and it’s really hanging on. For that reason (plus the holiday) I will NOT have “Monday Tea with Melanie” on the 15th, so I can spend an extra day not coughing on people.

  • I gave testimony this week to both the Senate Transportation Committee and the House Transportation Committee on the importance of fixing our ferry mess. Basically, what I said to both was: we have two really important ferries, both are broken, we can’t rely anymore on ferry availability to get to our medical appointments or to work, and they need to fix it. I didn’t mention tourism because I think the folks in Olympia might already be dismissing us as “just” a tourist destination, without thinking about the needs of the people who live and work here every day.
  • Regular Session. The agenda and recording for the Tuesday January 9th Regular Session is here: https://media.avcaptureall.cloud/meeting/63c1147a-39ae-4be8-949f-2b6b4ec7f6ca.
    • We heard public comment on the Ituha Crisis Stabilization Center, and on the tidegate at Maxwelton.
    • We passed three Public Works resolutions on the consent agenda: Resolution C- 01 -24 (R-42-23) – “In the Matter of Closing Island County’s Completed County Drainage Projects, Public Works Projects and County Road Projects”; Resolution C- 02 -24 (R-01-24) – “Initiation County Road Project (CRP) 24-01 2024 Pavement Preservation Program – Whidbey Island Hot Mix Asphalt (HMA) overlays”; and Resolution C- 03 -24 (R-07-24) – “Request approval of Plans & Specifications and Authorize Call for Bids for East Camano Drive Fish Passage #1300”.
    • We approved the 2024 Legislative Priorities that I’ve mentioned in this newsletter several times. Mark 00:43:32 in the recording.
    • The Board agreed to purchase the property located at 785 SE Bayshore Drive, Oak Harbor, for another County building. You may have noticed we have been expanding our building footprint over the last few years. The reason is: as new people have moved here, plus new problems have arisen that the County has to respond to (like the opioid crisis, for one) we have had to increase our County staff in order to expand our services to meet the growing needs of the residents. And now we are looking at an additional 15,000 people moving here over the next twenty years. Our old campus footprint was simply inadequate for serving our citizens. Mark 00:51:44 in the recording.
    • We held a public hearing on Resolution C-81-23, “Amending the Land Use and Building Permit Fees”. There was no public comment. The resolution passed. Remember: the increased fees for both Planning and Public Health will go into effect on February 1, so if you’re working on something you might want to apply for your permits in the next two weeks before the fees go up. The discussion on this resolution begins at mark 01:00:05 in the recording.
    • The agenda for the Tuesday, January 16th regular session can be found here: https://media.avcaptureall.cloud/meeting/5520fa1e-d048-455b-8de0-c7053db39acc. We will spend a few minutes talking about the upcoming public hearing next month on the Shoreline Management Program (SMP).
  • Other Upcoming Public Hearings (held during Tuesday board meetings, beginning at 10 am):
    • January 23: Public hearing on amendment to Fireworks code
    • Still to be scheduled: Countywide Planning Policies, Shoreline Management Program (tentative date Feb 6) , Marshall Drainage District Assessment, Compost Procurement Ordinance, 5-year Transportation Improvement Plan amendment
  • At the Business Meeting the Board held this week with the directors of Planning, Public Health, and Public Works, we talked about our permit submittal process. In future, before an applicant can put in for a building permit, they will need to have documentation that the property percs, has water, and has an address. Expect this process change to be enacted about a month from now; we believe this change will smooth our process and help ensure people will have successful applications.
  • Planning Commission and the Comprehensive Plan Update:
    • The next Planning Commission meeting will be held at 6 pm on Wednesday, January 17 in the Commissioners’ Hearing Room in Coupeville. The agenda and materials are here: https://www.islandcountywa.gov/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_01172024-688. On the agenda: A follow up discussion on potential changes to the housing allocations in the Countywide Planning Policies, and a workshop reviewing the 2016 Vision Statement.
    • Also on Wednesday the 17th (in the morning), the Board of County Commissioners will continue our discussion on the 2025 Comprehensive Plan Vision Statement.
    • Upcoming public meetings on the Comprehensive Plan:

Dates and Times


Thursday Feb. 1, 2024 6 - 8 PM

Island County Camano Annex - Convergence Room

Tuesday Feb. 6, 2024  6 - 8 PM

South Whidbey High School - New Commons

Saturday Feb. 10, 2024 10 AM - 12 PM

Island County BOCC Hearing Room

Tuesday Feb. 13, 2024 6 - 8 PM

The Center in Oak Harbor - Multi-Purpose Room


  • Island Transit will be unveiling their rebrand and celebrating the event with a ribbon cutting.  You’re invited to join them on Tuesday, January 16th, at 10:30am at Island Transit.  The address is 19758 State Route 20, in Coupeville (across the street from Ryan's House). 
  • The Navy is expanding the Area 6 Landfill PFOS & PFOA groundwater sampling area in 2024 to include an area one mile in the direction of groundwater flow from where PFOA and/or PFOS were detected above 70 ppt during previous groundwater sampling events. As part of the expanded sampling, the Navy has planned an open house to address public comments regarding the potential exposure to PFOA and PFOS in drinking water near Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island. The open house will be hosted at the Oak Harbor Elks Lodge #2 on Thursday February 1, 2023 with a midday session from 12:30 pm to 2:30 pm and an afternoon session from 5 pm to 7 pm.
  • You can find all of my newsletters since January 2023 here: https://www.islandcountywa.gov/Directory.aspx?EID=62
  • Most Mondays I hold Monday Tea with Melanie at 3:00 pm at the WiFire Community Space, 1651 E. Main Street, Freeland, an opportunity for citizens to speak with me and with each other about issues of interest to them. I will not be there next Monday, but will be there the following week on Monday, January 22.


“Not everybody can be famous but everybody can be great, because greatness is determined by service.”  ~Martin Luther King Jr.