Bellingham City Council

Compiled by Boris Schleinkofer

Action Taken at June 3, 2019 Meeting

Shall the council:
100. Accept a donation to replace the defunct public swim dock at Bloedel Donovan Park? Docks for Kids and the Bellingham Bay Rotary Club have proposed to donate a swim dock at Bloedel Donovan Park. Docks for Kids has offered to design, permit and construct the docks in approximately the same footprint where it existed prior to their removal when the lake lifeguarding program was eliminated due to budget cuts. Diving boards will be disallowed but slides considered for future development. The donation value is approximately $500,000, with start up costs estimated at $80,000 and ongoing city staffing costs will be $50,000 – $90,000 depending on the features added to the project. (AB22098) Approved 6-1, Michael Lilliquist opposed.

101. Approve the mayor’s reappointment of James Hulbert to the Transportation Commission? Mr. Hulbert was originally appointed to the commission at the 6/20/2016 meeting, vote #98. He is employed as a deputy prosecuting attorney in the Whatcom County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, has lived in Bellingham for 44 years and is a member of the Greater Bellingham Running Club. The Transportation Commission was established at the 8/10/2009 meeting, vote #183; it took over the duties and responsibilities of the Parking Commission and the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, both disbanded at the end of that year. It takes a long-range, strategic look at transportation issues, and provides recommendations on policy choices and investment priorities. His final term will expire on 6/20/2022. (AB22326) Approved 7-0

102. Amend the Birchwood Park master plan to allow a permanent restroom, pump track and marking for a pickleball court on the existing basketball court? When Birchwood Park was originally built, a restroom was anticipated, but funding was inadequate, and a portable toilet was installed. Capital funding to install a permanent restroom was prioritized and allocated in the 2019/2020 budget. Park impact fees will fund the project, which has been allocated $200,000 in the 2019-2020 biennial budget. A neighborhood meeting was held on 4/30 to discuss the proposed changes, and the Parks & Recreation Advisory Board recommended approval of the amended plan on May 8. As part of the neighborhood meeting to evaluate these proposed master plan amendments, an additional suggestion came forward to add markings for a pickleball court to the existing full-size basketball court. Portable nets will be used for pickleball, making this a multiuse court. This inexpensive project will hopefully be completed this summer, and the restroom installation is anticipated in early 2020. This park has not had as much use since Squalicum Creek Park was opened, and the neighborhood has actively pursued ideas to activate the space. Additionally, the Birchwood Neighborhood initiated a partnership proposal with the Whatcom Mountain Bike Coalition (WMBC) to fundraise and build a pump track on the open lawn area at Birchwood Park. This project requires raising $50,000 and committing resources to help build and maintain the track, similar to the one built in Whatcom Falls Park. That project is scheduled for 2020 and requires the master plan be amended. (AB22330) Approved 7-0

103. Appropriate $14,847 for year one of a five-year agreement to provide parking for the Bellingham Senior Activity Center located at 315 Halleck Street? Whatcom County entered into a commercial lease agreement with Cornwall Center Inc. to lease parking adjacent to the Bellingham Senior Activity Center located at the juncture of New and Halleck Streets; the city of Bellingham will share in the cost of providing parking for community members utilizing the facilities. The city will pay Whatcom County $1,237 per month to assist with its payment to Cornwall Center Inc. for the first year, with increases scheduled as follows: year 1: $14,847, year 2: $15,228, year 3: $15,768, year 4: $16,248, year 5: $16,728. The council initially authorized the mayor to sign an agreement with Whatcom County for Bellingham Senior Activity Center parking at the 6/23/2014 meeting, vote #122. (AB22331) Approved 7-0

104. Appropriate $5,293,849 for goods and services checks issued from May 11 through May 24, 2019? (AB22336/22337) Approved 7-0

105. Appropriate $7,161,445 for payroll checks issued from April 16, 2019 through May 15, 2019? (AB22338/22340) Approved 7-0

106. Authorize an agreement with the Port of Bellingham for Cornwall Avenue stormwater pipe site access and staging? The stormwater outlet at the southern end of Cornwall Avenue frequently becomes clogged by beach sediment. The solution currently under design is to relocate the outlet farther west to deeper water through the Port of Bellingham maintenance facility yard. The agreement allows for construction access and staging by the city’s contractor on potentially dangerous Port of Bellingham property that may be contaminated with hazardous substances, and/or contain known and latent defects, to do this work. Design is coordinated with the anticipated R.G. Haley remediation project. (AB22339) Approved 7-0

107. Relinquish a portion of surplus utility easement located in a vacated alley and vacated portion of Taylor Avenue between 25th and 26th streets? (Public hearing held.) Western Washington University has requested that the city relinquish two public utility easements located in the vicinity of 905 25th Street in order to facilitate development of the property burdened by the easements. The Public Works Department has reviewed the request and determined that the easements are surplus to the city’s needs and are not required for the provision of public utility services. AB22325 (Resolution 2019-17) Approved 7-0

108. Authorize the mayor to accept a $500,000 state grant to assist with the Little Squalicum estuary project? At the 8/29/2016 meeting, vote #143, the council authorized the mayor to apply for a $1,194,343 state grant. At the 4/23/2018 meeting, vote 55, the council authorized the mayor to accept a $545,000 state grant. Over the past 150 years, Bellingham Bay has lost an estimated 282 acres of aquatic land and Little Squalicum Creek has lost tidal marsh and wetland habitat. The project is located along the lower reach of Little Squalicum Creek just west of the city of Bellingham, and extends to the Bellingham Bay nearshore in close proximity to Squalicum Creek and the Nooksack River. Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO) will assist the Public Works Department with the construction of the Little Squalicum Estuary Project. Construction is several years out. This project will improve juvenile salmon and forage fish habitat in the marine nearshore by creating a new estuary and restoring tidal and sedimentary processes to a portion of Little Squalicum Park. The project will create approximately 2.4 acres of estuarine habitat and open an additional 1,180 feet of new shoreline. The project’s goals are to support salmon recovery by returning tidal and sedimentary processes, riparian vegetation, and historic wetlands for juvenile salmonids and forage fish utilizing Bellingham Bay, Squalicum Creek and the Nooksack River. In addition, the project increases nearshore resilience critical for climate change. The city is committed to project success and has already started pre-project monitoring, and will conduct post-project snorkel surveys, forage fish spawning surveys, water quality monitoring, photo monitoring, bathymetric profiles, and continuous temperature monitoring. The $75,000 in city matching funds will come from the Olympic Pipeline settlement fund. 702. AB21940 (Resolution 2019-18) Approved 7-0

109. Support access to the full spectrum of reproductive services? This resolution makes a declarative statement in support of the right to bodily autonomy and for a person’s right to access the full spectrum of reproductive health care services including the right to safe, legal abortion regardless of gender identity and expression, documentation status, income or age. A motion to strike a section which states that the city “does not support any attempt of a private or non-profit organization to restrict access by withholding services, information or referrals related to reproductive health care including abortion care,” as an unenforceable statement was put forth but failed 3-4, with April Barker, Terry Bornemann, Dan Hammill and Pinky Vargas opposed. AB22332 (Resolution 2019-19) Approved 6-1, Gene Knutson opposed.

110. Commemorate the 20th Anniversary of the Whatcom Creek pipeline explosion? On 6/10/1999, a pipeline owned and operated by the Olympic Pipeline Company ruptured in Whatcom Falls Park and tragically took the lives of three young people, destroying 26 acres of parkland. While the creek and the parkland have been restored, our community continues to mourn this day and the lives that were lost. Numerous citizens and agencies came together to press the federal government to pass additional legislation to prevent such a tragic event from happening in any other community, resulting in the Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2002 and the Pipeline Inspection, Protection, Enforcement and Safety Act of 2006. The 20-year anniversary of the Olympic Pipeline explosion in Whatcom Falls Park is recognized, and our community is encouraged to observe and honor this day and those affected by these tragic events. AB22334 (Resolution 2019-20) Approved 7-0

111. Vacate 2,335 square feet of unimproved right-of-way at the southeastern end of Rimland Drive? (Closed record hearing held on 4/22/2019.) Talbot Real Estate of Bellingham seeks the vacation in order to facilitate the orderly extension of Rimland Drive to Barkley Boulevard. In lieu of payment for the 2,335 square feet of unimproved right-of-way to be vacated, Talbot proposes to dedicate an additional 4,555 square feet of unimproved right-of-way as fair market value compensation for Rimland Drive to the city. The Bellingham Hearing Examiner held a public hearing on 12/12/2018 on the proposed vacation and recommended the vacation with one condition. AB22284 (Ordinance 2019-06-018) Approved 7-0

112. Vacate a northwesterly portion of Bayview Drive? (Closed record hearing held on 4/22/2019.) The petitioner (Capritaur Enterprises of Bellingham) proposes the city vacate the subject right-of-way abutting lots 30-31 of the EK Wood industrial site in order to maximize the density and development potential. Future development would not occur within the subject right-of-way proposed for vacation. The additional right-of-way would provide the opportunity for nine units — six are currently allowed. The zoning in this location is residential multi-multiple and the density in this location is 2,000 square feet per unit. On 4/29/2019, Capritaur Enterprises of Bellingham made a payment of $210,500 for the appraised market value of the property. AB22283 (Ordinance 2019-06-019) Approved 7-0

113. Amend the budget to appropriate an additional $144,000 over the next two years for the creation of an additional planner position? This position will address unforeseen workload increases; it will focus on design review and general land use planning, providing much needed capacity for other staff to address other permitting and planning needs related to providing shelter to the homeless. The increase is associated with continued high levels of permit activity and an unanticipated increase in permitting associated with temporary and longer-term unsheltered housing. Salary and wages will be set at $103,000, with personnel benefits set at $41,000. AB22319 (Ordinance 2019-06-020) Approved 7-0

114. Adopt a one-year moratorium on mobile home park redevelopment plans? (Public hearing held on 7/15.) Alan Marriner, deputy city attorney, presented the emergency ordinance establishing an immediate moratorium on development applications and permits relating to the redevelopment of existing mobile home or manufactured home parks. It also reschedules the date of the public hearing to be set before 8/3/2019, instead of the fourth quarter as listed in the draft. (Emergency Ordinance 2019-06-021) Approved 7-0

Action Taken at June 17, 2019 Meeting

Shall the council:
115. Ratify the 2018-2020 collective bargaining agreement with IAFF (International Association of Fire Fighters) Local 106S? The following general terms will apply: base rate for wages will increase by 3.5 percent on 1/1/2018 and 1/1/2019 (retroactively) and on 1/1/2020. Also, the premium for service longevity will increase by 1.5 percent each tier. Rather than a percentage of the premiums, the city will contribute a flat dollar amount towards health insurance premiums, which will increase by 6 percent in 2020 over the 2019 maximum employer contribution amount. There will be an option to transition from the city’s vision and dental plans to IAFF 107 plans at the same contribution tiers as IAFF 106. (Discussed in Executive Session.) Approved 6-0, Daniel Hammill excused.

116. Appropriate $5,521,274 for goods and services checks issued from May 25, 2019 through June 7, 2019? (AB22346/22347) Approved 6-0, Daniel Hammill excused.

117. Appropriate $3,742,296 for payroll checks issued from May 16 through May 31, 2019? (AB22348) Approved 6-0, Daniel Hammill excused.