Shelter Bay Utility Infrastructure

The Shelter Bay Community’s utility infrastructure includes all of the roads, drainage, water, and sewer collection and treatment systems. Operation and maintenance of these systems is the responsibility of the homeowners association. Problems with any of these systems should be reported to the Shelter Bay Office at 360-466-3805, or after hours to the Maintenance Department at 360-202-2391.

Electric power service is supplied by Puget Sound Energy through underground electrical power transmission and service lines. Problems with power service should be reported directly to Puget Sound Energy at 888-225-5773. Services such as satellite or cable television, internet, and telephone are supplied by private providers.

There is no natural gas service to Shelter Bay, but individual homeowners may install propane fuel tanks for the use of propane as an energy source. Installation of a propane tank requires a permit from the Shelter Bay Building Committee.


The Shelter Bay road system consists of a branching network, totaling approximately 60,000 lineal feet (approximately 11.4 miles) laid out with many curves, cul-de-sacs, and no defined grid system. The roadways range from narrow driveways serving only two or three homes to the main Shelter Bay Drive arterial upon which all traffic enters or exits the community. Two emergency driveways are located in the southwest area of the Community. One driveway is located on Muckleshoot Circle and exits to Indian Road. The other driveway is located on Shelter Bay Drive near Lillooet Court and exits to Pull and Be Damned Road. These gated driveways are normally locked, and are intended only for use in certain situations and in case of an emergency.



The Shelter Bay Road system consists of 11.3 miles of road. When snowy and icy road conditions occur, our Maintenance Department will make every effort within our manpower and equipment capabilities to keep the roads passable. The Department has one truck equipped with a snow plow and a second truck equipped with a sander and plow to utilize when road conditions require them.

Winter road conditions are handled according to a set protocol. Maintenance resources will first respond to requests for assistance from local emergency service agencies in order to reach a specific residence or location within our Community.

Outside of law enforcement, medical, or fire emergencies, the plowing of the roads during snowy conditions is prioritized according to the following response plan:

  • Priority 1 is Shelter Bay Drive, which is the main arterial for our entire Community as well as the Eagle’s Nest Community. This is the road that all emergency service agencies use to reach general areas of the Community quickly.
  • Priority 2 roads are the collector roads providing service to the various Community neighborhoods and include Shoshone, Swinomish, Snohomish, Klamath, Lummi, along with a few others.
  • Priority 3 roads are limited access roadways serving 7 or more lots.
  • Priority 4 roads are restricted access roads/ driveways serving 6 or fewer lots.

There are a few roads which cannot be plowed due to safety concerns caused by the severity of the road incline and/or extremely limited maneuverability. The lower portion of Wanapum Drive is one of those collector roads that the Maintenance Department cannot plow due to the steep incline of the hill. A barrier is often placed at the bottom of the hill at Shelter Bay Drive to close off that portion of the road to through traffic, as vehicles are unable to stop at the bottom of the hill. Motorists should use Coquille Way (near the upper pool) to get to Shelter Bay Drive. Also, Klamath Drive going up to Eagle’s Nest presents challenges and will be plowed when it is determined to be safe to do so. Klamath Way and the one-way Klamath Drive going down the hill are not plowable, due to the steep slopes.

Please be aware that if a road is blocked by parked vehicles, it will not be plowed. Also, depending on the severity of weather conditions, it may take a couple of days before the crew can get to the Priority 3 and 4 roads. In severe conditions, the emergency gates at Muckleshoot Circle and at Lillooet/Shelter Bay Drive will be open during the day, and the gate to Martha’s Beach will remain closed to vehicle traffic.

During a snow event the crew will begin plowing Shelter Bay Drive and then the Priority 2 roads. Once those arterials are stabilized, the crew will move on to Priority 3 and 4 roads. If snowfall is continuous, it is less likely the crew will be able to plow Priority 3 and 4 roads, due to the continuing re-accumulation of snow and the need to re-plow Priority 1 and 2 roads.

As vehicles drive over the snow, the snow becomes compacted into ice. Also, as snow melts during the day, it can turn into ice overnight. Once the roads become encrusted with ice, they can no longer be plowed, and the crew will then apply a layer of sand, in order to facilitate better traction for vehicles. If snow falls on top of the sand, and the new accumulation of snow is plowed, the previous layer of sand is also plowed from the road and another layer may need to be applied.

Tips for Drivers

The Maintenance Department will take every action it can with the resources we have available to maintain the roads during snowy weather. However, members need to be prepared for a snow storm in the event the crew is unable to get to their particular road or neighborhood. When road and driving conditions are difficult within Shelter Bay, they are likely to be worse outside of the Community on the rural county roads. Unless residents are familiar with driving in hazardous snow and ice conditions, serious consideration should be given to avoiding the roadways all together. Our weather here in western Washington usually allows road conditions to clear within a few days. If residents are able to remain at home for that short a time, they’ll find much safer driving conditions, both inside and outside of the Community.

A few other things to consider:

  • Propane trucks and other delivery vehicles typically cannot maneuver the smaller roads and cul-de-sacs, so plan accordingly.
  • School buses may use alternate routes in snow conditions; consult the La Conner School transportation department for details.
  • Stay off roads unless absolutely necessary.
  • Do not park on the road or road edges.
  • Remain at least 50 feet behind plow and sanding trucks.
  • Do not allow children to sleigh or play in the roadways.
  • Install chains or cables on your vehicle (over half of our Shelter Bay roads have grades/inclines)

Thank you.

Taking a few simple precautions can help us all have a safe winter season and enjoy the wonder that one of our rare winter snow storm provides.

Stormwater Drainage

The Community is designed with an open-ditch stormwater drainage system. The drainage ditches typically run along the roads and through greenbelt areas. Residents are encouraged to monitor the ditches that run adjacent to their properties, to make certain they do not become clogged with debris or overgrown by landscaping.

Water System

Shelter Bay Community owns and operates a private water distribution system consisting of approximately 10 miles of piping ranging from ¾-inch to 8-inches in diameter, plus a 147,000-gallon reservoir (water tank). Water is supplied by the Town of La Conner to the east through a pipeline running under the Swinomish Channel. La Conner receives its water via a transmission main from the City of Anacortes’ Water Treatment Plant, which supplies treated Skagit River water. The Community also has a manually operated intertie with the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community’s water system to the north. Shelter Bay also supplies water to the Eagle’s Nest Community through a master meter. Once the water passes through the master meter, Eagles Nest is responsible for the operation and maintenance of their water system. The water systems of Shelter Bay, the Town of La Conner, the City of Anacortes, and the Swinomish Utility Authority are interconnected in a "looped" system, so that these systems can provide water to one another in an emergency.

Two members of the Shelter Bay Maintenance Department are certified by the Washington State Department of Health to operate the water system. Our water is regularly sampled and analyzed to assure that drinking water meets or exceeds all water quality standards. Each year, the Shelter Bay water utility publishes a Consumer Confidence Report that summarizes the quality of the Community’s drinking water.

Water Billing Rates


Water is billed monthly and consists of a fixed Base Rate of $15.25 and a Use Rate of $0.018 per cubic foot of water consumed, plus applicable Tribal and State Utility Taxes. The Base Rate covers the monthly base charge from our supplier, the Town of La Conner, plus the fixed operating and maintenance costs of Shelter Bay’s water utility. The Use Rate for water consumption covers the wholesale cost of water plus the variable expenses of the water consumed. Large water system improvements or capital projects are typically funded through Shelter Bay’s Capital Assessment which can vary from year to year. For more details on billing rates and assessments, refer to the Frequently Asked Questions on Monthly Billings.

Water Use Efficiency Goals

In May of 2011, the Shelter Bay Board of Directors adopted water use efficiency goals, which are designed to achieve water conservation in Shelter Bay. The three goals are:

 Goal #1:Reduce the annual water consumption in Community facilities by 5% over the next 3 years.
 Goal #2:Maintain the average daily per-person consumption at 70 gallons (about 9.4 cubic feet) or less.
 Goal #3:Maintain system water loss rates below 10%.

Water conservation tips and educational materials will be posted on this Web Page to help consumers achieve these goals. Together we can work to preserve our precious water resources.

See these tips on Troubleshooting a Water Leak.

Sewer System

Shelter Bay operates its own sanitary sewer collection and on-site Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP). The plant is located just under the Rainbow Bridge on Samish Way. The plant treats an average of 130,000 gallons of residential sewage per day, but can peak at 250,000 gallons. There are 60,000 lineal feet of sewer piping and four lift stations located in various places within the Community. The lift stations augment the power of gravity to pump the sewage to the treatment plant. Once at the plant, the process involves screening the sewage to remove grit and foreign materials; extended aeration and clarification; then hauling out the sludge to the City of Anacortes Wastewater Treatment Plant for final disposition of the solid waste. The remaining liquid waste is chlorinated for disinfection and discharged to the Swinomish Channel under our National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit issued by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. The WWTP runs 24 hours a day, 365 days per year.

Four members of the Shelter Bay Maintenance Department are certified as Wastewater Treatment Plant Operators. Shelter Bay also runs its own accredited on-site WWTP Laboratory, which is used for analysis of the treated sludge and liquid discharge for determination of compliance with mandated standards. The treatment plant is monitored 7 days each week.

Sewer Billing Rates

Sewer is billed monthly as a flat rate to each customer connected to the system. The monthly rate is $20.00, plus applicable Tribal and State Utility Taxes. Large sewer system improvements or capital projects are typically funded through Shelter Bay’s Capital Assessment which can vary from year to year. For more details on billing rates, refer to the Frequently Asked Questions on Monthly Billings.