Bellingham City Council
Action Taken at August 2, 2021 Meeting
The mayor asked that all city staff and the public entering city offices wear face masks, due to the increase of Covid-19 Delta variant case counts and rise in infections in Whatcom County. The pre-registration link for public hearing testimony now has a new url: https://cob.org/ccsignup.
Shall the council:
142. Authorize the mayor to sign an agreement (amendment #2) with Whatcom County for advanced life support services? At the 2016 general election, voters approved an Emergency Medical Services (EMS) property tax levy. The agreement was initially approved at the 12/11/2017 meeting, vote #212. Whatcom County and the city are moving ahead with adding an additional advanced life support unit to the EMS system in the fire department. Since 2016, the fire department has been a contractor to Whatcom County to provide three ALS ambulances, a paramedic captain, and two community paramedics. In 2021, the county will reimburse the city $421,000 and in 2022 $1,496,500. This amendment provides the fire department with the resources to begin hiring, training, and equipping 10 new paramedics to staff a fourth ALS ambulance, planned for in the EMS levy planning process, and covers the start-up of the additional unit. An additional amendment will come forward next year once the resources are in place to have the unit on the road full time. (AB23070) Approved 6-0, Pinky Vargas excused.
143. Maintain the YouTube channel and continue to provide access to future council meetings to the public? On 7/15/2021, the video of the 7/12/2021 regular meeting of the Bellingham City Council was removed by YouTube for violations of YouTube’s terms of service. The violation occurred as part of testimony shared by members of the public during the public comment period. In response to video coverage of the 7/12/2021 City Council regular meeting being pulled from YouTube, and, in order to preserve uninterrupted public access to meetings, the live public comment period was suspended for the 7/26/2021 City Council meeting. YouTube typically is the hosting service for all City Council video content. The city was issued a warning from YouTube when the video was pulled. The city appealed this decision, and the appeal was denied. YouTube is integral to the city’s media engagement with the public, and no suitable replacements exist. (AB23073) Approved 6-0, Pinky Vargas excused.
144. Appropriate $5,128,360 for goods and services checks issued from June 18 through June 24, 2021? (AB23075/23076) Approved 6-0, Pinky Vargas excused.
145. Appropriate $ 3,771,575.24 for payroll checks issued from July 01 through July 15, 2021? (AB23077) Approved 6-0, Pinky Vargas excused.
146. Defer Initiative 2021-01 to 2021 general election and prepare “for” and “against” statements for the voters’ pamphlet? The initiative expands tenant rights to include rental relocation assistance. To prepare statements for the voters pamphlet, the council designates Sage Jones, Eve Smason-Marcus, and Seth Mangold to serve on the committee “for” the initiative bill and Jim Henderson, Bret Beaupain, and Jon Neville the to serve on the committee “against” the initiative bill. AB23045 (Resolution 2021-18) Approved 6-0, Pinky Vargas excused.
147. Defer Initiative 2021-02 to the 2021 general election and prepare “for” and “against” statements for the voters’ pamphlet? The initiative would prohibit the use of facial recognition technology and predictive policing technology. To prepare statements for the voters’ pamphlet, the council designates Cleveland Harris II, Jessmaya Morales, and Josh Cerretti to serve on the committee “for” the initiative bill and Phyllis McKee, David Charleston, and Sean Brogan to serve on the committee “against” the initiative. AB23047 (Resolution 2021-19) Approved 6-0, Pinky Vargas excused.
148. Defer Initiative 2021-03 to the 2021 general election and prepare “for” and “against” statements for the voters’ pamphlet? The initiative would prohibit recipients using city funds to discourage unionization effort. To prepare statements for the voters’ pamphlet, the council designates Peter Pihos, Hannah Fishman, and Betsy Pernotto to serve on the committee “for” the initiative bill and designates Dan Dunne, Dave Onkels, and one other to be determined, to serve on the committee “against” the initiative. AB23048 (Resolution 2021-20) Approved 6-0, Pinky Vargas excused.
149. Defer Initiative 2021-04 to the 2021 general election and prepare “for” and “against” statements for the voters’ pamphlet? The initiative concerns employee rights for hourly-wage employees and gig workers. To prepare statements for the voters’ pamphlet, the council designates Sam Wambold, Stephanie Oppelaar, and Tyler Occhiogrosso to serve on the committee “for” the initiative bill and designates Chelsea Acton, Kerri Lonergan-Dreke, and Sarah Rothenbuhler to serve on the committee “against” the initiative. AB23049 (Resolution 2021-21) Approved 6-0, Pinky Vargas excused.
150. Appoint committees to prepare statements for and against a proposed charter amendment to reduce the number of signatures required to amend the charter by the petition method? At the 7/12/2021 vote #127, the council approved the ballot measure to amend the city charter to change the method for calculating the number of signatures needed to amend the charter by the petition method. To prepare a statement for the voters’ pamphlet, the council designates Michael Lilliquist, Andrew Redding, and Cindy Madigan to serve on the committee “for” the proposed charter amendment. The City Council made several efforts to solicit committee members to serve on the committee “against” the proposed charter amendment and none applied. AB23050 (Resolution 2021-22) Approved 5-0-2, Pinky Vargas excused and Michael Lilliquist recused.
151. Appoint committees to prepare statements for and against a proposed charter amendment to reduce the number of signatures required to propose an initiative? At the 7/12/2021 meeting, vote #128 the council approved a resolution proposing a ballot measure to amend the city charter to reduce the number of signatures required to propose an initiative from 20 percent to 10 percent of the total number of votes cast for the office of mayor at the last preceding municipal general election. To prepare a statement for the voters pamphlet, the council designates Michael Lilliquist, Andrew Redding, and Cindy Madigan to serve on the committee “for” the proposed Charter amendment. The council made several efforts to solicit committee members to service on the committee “against” the proposed charter amendment and none applied. AB23051 (Resolution 2021-23) Approved 5-0-2, Pinky Vargas excused and Michael Lilliquist recused.
Action Taken at August 30, 2021 Meeting
Shall the council:
152. Authorize the mayor to sign a $100,000 settlement agreement with Daniel Lee Young? The following was obtained from the Claim for Damages form filed with the city of Bellingham. The amount requested was $5 million. On 6/2/2016, Daniel Lee Young (transgender and undergoing gender affirmation as a female) was asleep in her father’s apartment when members of the Bellingham Police Department burst into the home, tasing Daniel Young and her 64-year-old father who was undergoing kidney dialysis and barely able to walk. Daniel Young was charged with sexual assault, assault of an officer and resisting arrest. After six months of repeated court hearings, the charges were dropped by the prosecutor. As the result of the criminal charges, Daniel Young was evicted from her home and was homeless for over a year. The officer’s bodycam malfunctioned so there is no footage of the incident. (Discussed in Executive Session) Approved 6-0, Dan Hammill excused.
153. Approve the mayor’s appointment of Jagwinder Gill to his first term on the Immigration Advisory Board? An immigrant from the Philippines in 2008, he runs a farm in Everson. At the 11/4/2019 meeting, vote #197, the council established the Immigration Advisory Board. It reviews and evaluates policies regarding compliance with state law and makes specific recommendations regarding policies related to immigration matters; provides for data collection regarding contact between the city of Bellingham, Immigration and Customs Enforcement or Customs and Border Protection; and includes periodic updates to council. on the Immigration Advisory Board. His first term will expire on 8/30/2023, at which time he may be reappointed. (AB23082) Approved 6-0, Dan Hammill excused.
154. Authorize the mayor to award the low bid of $957,440 to Faber Construction of Lynden to reroof the Mount Baker Theatre? The engineer’s estimate was $900,000. The city and the Mount Baker Theater have shared responsibilities for funding and construction repairs and maintenance of the theater building. The roofing project involves selective exterior renovations including roofing, flashing, fall protection, and mechanical improvements. The city received two bids: the high bid was $1,058,080. The theater obtained a grant from the state of Washington for exterior work completed in 2020, but did not spend all of the authorized grant funds. Funding will come from the city and $319,000 in state grant funds. (AB23083) Approved 6-0, Dan Hammill excused.
155. Extend sewer service to 665 Marine Drive? Sewer service outside the city limits requires City Council approval. The property owner of the single-family residence constructed in 1940 was informed by the Whatcom County Health Department that the existing on-site septic system had failed. A licensed septic designer investigated the site and recommended connection to city sewer which is adjacent to the property. The property owner will be responsible to pay for the construction and all appropriate connection charges and monthly service charges. (AB23084) Approved 6-0, Dan Hammill excused.
156. Authorize the mayor to renew a three-year agreement with Western Washington University for Lake Whatcom monitoring? The contract is for $937,298. The city of Bellingham (then New Whatcom) has utilized Lake Whatcom as a source of drinking water since 1885. For 100 years, only sparse and sporadic monitoring had occurred on this resource. Beginning in the 1980s, the Lake Whatcom Monitoring Program was initiated by the city and Western Washington University to measure and track long-term lake data for temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, conductivity, turbidity, and nutrients, including nitrogen and phosphorus. The work of the monitoring program is performed by Western’s Institute for Watershed Studies and funded by the city. Lake Whatcom monitoring provides critical data to inform actions of the Lake Whatcom Management Program. (AB23085) Approved 6-0, Dan Hammill excused.
157. Change public engagement with the City Council? Circumstances during the Covid pandemic have made public interaction problematic. See the 8/2/2021 meeting, vote #143, for details about YouTube violations during public comment periods. This pilot program will host public comment periods outside of the regular council meetings. All the dates for public comment periods are on Monday: October 18, November 1, November 15, November 29, December 20 and December 27. Three council members will be present on a rotating basis. Speakers during general public comment periods will be given three minutes, not topic specific and only view-point neutral restrictions, virtually or in-person (priority, as permissible), while town hall meetings will happen quarterly with full council in attendance. (AB23091) Approved 6-0, Dan Hammill excused.
158. Appropriate $9,852,879 for goods and services checks issued from July 16, 2021 through August 05, 2021? (AB23095/23096/23097) Approved 6-0, Dan Hammill excused.
159. Appropriate $3,864,121 for payroll checks issued from July 16 to July 31, 2021? (AB23098) Approved 6-0, Dan Hammill excused.
160. Grant an easement for Padden Lagoon to the Port of Bellingham? The Port of Bellingham is experiencing issues with theft at their Fairhaven Marine Industrial Park and would like to install security gates at the Harrison Avenue entrances. The port discovered that the westerly driveway and associated proposed gate, closest to Padden Lagoon, is just beyond the port’s property line. The Padden Lagoon tidelands were deeded to the city by the port in 1989. The port is requesting a permanent easement from the city to allow for a portion of the proposed fence and gate to be located on city property. The port’s site plan, including gate and fence design, was reviewed and approved by the city as part of the fire apparatus access road permit obtained by the port (AB23099) Approved 6-0, Dan Hammill excused.
161. Authorize the mayor to sign an agreement with the state of Washington for the Pollution Prevention Assistance Partnership? The state provides $226,402 over two years to fund program labor and expenses. Since the 3/31/2008 meeting, vote #83, the city of Bellingham has partnered with the state Department of Ecology to implement the voluntary local source control program. This partnership is now referred to as the Pollution Prevention Assistance Partnership. This partnership funds city employees to provide education, outreach, and technical support to small businesses regarding proper practices to handle and dispose of hazardous and/or dangerous waste. The program aids business owners in maintaining compliance with federal, state and local laws and protects our stormwater, sewer, lands and waterways from contamination. The agreement expires on 6/30/2023. (AB23100) Approved 6-0, Dan Hammill excused.
162. End the agreement with Whatcom County for the coordinated design of the West Horton Road extension project? The city and county entered into an agreement at the 3/27/2017 meeting, vote #52, to coordinate the design of Horton Road from its existing terminus west of Guide Meridian to Northwest Avenue. It established the funding obligations of both parties. Due to changed priorities, the high cost of environmental mitigation and the lack of funding to construct within the next 8-10 years as required by the grant, the city and county no longer desire to construct the county portion between Aldrich Road and Northwest Avenue. This amendment terminates the agreement, the county will reimburse the city $250,000 for design costs expended and work completed. (AB23101) Approved 6-0, Dan Hammill excused.
163. Relinquish an easement recorded with the 1997 Dumas Avenue Street vacation ordinance? On 12/23/1996, the City Council approved the vacation of Dumas Ave. between 39th and Lincoln streets. The ordinance included a conservation easement (CE) to protect a wetland assumed to be in proximity to the subject right of way. It is atypical for conservation easements to be conveyed in this manner. As such, the CE was not identified in the permitting documents for the development of 3815 Elwood Avenue. A SEPA review was completed for the project and a wetland delineation confirmed the wetland to be almost entirely outside of the vacated right-of-way. In accordance with local, state, and federal regulations, said wetland was filled and mitigated for off-site. The environmental aspects originally intended to be preserved via the incorrectly mapped conservation easement have been properly mitigated for at a different property in the city, and development has occurred in portions of the CE for the construction of a stormwater vault, retaining walls, parking lot, and utilities for 3815 Elwood Avenue. AB23090 (Resolution 2021-24) Approved 6-0, Dan Hammill excused.
164. Docket two amendments to the Bellingham Comprehensive Plan for review in 2021-2022? (Public Hearing held.) The amendments include: a request to rezone a property located at 2948 James Street in Area 1A of the Sunnyland Neighborhood from Residential Single to Residential Multiple/Mixed (office allowed), and a rezone request in Area 1 of the Cordata Neighborhood to remove all “Town Center” references in the Cordata Planned Unit Development. The amendments will be reviewed in the next amendment cycle. AB23078 (Resolution 2021-25) Approved 6-0, Dan Hammill excused.
165. Renew the Cascade Natural Gas franchise? Cascade Natural Gas maintains a network of natural gas pipelines within city rights-of-way pursuant to its franchise agreement with the city. The current franchise was approve at the 9/12/2011 meeting, vote #184, and expired on 9/13/2021. The basic terms and conditions of the franchise have remained largely unchanged over the past two terms. The city’s franchise application fee of $1,500 has been paid and Cascade Natural Gas is subject to the city’s standard permit fee schedule for construction permitting. It is also subject to the city’s 6 percent utility tax on gross revenues earned in Bellingham. AB23059 (Ordinance 2021-08-032) Approved 6-0, Dan Hammill excused.
166. Renew and extend an emergency ordinance imposing a moratorium on the processing of applications for detached single-family dwelling units in multifamily zones? (Public hearing held at September 27 meeting.) At the 3/9/2020 meeting, vote #46, the council adopted a one-year emergency moratorium on the processing of applications for and the construction of new detached or attached single-family dwelling units. At the 3/8/2021 meeting, vote #44, the council renewed and extended the moratorium for six months. This ordinance is a six-month moratorium prohibiting the construction of any new detached or attached single-family dwelling units in multifamily zones or land divisions that create new, detached single-family homes. A public hearing is required within 60 days of passage of an emergency ordinance. AB22599 (Emergency Ordinance 2021-08-033) Approved 6-0, Dan Hammill excused.
Action Taken at September 13, 2021 Meeting
Shall the council:
167. Authorize the mayor to sign an agreement with Whatcom County for a homeless communication strategy? This agreement provides funding for Reading Communications to work in partnership with the city of Bellingham, Whatcom County and local community organizations to gather information, develop a communications strategy and create a resource toolkit to be used, as needed, to inform and mobilize the community about the challenges and solutions regarding to homelessness in Whatcom County. The city will reimburse the county up to $19,050. (AB23086) Approved 6-0, Gene Knutson excused.
168. Authorize the mayor to award low bids to both Forma Construction and Colacurcio Brothers for the city’s job order contracting program? At the 5/8/2017 meeting, vote #87, the council approved the use of the job order contracting process for projects which do not exceed $350,000. Small public work projects involving building maintenance, upgrades and renovations and minor construction (with minimum design requirements) can be efficiently handled using this method of contracting. The city received five responses which were opened on 7/7/21 (Phase I) and on 7/20/21 (Phase II). The general contractor’s adjustment factor was within the engineers estimate. Council approves the contracts with them for the initial terms of two years, with a minimum commitment of $100,000. State law allows, but does not guarantee, additional work up to $4,000,000 per year if funds are available, with a maximum of $350,000 per approved job work order. (AB23102) Approved 6-0, Gene Knutson excused.
169. Appropriate $3,726,746 for payroll checks issued from August 1 to August 15, 2021? (AB23104) Approved 6-0, Gene Knutson excused.
170. Appropriate $6,449,917 for goods and services checks issued from August 6 through August 26, 2021? (AB23105/23106/23107) Approved 6-0, Gene Knutson excused.
171. Authorize the mayor to sign an agreement with Whatcom County Fire District #8 to provide maintenance and repair services for the district’s fire trucks, ambulances, related equipment and vehicles? The city of Bellingham and Whatcom County Fire District #8 have a joint operating agreement for operations, shared resources and administration. The city has been maintaining the district’s rolling stock equipment on an ad hoc, informal basis as part of the joint operations. The agreement also formalizes billing procedures, scheduling of work and liability protections. The city has similar maintenance agreements with other local fire districts, Whatcom County and the Port of Bellingham. Since the city has been performing this work on an informal basis for several years, no additional staff resources are needed at this time. Revenue to the fleet fund from District #8 for services, labor and materials will offset expenditures. (AB23108) Approved 6-0, Gene Knutson excused.
172. Authorize the mayor to sign an agreement with Whatcom County for a portion of a federal grant? The 2021 Byrne Justice Assistance Grant Program has allocated $38,736 grant funding to Whatcom County: $24,735 for the city of Bellingham and $14,001 for Whatcom County. The city will use the money to purchase body armor (ballistic resistant vests). (AB23109) Approved 6-0, Gene Knutson excused.
173. Authorize the mayor to sign an agreement with the state of Washington to sponsor two Washington Conservation Corps crews for natural resource projects? The total cost will not exceed $511,000 and will run from from 10/1/2021 to 9/30/2022. The two crews’ work will continue the city’s long-term commitment to improving and protecting the community’s water quality, salmon habitat, and open space. The city’s crews serve the city though an interagency agreement with the Department of Ecology. The WCC program is a partnership between the city of Bellingham, the Washington State Department of Ecology and the federal AmeriCorps program. It provides meaningful service and training opportunities to young adults (ages 18-25) and military veterans. Crews will perform riparian restoration work throughout the city of Bellingham and the Lake Whatcom watershed. (AB23110) Approved 6-0, Gene Knutson excused.
174. Grant a street vacation for a portion of Stuart Road between Northwest Drive and Interstate 5? (Closed record hearing held.) The Public Works Department petitioned for the vacation of a approximately 1.76 acres of Stuart Road between Northwest Drive and Interstate 5 in order to facilitate use of the undeveloped right-of-way for the city’s wetland mitigation habitat bank. The vacation is between two other city parcels that will also be part of the bank. The Bellingham Hearing Examiner held a virtual public hearing on 6/9/2021 and recommended approval of the vacation. An appraisal was not conducted to determine the amount of compensation necessary to vacate the subject right-of-way because the city is the petitioner and owner in fee of the three abutting parcels, and all the jurisdictional steps preliminary to the vacation have been taken as provided by law. A unanimous recommendation was made and approved to adopt the hearing examiner’s findings with no compensation. AB23088 (Ordinance 2021-09-034) Approved 6-0, Gene Knutson excused.
175. Grant a street vacation petition for “Center Street” located between D, E, Astor and Bancroft streets in “Old Town”? (Closed record hearing held.) The petitioner, Parberry’s Incorporated, has petitioned the city to vacate the remaining full width (16’) of Center Street located between D, E, Astor and Bancroft Streets in Old Town. The Bellingham Hearing Examiner held a virtual public hearing on 7/14/2021 and recommended approval of the vacation. Parberry’s intends to market and sell the property with compensation set at $84,000. AB23089 (Ordinance 2021-09-035) Approved 6-0, Gene Knutson excused.
176. Prohibit food delivery platforms from listing restaurant menus and delivery options without their permission? It creates a number of problems, including menus with inaccurate listings and prices, poor delivery experiences and operational challenges when order volume exceeds restaurant capacity. The ordinance does not take effect until 11/1/2021, providing restaurants with time to reach agreements with any delivery services they wish to engage. AB23044 (Ordinance 2021-09-036) Approved 6-0, Gene Knutson excused.
177. Amend the 2021-2022 biennial budget? This amendment adds $1,292,209 in expenses, $319,000 in revenue, and 2.6 full time positions. It makes changes to the general fund in the Human Resources Department, as well as funding for the library and repairs to the Mount Baker Theater’s roof. AB23093 (Ordinance 2021-09-037) Approved 6-0, Gene Knutson excused.