City News Bytes: Lawsuit against Former Mayor, Bethany Moves Forward, New Waste Regs for Businesses
Lawsuit Alleges Conflict of Interest by former City Councilor
Former Bainbridge Mayor and City Council member Kol Medina is the subject of a lawsuit alleging a conflict of interest over a donation made by CHI Franciscan to a foundation Medina formerly headed up, just prior to a key council vote involving a property the city acquired for its new police station and municipal court building.
According to the lawsuit, Medina, who now oversees a non-profit in Walla Walla, WA., did not disclose that apparent conflict of interest when he made the deciding vote in a 4-3 City Council decision to buy Harrison Medical Center’s satellite facility just off of Madison Ave. S., which is now being transformed into the new police and court and facility. CHI Franciscan is Harrison’s parent company.
The alleged conflict of interest took place in 2019 when Medina was Mayor and CEO of Kitsap Community Foundation. He was on the Bainbridge City Council from January 2016 to November 2020. He was the Mayor designate from January 2018 to December 2019. The lawsuit says that CHI Franciscan donated $31,000 to the Kitsap Community Foundation and that Medina did not disclose the information to the City Council.
Details of the lawsuit are reported in a story in the Kitsap Daily: https://www.kitsapdailynews.com/news/subpoena-donation-ex-mayor-harrison-linked/
A previous story on Medina appeared in the Bainbridge Review: https://www.bainbridgereview.com/news/ethics-complaints-filed-against-outgoing-bi-council-member/
City Council Votes in Favor of Pursuing Affordable Housing
At its Oct. 25 Regular Business Meeting, the City Council adopted Ordinance 2022-22 to accommodate increased density for development of affordable housing on properties owned or controlled by religious organizations in accordance with Washington State Law. The vote was 5-2.
The Ordinance specifies a pilot project phase limited to Bethany Lutheran Church that will sunset on December 31, 2027. Beginning January 1, 2028, the new regulations would apply to any affordable housing development on property owned or controlled by a religious organization.
“The team at Bethany is very happy to have this step resolved and now looks forward to the hard work of turning vision into project reality,” says Jonathan Davis, an architectural consultant to Bethany Lutheran. A number of individuals protested against the Council’s decision, including a group calling itself Bainbridge Island For Balanced Planning.
The ordinance requires that all housing units created are maintained as affordable to low-income households, which is defined as 80% of median county income. Any project constructed pursuant to this newly adopted code must comply with Fair Housing standards that prohibits discrimination in housing because of religion, sexual orientation, and family status, among other limitations. The ordinance also limits the size of units constructed and prohibits the creation of accessory dwelling units.
No application has currently been submitted to the city.
New Waste Reduction Regs about to go into Effect
The 2023 waste reduction regulations will go into effect soon. They include new requirements to reduce single-use plastic waste from onsite dining, to-go food orders and packaging for personal care products. This will help reduce waste in our environment, protect public health and reduce our dependence on plastics.
Business Ambassadors will be visiting local food retail and lodging establishments in the next month to answer questions, share educational materials, and provide additional information about how businesses can comply with the new regulations, where to find compliant products and more.
Learn about the new regulations and find resources for both businesses and customers HERE.
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