Whatcom County Council
Compiled by Barry MacHale
Action Taken at July 7, 2020 Meeting
Shall the council:
108. Authorize the executive to sign contracts with San Juan County and Skagit County for youth (ages 12-20) marijuana-use prevention? Whatcom County is the lead agency for a state-funded youth marijuana-use prevention and education program, and these contracts will provide resources for San Juan and Skagit County to participate in the program. The contracts are for $26,000 each and expire on 6/30/2021. AB2020-255/258) Approved 5-0-1, Tyler Byrd opposed, Kathy Kershner absent.
109. Authorize the executive to sign a proposed interlocal planning agreement with all seven cities in Whatcom County? The Growth Management Act requires that county governments adopt countywide planning policies in cooperation with cities in that county. This agreement establishes interim procedures for amending countywide planning policies. The agreement expires upon the adoption of final procedures for review and adoption of planning policy amendments, or by 6/30/2024, whichever comes first. (AB2020-263) Approved 6-0, Kathy Kershner absent.
110. Authorize the executive to sign a $415,000 funding agreement for the Duffner Ditch culvert and flood gate replacement project? (Council acting as the flood control district board of supervisors.) The project will replace two corrugated metal colverts with one concrete culvert and a fish-friendly flood gate to allow passage into Bertrand Creek. The total project is estimated to cost $435,000. The Natural Resources Conservation Service will provide a $295,000 payment upon the project completion. The agreement expires on 6/30/2023. (AB2020-267) Approved 6-0, Kathy Kershner absent.
111. Authorize the executive to accept a $400,725 grant from the federal government? The Department of Homeland Security grant is funneled through the Washington State Military Department and will provide support coordination of law enforcement entities related to the Operation Stonegarden border security initiative. Participants include: the Whatcom County sheriff’s office; U.S. Border Patrol, state Department of Fish and Wildlife; and the cities of Blaine, Everson, Ferndale, Lynden, and Sumas police departments. It expires on 4/30/2022. (AB2020-269) Approved 5-0-1, Todd Donovan abstained, Kathy Kershner absent.
112. Authorize the executive to accept $10,000 from the federal government? The U.S. Department of Justice will reimburse the sheriff’s office for the overtime wages of five deputies and one sergeant working on Operation Clumsy Cowboy, an investigation that involved the federal Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force. (AB2020-270) Approved 6-0, Kathy Kershner absent.
113. Authorize the executive to accept $447,732 in additional grant money from the state of Washington? At the 8/7/2019 meeting, vote #185, council voted to accept $600,000 of grant funding to support implementation of the pollution identification and correction program, including: project development, management, and reporting; program coordination; pollution identification and correction; outreach and education; and pollution control training and workshops. Special focus will be placed on Portage Bay and other shellfish growing areas. The amendment brings the total amended amount to $1,047,732; it expires on 9/30/2022. (AB2020-271) Approved 6-0, Kathy Kershner absent.
114. Authorize for the executive to award the low bid of $644,555 to Boss Construction for the Swift Creek channel excavation and Oat Coles North repository development projects? The project involves the excavation, transport, and on-site storage of naturally occurring asbestos eroding from Sumas Mountain. Eight bids were received; the high bid was $1,132,543. (AB2020-273) Approved 6-0, Kathy Kershner absent.
115. Adopt the 2020-2024 Lake Whatcom Management Program work plan? In 1998, Whatcom County, the city of Bellingham, and the precursor to the Lake Whatcom Water and Sewer District began to collaborate to develop five-year work plans that address water quality and other issues in Lake Whatcom and the associated watershed. This is the fourth five-year plan and will address: administration, aquatic invasive species, education and engagement, hazardous materials, land preservation and use, monitoring and data, recreation, stormwater runoff, and utilities and transportation. AB2020-256 (Resolution 2020-023) Approved 6-0, Kathy Kershner absent.
116. Authorize the executive to apply for a $350,000 state grant? The grant will provide funding for the development of a multiuse outdoor sports court at the East Whatcom Regional Resource Center. The facility will serve the 4,000 residents of the unincorporated Peaceful Valley area. The Opportunity Council will provide $195,470 of additional funding. The total estimated cost of the project is $545,470. AB2020-260 (Resolution 2020-024) Approved 6-0, Kathy Kershner absent.
117. Adopt the salary schedule and policies (amendment #1) for unrepresented Whatcom County employees? At the 11/19/2019 meeting, vote #263, council adopted the 2020 schedule and policies covering county employees not represented by a union. The amendment will: institute a 32-hour furlough to be taken by 9/12/2020, increase the accrual and carryover of vacation and paid-time-off. The schedule runs from 1/1/2020 to 12/31/2020. AB2020-275 (Resolution 2020-025) Approved 6-0, Kathy Kershner absent.
118. Support the executive’s budget goals for 2021-2022? The Whatcom County charter requires that the executive produce an annual budget and budget goals for presentation to the council for approval. Goals for the next budget cycle include: safeguarding long-term financial security of the county; maintaining services for citizens of the county; maintain assets and improve efficiencies of operations; support for the continued public health response to the Covid-19 pandemic; continued support for regional economic development programs; development of capital project budgets; continued support for countywide initiatives to address climate change mitigation, housing affordability, and wetlands mitigation; facilitation of regional water resource planning efforts; introduce general fund operational proposals; and prioritize available funding to benefit children and families. AB2020-294 (Resolution 2020-026) Amended and approved 4-2, Tyler Byrd and Ben Elenbaas opposed, Kathy Kershner absent.
119. Docket comprehensive plan and development regulation amendments? State and local laws require that the county council review proposed amendments. Eight new amendments were proposed and 20 from previous years (see this issue, page 17). The proposals will be submitted for state environmental policy review, planning department review, and public hearing, before they are given final approval by the council. AB2020-106 (Resolution 2020-027) Approved 5-1, Ben Elenbaas opposed, Kathy Kershner absent.
120. Amend the Homeless Strategies Workgroup? The workgroup identifies policy initiatives that address the needs of individuals living unsheltered in Whatcom County. At the 10/24/2017 meeting, vote #205, the council voted to create the workgroup. Committee membership was added at the 2/27/2018, vote #32, at the 7/23/2019 meeting, vote #150, and the 2/25/2020 meeting, vote #40, respectively, for a total of 20 members. Amendments will establish two-year terms for council-appointed members AB2020-259 (Resolution 2020-028) Approved 6-0, Kathy Kershner absent.
121. Finalize a revised system of assessment for Drainage Improvement District No. 5? (Public hearing held.) The revisions will incorporate updated parcel information, including soil and topography data, to calculate water-use fees assessed by the district. AB2020-064 (Ordinance 2020-037) Adopted 6-0, Kathy Kershner absent.
122. Authorize installation of stop signs on Truck Road? (Public hearing held.) Temporary stop signs will be installed for a single-lane configuration related to the repair of erosion damage on a slope adjacent to the Nooksack River, from milepost 1.60 to 1.65. AB2020-213 (Ordinance 2020-038) Adopted 6-0, Kathy Kershner absent.
Action Taken at July 21, 2020 Meeting
Shall the council:
123. Authorize the executive to sign a lease (amendment #3) with the Boys and Girls Club of Whatcom County? Since 1993, the Boys and Girls Club has developed, leased and maintained the baseball fields (9.7 acres) on county property located at 5238 Northwest Drive. The lease agreement will be updated to extend the terms and conditions for 25 years at no cost to the county. The lease expires on 3/31/2045. (AB2020-261) Approved 7-0
124. Appoint Barry Wenger to a technical expertise position on the Wildlife Advisory Committee? The committee advises Planning and Development Services Department staff and the County Council on the value of wildlife and habitat management issues as they relate to the Comprehensive Plan. The committee has eleven members, seven of whom are required to have technical expertise. Mr. Wenger has extensive experience as an environmental planner for state and local governments, and has previously served on this committee. Both his term and the committee expire on 12/31/2022. (AB2020-281) Approved 6-1, Ben Elenbaas opposed.
125. Authorize the executive to sign a $100,000 five-year contract with the Lake Whatcom Water and Sewer District? The contract will provide emergency management services for the district, including: risk assessment and analysis; safety and other planning, and grant application support. The contract is in the amount of $20,000 annually and runs from 1/1/2020 to 12/31/2024. (AB2020-288) Approved 7-0
126. Authorize the executive to award the low bid of $436,161 to Foss Maritime of Seattle for annual Lummi Island ferry repair and maintenance? The engineer’s estimate was $415,965. The contract will provide alternate dockside repair and maintenance of the ferry. The repair and maintenance are estimated to to take 19 days and anticipated to be back in service on 10/3/2020. Two bids were received; the high bid was $508,807.(AB2020-289) Approved 7-0
127. Authorize the executive to award the low bid of $60,814 to Williamson Construction of Deming for the Twinview Levee improvement project? (Council acting as the flood control district board of supervisors.) The engineer’s estimate was $76,705. The project will widen the levee crest and remove excess vegetation from approximately 850 feet of levee near Everson. Six bids were received; the high bid was $109,694. (AB2020-290) Approved 6-1, Ben Elenbaas opposed.
128. Authorize the executive to sign contracts with the cities of Blaine, Everson, Ferndale, Nooksack, Lynden and Sumas? The contracts will support a coordinated use and cost sharing of local CARES Act federal stimulus funding related to Covid-19. Whatcom County has been awarded $12,391,500; the city of Bellingham has been awarded $2,703,300; and the cities of Blaine, Everson, Ferndale, Lynden, Nooksack, and Sumas have been awarded $1,206,120, collectively. Areas of focus for coordinated use of funds and cost sharing include: grant funding support for local business, housing assistance programs, digital infrastructure development funding for local schools, behavioral health and social services programs and food security. (AB2020-298) Approved 5-2, Tyler Byrd and Ben Elenbaas opposed.
129. Authorize the executive to sign a 20-year lease agreement with PI Tower Development LLC of New York City? (Public hearing held.) In January 2014, the State of Washington conveyed to Whatcom County land that includes Lookout Mountain Forest Reserve. The land contained three commercial communication towers. This lease will grant a 20-year lease for both an existing tower and a vacant tower site, including an annual 3 percent rate increase and five-year rate reviews. The lease is in the amount of $7,200 annually, expiring in April 2040. AB2020-254 (Resolution 2020-029) Approved 7-0
130. Approve the 2020 update to the Lake Whatcom Water and Sewer District Comprehensive Sewer Plan? The plan update received a determination of non-significance under state environmental policy requirements and has been approved by the Health Department. Public Works has also approved the plan with the following notations: the district should coordinate planned water and sewer construction with the county planned road construction program; all work performed in county rights of way require revocable encroachment permits; and the county may require other permits depending on the scope of work of individual projects. AB2020-296 (Resolution 2020-030) Approved 5-2, Tyler Byrd and Ben Elenbaas opposed.
131. Amend the 2020 budget (request #14) in the amount of $1,810,500? Appropriated: $21,748 to fund wage settlements for the Fraternal Order of Police, representing lieutenants and chiefs at the sheriff’s department; $120,000 to fund Covid-19 related expansion of shelter and housing options to support for individuals experiencing homelessness; $995,500 to fund agricultural easements on the Brar (64.5 acres), McLeod (17.59 acres), Roper (26.75 acres), and TeVelde (19.6 acres) applications as part of the Purchase of Development Rights program; and $695,000 to fund a project-based budget for Silver Beach Creek stormwater improvements. AB2020-276 (Ordinance 2020-039) Approved 6-1, Ben Elenbaas opposed.
132. Establish in the amount of $780,000 the Silver Beach Creek Fund and project-based budget for the Silver Beach Creek Stormwater Improvements Fund? The project will reduce sediment and phosphorous discharge into Lake Whatcom by treating runoff from 24 acres along Northshore Drive using filter vaults and modular wetland systems. Phase 1 of the project is listed as number 2 on the six-year water resources improvement plan. AB2020-277 (Ordinance 2020-040) Approved 6-1, Ben Elenbaas opposed.
1. Proposed amendments docketed
PLN2020-00001: Point Roberts special district moratorium and economic assessment; PLN2020-00002: Capital facilities planning;
PLN2020-00003: Neighborhood commercial to residential rezone – approximately 1.25 acres;
PLN2020-00004: Rural forestry designation and text amendment – Nooksack Falls; PLN2020-00005: Whatcom County code amendments – revise zoning code;
PLN2020-00006: Shoreline program update – shoreline management program; PLN2020-00007: Countywide planning policy amendments;
From past years
PLN2019-00002: Mineral resource lands expansion – Breckenridge Rd;
PLN2019-00004: Lummi Island ferry program;
PLN2019-00005: Density credit program and associated zoning code;
PLN2019-00007: Point Roberts subarea plans and special district;
PLN2019-00010: Surface mining pipeline buffer;
PLN2019-00011: Surface Mining of dry meander zones;
PLN2018-00002: Density credit program;
PLN2018-00003: Repeal Cherry Point-Ferndale subarea plan;
PLN2018-00005: Critical Area Ordinanace on-going agriculture;
PLN2018-00008: Wind energy system amendments;
PLN2018-00009: Cherry Point amendments;
PLN2018-00010: Sustainable salmon harvest goal;
PLN 2017-00004: Mineral resource lands countywide designation;
PLN2016-00006: Wireless communications facilities;
PLN2016-00009: Wireless communications facilities;
PLN2016-00011/PLN2014-00020: Vacation rental regulations;
PLN2015-00003: Code enforcement amendments;
PLN2014-00016: Weddings and special events;
PLN2012-00007: Agricultural strategic plan implementation;
PLN2012-00009: Mineral resource lands expansion – North Star Road