Whatcom County Council
Compiled by Barry MacHale
Action Taken at September 28, 2021 Meeting
Shall the council:
212. Designate four wildlife species as “Species of Local Importance?” (Public hearing held.) The Wildlife Advisory Committee recommended the Western toad also known as boreal toad (Anaxyrus [formerly Bufo] boreas), the coastal tailed frog (Ascaphus truei), and Townsend’s big-eared bat (Coryrhinus townsendii) and elk (Cervus elaphus) be designed “Species of Local Importance.” (AB2021-359) Amended (elk were removed) and approved 4-3, Tyler Byrd, Ben Elenbaas, and Kathy Kershner opposed.
213. Authorize the executive to sign a transfer option agreement with the Opportunity Council for property located at the corner of Laurel and North Forest streets? The property at 1000 and 1010 North Forest Street in Bellingham has an appraised value of $1,230,000. The Opportunity Council is purchasing the property at the apprised value to develop it into an apartment complex to provide long-term affordable rental housing. This agreement is conditioned on the Opportunity Council obtaining an affordable housing covenant. (AB2021-513) Approved 6-1, Tyler Byrd opposed.
214. Authorize the executive to accept a $549,626 state grant for solid waste planning and implementation activities? Solid waste disposal activities have been funded by a state grant since 1996, funding operations at the disposal of toxics facility, which is utilized for the proper disposal and recycling of moderate-risk wastes and three rural waste oil and antifreeze collection stations. An estimated 680,232 pounds of household hazardous waste will be handled properly as a result of these operations. The two-year grant requires a local match of $183,209 for a grand total of $732,835; the grant expires on 6/30/2023. (AB2021-517) Approved 7-0
215. Authorize the executive to accept a $155,053 federal grant for the Whatcom Gang and Drug Task Force? The grant will fund one-half of a clerk position and a portion of one detective position working on drug trafficking, violent crime, and other organized crime enforcement activities. (AB2021-526) Approved 7-0
216. Authorize the executive to accept $255,550 in state grants for the county conservation easement program? The two grants will provide matching funds to support the VanderWerff ($113,775; two development rights; 19.77 acres) and Moors ($141,775; seven development rights; 36 acres) applications to the county conservation easement program. The conservation easement program is used to preserve forest and farmland for farming, habitat conservation, and outdoor recreation purposes. (AB2021-529/530) Approved 7-0
217. Authorize the executive to accept a $355,339 state grant to support the Nurse Family Partnership program? The program provides home visit services for first-time, at-risk mothers, including support during pregnancy and education on child development, safety, and health. The agreement expires on 7/31/2022. (AB2021-532) Approved 7-0
218. Authorize the executive to sign a 100,000 contract with Kramer Consulting of Washington, D.C.?(Council acting as the flood control district board of supervisors.) The contract will provide facilitation services for the WRIA 1 Drainage Based Management Pilot Project. The project seeks to engage key water stakeholders for the purpose of resolving water use issues in the Nooksack Basin. The first phase will address water quality, water supply, instream flow, fish habitat, and accountability, and focus in the Bertrand-Schneider Creek, Drayton Harbor, and South Fork Nooksack River drainages. The contract expires on 4/30/2022. (AB2021-533) Approved 7-0
219. Update the 2021-2023 Criminal Justice Treatment Account Plan? In 2002, state legislators established an account to fund alternatives such as drug court for treating nonviolent offenders with substance use disorder. At the 1/29/2019 meeting, vote #19, the council established the Criminal Justice Treatment Account plan. A total of $644,876 in state funds will be administered in the biennium 2021-2023 for participants with substance use disorder who require treatment and recovery. The account is funded by savings from sentence reduction in state prisons. (AB2021-534) Approved 7-0
220. Authorize the executive to sign a $48,038 contract with the federal government for the annual operation and maintenance of eight stream gauges on the Nooksack River? (Council acting as the flood control district board of supervisors.) The joint funding agreement with the U.S. Department of the Interior will support data collection with real-time access and publication of surface water data from the agreement will continue operation and maintenance of the county’s eight stream gauges within the Nooksack River early flood warning system, at the Saxon bridge and North Cedarville, Anderson Creek, Fishtrap Creek, Skookum Creek, Bertrand Creek and below Cascade Creek near Glacier. The county’s share will be $94,187 for a total of $145,225; the agreement expires on 9/30/2022. (AB2021-540) Approved 7-0
221. Authorize the county Superior Court director to sign a $1,790,621 agreement with the state Administrative Office of the Courts? On 2/25/2021, the Washington Supreme Court issued an opinion in Washington v. Blake, finding that the state law making simple possession of a controlled substance a crime violated the due process clauses of the state and federal constitutions and therefore void. The agreement will provide funds to reimburse Whatcom County for judicial, prosecutorial, or defense-related costs associated with the Washington v. Blake decision. The agreement expires on 6/30/22. (AB2021-545) Approved 5-2, Ben Elenbaas and Kathy Kershner opposed.
222. Confirm the executive’s appointment of Elizabeth Lorence to the Marine Resources Committee? The Marine Resources Committee advises the Whatcom County Council on marine issues, including remedial actions. Ms. Lorence is currently employed as a public health advisor with the state Department of Agriculture. (AB2021-546) Approved 7-0
223. Authorize the executive to sign a $162,400 contract (amendment #6) with Opportunity Council to operate the Whatcom Homeless Service Center? At the 12/8/2020 meeting, vote #257, the council approved the original contract for $796,701 to provide intake and case management services for the Whatcom Homeless Service Center. The purpose of the amendment is to extend the contract and provide funding for rental assistance. The total amended contract is in an amount not to exceed $2,508,023; it expires on 12/31/2021. (AB2021-551) Approved 7-0
224. Authorize the executive to sign a contract not to exceed $10,000 (amendment #2) with Northwest Youth Services to support operations at the ground floor day-use center? The center is a service-oriented space located at 2500 E Street for youth aged 13-24 who are experiencing or are at risk of homelessness; staff provide or connect youth with community partners that offer employment and education support, behavioral health and substance use treatment, case management, and LGBTQ+ resources. The original contract was approved at the 1/28/2020 meeting, vote #15, and it was extended for 2021. This contract is for hazard pay from 9/29/2021 to 12/31/2021. The total amended contract is $270,000; it expires on 12/31/2021. (AB2021-554) Approved 7-0
225. Authorize the executive to sign a $51,752 contract (amendment #1) with Pacific Security to provide Covid-related security services? The original contract (with Parker Corporate Services dba Pacific Security) ran from 6/1/2021 to 9/30/2021. The amendment will extend the contract and the services will be provided at the Covid-19 temporary housing facility as well as at community vaccine clinics. The total amended contract amount is $123,488; it expires on 12/31/2021. (AB2021-555) Approved 4-3, Tyler Byrd, Ben Elenbaas, and Kathy Kershner opposed.
226. Authorize the executive to sign a $60,757 contract (amendment #6) with Catholic Community Services of Bellingham to provide behavioral health support at Francis Place and other housing programs? The original contract was signed at the 6/4/2019 meeting, vote #119. Francis Place is a 42 unit apartment building that provides affordable, permanent, supportive housing for individuals who are experiencing homelessness and require supportive services in order to maintain housing. The amendment will fund one full-time behavioral specialist to be shared with the 22 North Permanent Supportive Housing program operated by the Opportunity Council. The total amended contract is in the amount of $790,505; it expires on 6/30/2022. (AB2021-557) Approved 7-0
227. Fill vacancies on the Drayton Harbor Shellfish Protection District Advisory Committee? The committee advises the County Council on water quality issues in the Drayton Harbor watershed. Applicant(s): Ravyn Whitewolf and Charlie Hawkins. Ms. Whitewolf operates an engineering consulting business and has served on the committee in the 1990s. Mr. Hawkins has worked as a commercial fisherman and is a currently serving member of the committee. Both were appointed to the committee. (AB2021-559) Approved 7-0
228. Authorize the executive to sign a three-month $180,000 contract (amendment #4) with G6 Hospitality Property? The county leases Motel 6 at 3701 Byron Avenue, in Bellingham for the purposes of providing Covid-19-related quarantine and isolation facilities, as well as emergency lodging for families and seniors experiencing homelessness. Both the original contract signed in April 2020 and the first amendment signed in June 2020 were emergencies, so they didn’t need council approval; amendment #2 was approved by the council at the 11/10/2020 meeting, vote #214; and amendment #3 was approved at the 5/4/2021 meeting, vote #107. This amendment will extend the lease through 12/31/2021 and increase it by $10,000 each month to $60,000 monthly. (AB2021-562) Approved 4-3, Tyler Byrd, Ben Elenbaas, and Kathy Kershner opposed.
229. Authorize the sale of surplus property? (Public hearing held.) State law permits the sale of property declared to be surplus and the county purchasing agent has determined it is in the best interest of the county to sell the following property: four pickup trucks; two dump trucks; two sedans; one grader; one dozer; three trailers; two mowers; two broom trucks; three plows; one tank; one pump; used and unsalvageable bridge decks. AB2021-503 (Resolution 2021-038) Approved 7-0
230. Update the six-year (2022-2027) transportation improvement program? (Public hearing held.) The council approved the previous plan at the 9/29/2020 meeting, vote #172. State law requires counties to annually update their transportation plans. The program establishes a list of needed capital improvements and eligibility for site and federal funds and sets the rate for impact fees. Amendments to the program include the addition of eight projects, the removal of four projects, and modification of one project. This vote includes the first six years of the 14-year capital ferry improvement program. AB2021-515 (Resolution 2021-039) Approved 7-0
231. Adopt the six-year (2022 -2027) water resources improvement program? (Public hearing held; council acting as the flood control district board of supervisors.) The council approved the previous plan at the 9/29/2020 meeting, vote #171. State law requires counties to annually update their six-year water resource improvement plans. The plan includes 34 projects that address flood management, salmon recovery, sediment/debris flow issues, and stormwater plans. AB2021-516 (Resolution 2021-040) Approved 7-0
232. Amend the 2021 Whatcom County Flood Control Zone District budget (request #3) in the amount of $175,000? (Council acting as the flood control district board of supervisors.) The funds come from grants provided by the state Department of Ecology ($125,000) and the state Department of Fish and Wildlife ($50,000) and are intended to support collaborative water use planning processes and technical research in the Nooksack Basin. AB2021-522 (Resolution 2021-041) Approved 5-2, Tyler Byrd and Ben Elenbaas opposed.
233. Approve the Water District 13 Small Water System Management Plan? The Public Works department approved the plan on 12/8/2020 with the following conditions: all work in a county right-of-way requires a revocable encroachment permit; depending on the scope of work, additional permits might be required; any work should be done outside of existing pavement where possible; and work in county rights-of-way should be coordinated with county road projects. AB2021-528 (Resolution 2021-042) Approved 7-0
234. Adopt amendments to the county zoning code related to temporary homeless facilities? (Public hearing held.) The council adopted interim zoning regulations at the 7/24/2018 meeting, vote #119, and 11/6/2019 meeting, vote #247. These amendments will add definitions and a new chapter “temporary homeless facilities” addressing capacity, duration, locational requirements and permit procedures. AB2021-500 (Ordinance 2021-055) Adopted 7-0
235. Move a stop sign on Northshore Road? (Public hearing held.) In response to citizen requests, the county engineer has conducted a traffic study of the intersection of Northshore Road (47051) to Smith Creek and Northshore Road (47052) to Lake Whatcom Park. The stop sign was moved from westbound traffic on 47052 to northbound traffic on 47051. AB2021-508 (Ordinance 2021-056) Adopted 7-0
236. Amend the 2021 budget (request #14) in the amount of $315,947? Appropriated: $24,169 to fund the addition of a housing specialist at the health department to assist with the response to homelessness and the operation of affordable housing programs; $291,778 to support temporary benefitted staffing positions at the health department working on the county response to the coronavirus pandemic, including: six contact investigators, two clerks, one communications specialist, one logistics coordinator, and one program specialist. AB2021-512 (Ordinance 2021-057) Adopted 5-2, Tyler Byrd and Ben Elenbaas opposed.
Action Taken at October 12, 2021 Meeting
Shall the council:
237. Authorize the executive to sign a $190,000 contract with Cascadia Policy Solutions of Seattle? (Council acting as the flood control district board of supervisors.) The contract will fund the development and implementation a collaborative water solutions table for the purpose of a supporting regional water use planning in the Nooksack River watershed. The contract expires on 12/31/2022. (AB2021-527) Approved 6-1, Ben Elenbaas opposed.
238. Authorize the executive to sign a $62,683 contract (amendment #3) with Bennett Engineering of Bellingham to monitor of ground and surface water, and gas emissions, from the closed Cedarville and Y Road landfills? (Council acting as the flood control district board of supervisors.) Initial tests began in 1999, and, they did not find any problems. At the 5/21/2002 meeting, vote #89, the council approved a contract for the installation of a ground water and methane gas monitoring system. Bennett Engineering began monitoring the Cedarville and Y Road landfills in 2006. The total amended contract is $168,517; it expires on 12/31/2022. (AB2021-558) Approved 6-1, Ben Elenbaas opposed.
239. Authorize the sheriff and executive to sign six agreements — totaling $276,419 — to enhance border security? The agreements are with: Blaine ($31,923); Everson ($43,500); Ferndale ($63,733); Lynden ($65,000); Sumas ($44,928); and state Department of Fish and Wildlife ($27,335). The federal funds from Operation Stonegarden/Department of Homeland Security are provided to enhance the cooperation and coordination among local, tribal, territorial, state and federal law enforcement agencies to secure the United States border. The expiration date is 12/31/2022. (AB2021-563/564/565/566/567/568) Approved 6-1, Ben Elenbaas opposed.
240. Authorize the executive to accept a $196,000 state grant for the Marine Resources Committee? (Council acting as the flood control district board of supervisors.) The grant will provide funding for Whatcom Marine Resources Committee operations and projects, including: remote beach cleanups; water quality monitoring; bull kelp and forage fish spawning surveys; and monitoring of a pilot Olympia oyster restoration project. (AB2021-579) Approved 7-0
241. Authorize the executive to sign a $580,000 contract (amendment #1) with the state Department of Health? (Council acting as the flood control district board of supervisors.) The contract will provide funding to implement the enhanced pollution identification and correction program with a focus on Portage Bay and Drayton Harbor. The total amended contract is $1,627,732; it expires on 3/31/2023. (AB2021-581) Approved 7-0
242. Authorize the executive to sign a $93,930 contract (amendment #1) to reimburse the city of Bellingham for design for the West Horton Road extension? The extension is between Aldrich Road and Northwest Drive. The original agreement was approved at the 7/27/2017 meeting, vote #125. At the 1/27/2020 meeting, vote #7, the Bellingham City Council approved the low bid of $3,130,515 to Ram Construction of Bellingham for phase 1 of the West Horton Road extension. The city and county have mutually agreed to not continue with phase 2 construction because of cost-prohibitive environmental mitigation and a lack of matching grant funds. The original contract was for $156,070, bringing the total to $250,000. The county will reallocate $1 million in obligated project funds to the Marine Drive Reconstruction Project. (AB2021-587) Approved 7-0
243. Authorize the executive to sign a $33,977 contract (amendment #1) with Northwest Youth Services to provide housing case management services for youth experiencing homelessness? The original $178,771 contract was approved at the 6/29/2021 meeting, vote #151. This amendment will fund increased case management services and hazard pay for staff providing direct services. The total amended contract is $212,748; it expires on 12/31/2021. (AB2021-589) Approved 6-1, Ben Elenbaas opposed.
244. Establish regular Whatcom County Council meeting dates for 2022? The Whatcom County Charter requires the council to meet 22 times per year. Meetings are scheduled for Tuesday; they will be held twice per month, except for one meeting scheduled in August and December. AB2021-538 (Resolution 2021-043) Approved 7-0
245. Request President Biden sign an Executive Order allowing Canadian property owners access to Point Roberts? Approximately 75 percent of residences in Point Roberts are owned by Canadian nationals and have been unable to visit their residences since March 2020. Canadian property owners continue pay property taxes and monthly charges for water service and refuse disposal. The lack of cross-border travel has negatively impacted economic activity and quality of life for permanent residents of Point Roberts. Americans have been allowed to cross into Tsawwassen, B.C., since 8/6/2121. AB2021-597 (Resolution 2021-044) Approved 7-0
246. Adopt amendments to the six-year (2021-2026) capital improvement program for Whatcom County facilities? (Public hearing held.) The program must be updated every two years; it was last updated at the 11/24/2020 meeting, vote #237, and amended at the 5/21/2021 meeting, vote #120. The program addresses count parks, trails, activity centers, maintenance and operations, general government buildings and sites, sheriff’s office, emergency management, adult corrections, juvenile detention, transportation, and stormwater facilities. This amendment adds the Central Plaza Public Defender tenant improvement project to the program. AB2021-539 (Ordinance 2021-058) Adopted 7-0
247. Adopt zoning amendments relating to density credits in the in the Birch Bay UGA? (Public hearing held.) The amendments relate to density credits for accessory dwelling units, and modifying the minimum lot size, width, depth and other requirements in the Birch Bay Urban Residential zone. Density credits allow development incentives such as increased density or floor area to be exchanged for a voluntary contribution towards preserving resource lands and open space, as part of the county Conservation Easement Program. AB2021-543 (Ordinance 2021-059) Adopted 7-0
248. Amend the Unified Fee Schedule? (Public hearing held.) The 2021 schedule was adopted at the 11/24/2020 meeting, vote #238. This amendment will create a density credit fee to allow the size of accessory dwelling units to increase from 1,248 square feet to 1,748 square feet. The fee will be $8 per square foot up to a 500-square-foot maximum. AB2021-544 (Ordinance 2021-060) Adopted 7-0
249. Amend Whatcom County Code related to the establishment of a no shooting-zone in Drayton Harbor? (Public hearing held.) At the 6/1/2021 meeting, vote #133, the council approved the Dearborn (Drayton Harbor) no-shooting zone. It established a no-shooting zone for all aquatic areas and tidelands within Drayton Harbor. This amendment applies to those portions of said harbor within 1,000 feet waterward of the high tide mark of the shoreline of said harbor or the limits of the city of Blaine, whichever is a greater distance from said high tide mark. Tribal members exercising treaty rights to hunt on traditional hunting grounds that are open and unclaimed are not subject to this ordinance. AB2021-185 (Ordinance 2021-061) Adopted 4-3, Barry Buchanan, Todd Donovan, and Carol Frazey opposed.
250. Amend the 2021 budget (request #15) in the amount of $739,440? Appropriated: $16,967 to fund interview rooms with recording equipment and cloud storage services for sheriff’s deputies; $18,976 to fund 18 body cameras with support equipment and services for sheriff’s deputies; $55,945 to fund the purchase of 40 taser devices to replace large-bore “less than lethal” projectile devices used by sheriff’s deputies and mandated by recent state legislation; $13,552 to fund the purchase of 10 BolaWrap “less than lethal” restraint devices; $100,000 to fund a review of the Covid-19 pandemic response adopted by the council at the 7/13/2021 meeting, vote #168; $6,000 in grant funding to replace the wildlife observation system at Tenant Lake; $98,000 to fund the purchase and installation of 15 online streaming cameras at the Auditor’s office for election security purposes; $30,000 to fund the rental of additional office space at the Public Defender’s office; $400,000 in operating transfer to fund the Central Plaza Tenant Improvement project. AB2021-547 (Ordinance 2021-062) Adopted 6-1, Ben Elenbaas opposed.
251. Establish a $400,000 Central Plaza Tenant Improvements project fund and a project-based budget? The project will remodel the second floor of the Central Plaza building in order to accommodate an increase in the number of Public Defender’s office staff working to address a coronavirus-related backlog of cases. AB2021-549 (Ordinance 2021-063) Adopted 6-1, Ben Elenbaas opposed.
252. Amend the ordinance establishing an independent review of the community’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic? At the 7/13/2021 meeting, vote #168, the council voted to select a paid independent commissioner to produce a report for the council, executive and sheriff. This amendment changes the language specific to the qualifications and adds 6/30/2022 as the due date. AB2021-561 (Ordinance 2021-064) Adopted 6-0-1, Ben Elenbaas abstained.
Action Taken at October 26, 2021 Meeting
Shall the council:
253. Authorize the executive to sign a $503,370 contract (amendment #10) with the Opportunity Council? At the 6/5/2018 meeting, vote #90, the council voted to enter into a contract with the Opportunity Council to provide housing case management services, and rental and utility assistance for participants in the state housing and essential needs program. This amendment lowers the number of households receiving monthly bags of essential needs, instead providing move-in kits, and slightly increases the number of households receiving case management services. The total amended contract is $7,207,482; it expires 6/30/2022. (AB2021-595) Approved 7-0
254. Revise the boundary of the Birch Bay “Golf Cart Zone?” The zone was created at the 5/22/2018 meeting, vote #79, which included Birch Bay Drive and all Whatcom County roads that lead to, or are contiguous with, Birch Bay Drive. As per state law, roads within the zone are required to be posted at 25 mph. The zone was reauthorized for perpetuity at the 10/22/2019 meeting, vote #236. At the 8/10/2021 meeting, vote #195, the speed limit on a portion of Bay Road was increased to 35 mph removing it from the “Golf Cart one.” This vote adds Alderson Road to Gemini Street to the “Golf Cart Zone.” (AB2021-598) Approved 7-0
255. Rescind the amendment to the no-shooting zone in the Drayton Harbor area? At the 6/1/2021 meeting, vote #133, the council established the no-shooting zone, and at the 10/12/2021 meeting, vote #249, the council amended the no-shooting zone. This vote rescinds the vote at the 10/12/2021 meeting. (AB2021-611) Approved 7-0
256. Adopt the 2022 annual construction program? (Public hearing held.) The road construction program (also called the annual construction program) is identical to the first year of the six-year (2022-2027) transportation improvement plan, which was approved at the 9/28/2021 meeting, vote #230. Total expenditures are estimated at $29,070,000 for 53 projects. AB2021-576 (Resolution 2021-045) Approved 7-0
257. Update the 2015 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) project list? State law requires grant applicants seeking public works funding from the Economic Development Administration to develop and update an economic development plan. At the 8/13/2002 meeting, vote #154, the council adopted the first Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy and updated it every five years. The 2015 strategy was approved at the 3/31/2015 meeting, vote #49, and updated at the 4/23/2019 meeting, vote #88. This updates the appendix adding, removing, and/or revising projects previously listed. AB2021-447 (Resolution 2021-046) Substitute approved 7-0
258. Amend the Whatcom County Flood Control Zone District & subzones’ 2021 budget (request #4) in the amount of $855,502? (Council acting as the flood control district board of supervisors.) The funds will be used on the Harborview Drive drainage project and will address flooding along Birch Bay Drive. The project will be completed in fall of 2021. AB2021-583 (Resolution 2021-047) Approved 7-0
259. Amend Whatcom County code related to the processing of road vacation petitions? (Public hearing held.) The code amendment will better align the processing of road vacation petitions and provide better service to petitioners. The code changes will clarify and correct outdated sections of the code passed in 1993 and 1994. AB2021-572 (Ordinance 2021-065) Adopted 7-0
260. Continue the interim moratorium on the acceptance and processing of permit applications for new or expanded indoor and outdoor recreational cannabis growing and/or processing facilities? (Public hearing held.) The current marijuana production, processing, and retailing regulations were passed at the 3/31/2015 meeting, vote #52. At the 4/6/2021 meeting, vote #92, the council approved the first interim moratorium. This vote imposes a moratorium on the conversion of land or water and/or new building or structure permits in response to complaints from neighbors adjacent to the grow operations. Interim moratoria are required to be renewed every six months. AB2021-590 (Ordinance 2021-066) Substitute adopted 5-2, Ben Elenbaas and Kathy Kershner opposed.
261. Amend the 2021 budget (request #16) in the amount of $411,953? Appropriated: $27,019 to fund legal representation for individuals seeking to obtain vacations of felony convictions as a result of the 2021 Blake court decision; $12,000 to fund the indigent transportation and cremation services; $385,466 to fund Opportunity Council contracted public services and micro-enterprise assistance. AB2021-582 (Ordinance 2021-067) Adopted 6-1, Tyler Byrd opposed