Bellingham City Council
Action Taken at March 9, 2020 Meeting
Shall the council:
36. Spend $507,000 to acquire 9.39 acres from Charles E. and Maria L. Swift located in the Lake Whatcom Watershed? The purchase will be made in connection with the city’s Lake Whatcom Watershed Property Acquisition Program in order to protect the drinking water source of approximately 100,000 people. (Discussed in Executive Session.) Approved 7-0
37. Spend $250,000 to acquire 1.4 acres from Christine Valentine located in the Lake Whatcom Watershed? The purchase will be made in connection with the city’s Lake Whatcom Watershed Property Acquisition Program in order to protect the drinking water source of approximately 100,000 people. (Discussed in Executive Session.) Approved 7-0
38. Spend $2,310,000 to acquire 29 acres from Bakerview Nursery Property, LLC for park purposes? The property is located south of East Bakerview Road. (Discussed in Executive Session.) Approved 7-0
39. Approve the mayor’s appointment of Monika Cassidy to the Immigration Advisory Board? At the 11/4/2019 meeting, vote #197, the council established the Immigration Advisory Board. A resident of Bellingham for over 22 years, she has worked with the Peace and Justice Center as well as C2C, and is president of the South Neighborhood Association. Her two-year term will expire on 3/9/2022, at which time she may be reappointed. (AB22594) Approved 7-0
40. Authorize the mayor to sign a contract with Kittitas County to house overflow inmates in the Ellensburg jail? At the 4/22/2002 meeting, vote #59, the city authorized the mayor to sign a contract with Yakima County to house sentenced inmates. This Kittitas County contract is necessary because of the termination of the contract with Yakima County and construction occurring at the Whatcom County jail. Whatcom County charges the same base rate of $121 as Kittitas County plus a $13 capital charge for inmates housed at the Kittitas County jail. There is no charge for transportation to or from Kittitas County. As a result of this arrangement, a smaller number of Bellingham inmates are being housed outside Whatcom County, pretrial hearings are being held in Whatcom County, and inmates with greater needs from a behavioral health perspective (complex cases) remain in Whatcom County. (AB22597) Approved 7-0
41. Authorize the mayor to adopt an interim amendment process with Whatcom County concerning countywide planning policies? The Growth Management Act (GMA) requires Whatcom County, in cooperation with the seven cities, to adopt countywide planning policies (CWPPs). A 2017 change to the GMA requires amendments to the CWPPs to reflect the addition of Whatcom County to the “buildable lands” requirements of the GMA. The current CWPPs, adopted in 1993, are intended to be used as a guide when jurisdictions update their comprehensive plans. However, there is no established process, either in state law or locally, to amend or update the CWPPs. Permanent amendment procedures will be established as the policies are updated with the next comprehensive plan update due in 2024. (AB22602) Approved 7-0
42. Appropriate $2,979,190 for goods and services checks issued from January 18 through January 31, 2020? (AB22604/22605) Approved 7-0
43. Appropriate $3,761,684 for payroll checks issued from January 16 through January 31, 2020? (AB22606) Approved 7-0
44. Authorize a development agreement adopting an alternative street standard for a portion of E. Kellogg Road? (Public hearing held at February 10 meeting.) The Spring Creek Bible Church owns real property abutting E. Kellogg Road, and Kellogg Properties owns property adjacent to the church. In April 2001, the city and the Calvary Temple, the prior owner of the church and the Kellogg Properties, entered into an agreement for an utility service zone extension. The Kellogg Property is currently vacant, and Kellogg intends to develop it into a housing project with both single and multifamily units. Kellogg has included in the project a portion of the adjacent church property to be acquired from the church for stormwater and wetland mitigation purposes. The application proposes bicycle and pedestrian improvements to Kellogg Road that are different than the full standard curb, gutter, and sidewalk improvements required by the extension agreement. At the 2/10/2020 meeting, vote #18, the council authorized the mayor to sign a development agreement for the alternative street standard. AB22554 (Resolution 2020-10) Approved 7-0
45. Create an incentive program for innovative, affordable low-income homeownership projects? (Public hearing held at February 24 meeting.) This ordinance incentivizes development of owner-occupied housing for low-income households with restrictions on resale, based on discussions with Kulshan Community Land Trust has an upcoming project, past public comment, and staff recommendations. The program was first approved in 2004 and included a sunset clause which expired on 12/31/2014 unless renewed by City Council. Incentives include up to a 50 percent density increase and other modifications to zoning requirements, including minimum lot size, street frontage, setbacks, parking, lot coverage and usable space. These changes would be effected by modifying the 75 percent affordability requirement to 51 percent, eliminating the requirement to be located within one-quarter mile walking distance to transit or urban villages, and expanding the allowed areas to include urban village residential transition zones. Housing would have to be affordable to those earning less than 80 percent of the real median income, with resale restrictions ensuring continued affordability, and must meet outlined design standards. AB20767 (Ordinance 2020-03-005) Approved 7-0
46. Adopt a moratorium on the processing of applications for and the construction of new detached or attached single-family dwelling units? The emergency 12-month moratorium prohibits the construction of any new detached or attached single-family development in multifamily zones or land divisions that create new, detached single-family homes. A public hearing is required within 60 days of passage of this ordinance. AB22599 (Emergency Ordinance 2020-03-006) Approved 7-0
Action Taken at March 23, 2020 Meeting
Shall the council:
47. (Non-voting issue) Update on Covid-19 from Bellingham Emergency Management. The governor issued a stay-at-home order on the evening of 3/23/2020. Due to the pandemic, the Lighthouse Mission drop-in center was deemed inadequate for social distancing. For the health and safety of the population that uses the center, the Bellingham High School was chosen as a site for the drop-in center, with Whatcom Transit Authority offering transportation services to the high school. The Food Bank will be reopening for service with some adjustments that create social distancing. Unity Village [20 tiny homes] in Fairhaven was scheduled to move in April — it will stay in place until July 2021. Mark Gardner, legislative analyst, will be assisting the mayor’s administration by evaluating the status of relief packages from both the federal and state government. Police Chief David Doll is serving as chair of the city of Bellingham Operations Group, a group that formed to ensure continuity of city government as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Fire Chief Bill Hewett, is currently serving as an incident commander under Whatcom County Unified Command. (AB22593)
48. Establish remote attendance procedures for Bellingham City Council members? The council president may approve a councilmember’s appearance at a council meeting via remote communication when action on a measure to be voted on cannot be delayed, but rather requires immediate action or remedy and one or more of the following circumstances exists: (1) an emergency exists, such as a natural disaster or pandemic; (2) a vote of the council of the whole is required for action, or; (3) a unanimous vote of the whole council is required for passage. Council members appearing via remote communication may participate and vote during the meeting as if they were physically present. Satisfactory equipment shall consist of any telephone or other device equipped with a speaker function capable of broadcasting the council member’s voice clearly and sufficiently enough to be heard by those in attendance at the meeting. The council member participating remotely must be able to hear the entire proceedings, including all participants, and all participants at the meeting must be able hear the council member appearing by telephone or other electronic means. (AB22607) Approved 6-0, Lisa Anderson excused.
49. Authorize the mayor to sign an agreement with Whatcom County for domestic violence perpetrator treatment services? The city will appropriate up to $100,000 for the treatment services. Whatcom County currently experiences insufficient capacity of, and local accessibility to, certified treatment for defendants who have a history of violent behavior toward intimate partners and family members. The Whatcom County District Court probation department will administer a program to pay for domestic violence perpetrator treatment for defendants referred by Bellingham Municipal Court. The county will screen for indigency and other qualifying factors, determine treatment program eligibility, and report to the court regarding whether defendants have complied with treatment. Whatcom County and the city worked collaboratively to develop the guidelines for this program. (AB22611) Approved 6-0, Lisa Anderson excused.
50. Appropriate $7,402,190 for payroll checks issued from February 1 through February 29, 2020? (AB22612/22613) Approved 6-0, Lisa Anderson excused.
51. Appropriate $3,131,381 for goods and services checks issued from February 29 through March 13, 2020? (AB22614/22615) Approved 6-0, Lisa Anderson excused.
52. Extend indefinitely the phased Business and Occupation Tax credit? At the 12/7/2015 meeting, vote #248, the council adopted an ordinance to provide an incentive for new businesses to locate in the city center, old town, waterfront, Samish Way Urban Village and Fountain District Urban Village; it expired on 12/31/2018. The phased credit will be at 90 percent of the tax due in the first year, 75 percent of the tax due in second year, and 50 percent of the tax due in the third year. The purpose of the incentive is to send a clear message that the city of Bellingham prioritizes infill development and reduction of vacancies in these districts, and it does not affect B&O taxes collected by the state of Washington. AB22601 (Ordinance 2020-03-007) Approved 6-0, Lisa Anderson excused.
53. Allow the mayor to bypass normal permit review and authorize public facilities to be used to provide temporary homeless shelters and other services needed to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic? The World Health Organization has declared the Covid-19 disease a global pandemic. The city and local agencies that provide rental assistance, homeless prevention services, and social support services anticipate a dramatic increase in demand for services due to an increase in the number of people experiencing homelessness, which creates a heightened risk of disease transmission. On 3/12/2020, the mayor issued a proclamation of local emergency as a result of Covid-19 and an executive order on 3/20/2020 allowing him to authorize the use of public facilities, whether owned by a governmental entity, leased by a governmental entity, or used under a license by a governmental entity, to provide temporary shelter and other services needed to respond to the pandemic to people experiencing homelessness. This assistance includes but is not limited to food distribution, medical care and social services, and allows the city to move through procedural requirements relating to zoning, though only the mayor can authorize the use of these facilities in the ordinance. This ordinance shall be in effect until the mayor proclaims that the Covid-19 pandemic is no longer considered a public health emergency or until this order is subsequently amended. A public hearing must be held within 60 days of passing an emergency ordinance. AB22608 (Emergency Ordinance 2020-03-008) Approved 6-0, Lisa Anderson excused.
54. Improve the city’s ability to respond to emergencies? According to Peter Ruffatto, city attorney, it is difficult to meet the timelines for confirmation of emergency orders. This ordinance does not add any emergency powers to the city of Bellingham or to the mayor, nor does it execute or implement any emergency orders. This ordinance is intended to align emergency functions with the City Charter and with modern emergency response, including the Incident Command System and National Incident Management System. It reduces membership to the mayor, the director of emergency services, and the city council president (or designee). The timeline for review of emergency action by the Emergency Service Council will be every seven days, but this period can be extended based on the nature of the emergency. The timeline for confirmation of mayoral orders requiring legislative action will be as soon as practicable following execution of the order. This order clarifies that mayoral orders, which are primarily internal to city processes, do not require legislative confirmation. A public hearing must be held within 60 days of passing an emergency ordinance. AB22609 (Emergency Ordinance 2020-03-009) Approved 6-0, Lisa Anderson excused.