A Message from Commissioner Bacon

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Island County

District 1 News - January 19, 2024

January 19 Newsletter Pic

Thank you for reading my newsletter for the 3rd week of 2024.

  • Regular Session. The agenda and recording for the Tuesday January 16th Regular Session is here: https://media.avcaptureall.cloud/meeting/2278b6b3-7b7e-43ea-a185-42d0c400171d.
    • Public comment was the first item on our agenda. We received public comment on two topics: a status report on the Maxwelton Valley, and then ten people spoke about their disappointment over the County’s decision to no longer allow the public’s Four Springs Park to be used for a private daily pre-school.
    • We approved one resolution on the consent agenda: Resolution No. C-02-24, “Continuing Relationships with the WA Counties Risk Pool and the Related Appointments and Designations of/for each Member County”.
    • The Board spent an hour talking about the Shoreline Master Program (SMP) draft (the link to this 465-page document can be found in the link above). This was a conversation to decide whether or not we are ready to schedule a public hearing on the document for February 6. It was a robust conversation, and those interested in this topic might want to listen to our issues (beginning at mark 00:55:30 in the recording). In the end, we decided to do something unique in my experience on the Board: we are going to hold the public hearing on February 6, listen to what the public has to say, then be ready to discuss the community response at a future work session before we make a decision on the SMP at a regular session later. This will allow us to incorporate any necessary changes into the document based on the community feedback. If there is no community feedback necessitating a delay, we could take action on February 6 as we usually do: during the same session, immediately after the public hearing. But I am thinking there will be enough comment that we will pause to discuss it at work session first.
    • The agenda for the Tuesday, January 23rd regular session can be found here: https://media.avcaptureall.cloud/meeting/5414c1f3-095b-4610-9481-a2eb7c6ad90d. There will be a public hearing on an update to the fireworks code.
  • Work Session. The agenda for the January 17th work session is here: https://www.islandcountywa.gov/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_01172024-690. The recording is here: https://www.islandcountywa.gov/DocumentCenter/View/6019/01172024-WS-Audio.
    • This week we had a couple of Commissioner outrages—the first was Commissioner Johnson angry about an elevator supplier trying to make the taxpayers pay for their own $13K error, and the second my outrage over a Public Works project (see below). The elevator conversation begins at mark 0:40:00 in the recording. Interestingly, this same company wants us to pay them $100K for a maintenance contract, which was the item we discussed after the error conversation. We decided to table a decision on whether or not to give them the maintenance contract until after we find out if they’ll step up and accept their responsibility for their error.
    • We talked about making our Comp Plan Vision Statement “visionary”. It was a really great conversation, that begins at mark 0:59:30 in the recording, page 52 in the agenda.
    • We saw the contract with our provider for the septage study. Rather than putting approval on the consent agenda, we asked Public Health to bring this to a regular session for a presentation, since identifying sewer/septic new technologies is a priority for the Board and we actually got the money for this study from the State. Discussion begins at mark 2:16:41; you can find the contract beginning on page 108 of the agenda.
    • Public Works brought the 2024 paving plan to the Board; we will be paving from June – August, both chip seal and repaving, 36 miles of road in the County. Discussion begins at mark 2:24:00. They also brought us a contract for designing the replacement of the Cornet Bay Dock; discussion begins at mark 2:33:51.
    • At mark 2:50:28 I expressed my outrage over finding out that the proposal for a roundabout at SR-525 and Bush Point/Honeymoon Bay Road has been on the County’s list for 25 years! I knew it predated my time on the Board, but I had no idea until this week that in 2009 the Board had dusted off a 10-year proposal in an attempt to get federal funds for it then. I was clear with Public Works that this roundabout (or a traffic light! I don’t care which—just something!) has now become my number 2 priority this year (after the Comp Plan update). Expect to hear more about this in the coming months. GRRR!
    • There is no work session next week (1/24/24).

  • Other Upcoming Public Hearings (held during Tuesday board meetings, beginning at 10 am):
    • January 23: Public hearing on amendment to Fireworks code
    • February 6: Shoreline Master Program (SMP)
    • Still to be scheduled: Countywide Planning Policies, Marshall Drainage District Assessment, Compost Procurement Ordinance, 5-year Transportation Improvement Plan amendment
  • Board of Health. The Board of Health met on January 16th. The agenda is here:  https://www.islandcountywa.gov/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_01162024-691. The recording is here: https://www.islandcountywa.gov/DocumentCenter/View/6017/January-16th-2024-Board-of-Health-Regular-Session-MP3.
    • We welcomed Oak Harbor Mayor Ronnie Wright to the Board.
    • Planning gave a presentation to the BoH on the Comprehensive Plan. We will have a strong focus on health in our Comp Plan this year, and the BoH will receive regular updates throughout the year on how health issues are being written into the plan. The Natural Resources element and the Climate element have a particular Public Health impact, but the other elements will be influenced by our Health decisions as well. This discussion begins at mark 0:02:48 in the recording; the presentation can be found beginning on page 5 of the agenda.
    • We looked at the docket of discussion items for the BoH this year; this includes specific Comp Plan topics as well as other items. This discussion begins at mark 0:30:30; the presentation begins on page 18 of the agenda.
    • We heard a really excellent presentation on our Opioid Response Program; the Board was so engaged that the discussion lasted over an hour. This begins at mark 0:37:28 in the recording; the presentation can be found beginning on page 22 of the agenda.
    • We were informed that the County now has a new Walk-in Clinic, in Coupeville! It’s so new there was confusion at the meeting about where it’s located, so this morning I called the phone number listed on the web. The nice lady told me that it’s located on the same grounds as the hospital, to the left of the helicopter pad. So you drive in to the hospital parking lot, but instead of entering the hospital you go to the building at the right of the parking lot, left of the helicopter pad.
  • COG and IRTPO. Next Wednesday the Council of Governments will meet at 9, and the Island Regional Transportation Planning Organization will meet at 10. Both meetings will be held in the Commissioners Hearing Room. For the virtual options, this is the COG link: https://zoom.us/j/97473844138?pwd=NnFFeWNGU0hhcGFqY0pEbC9vb0dJdz09; this is the IRTPO link: https://zoom.us/j/94362575841?pwd=VEkwUEx5. The COG meeting will focus on the Rural County Economic Development program; the IRTPO meeting will focus on the Comprehensive Action Safety Plan and the Regional Transportation Plan timeline. I expect to also rant again about the SR-525 roundabout issue at the IRTPO.
  • Planning Commission and the Comprehensive Plan Update:
    • The Comprehensive Plan Update public engagement website is now live: https://www.islandcounty2045.com/. I encourage you to join and participate.
    • The Wednesday, January 17 Planning Commission meeting was cancelled due to weather. The next meeting will be Wednesday, February 7.
    • 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


  • 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 plan to be there this next Monday.


"One kind word can warm three winter months."            ~Japanese proverb