Bellingham City Council
Action Taken at September 27, 2021 Meeting
The mayor appointed Raymond Dellecker to a partial term on the Parks & Recreation Advisory Board. The board advises the City Council, mayor, Department of Parks and Recreation director, and other city departments, and provides recreation programs for the general welfare of the people of the city. An 11-year resident, Raymond Dellecker is a retired electronics engineer with experience in technical marketing and a master’s degree from Cornell University. He has served on the boards of both Habitat for Humanity of Whatcom County, and the Happy Valley Neighborhood Association. His term will expire on 4/4/2023, at which time he may be reappointed. (AB23114) Nonvoting issue.
Shall the council:
178. Authorize the mayor and the city’s legal counsel to sign all necessary documents to implement a settlement with Municipal Court Judge Debra Lev? The city was investigating employee complaints about Municipal Court working conditions when Judge Lev filed a lawsuit charging the city interfered with her supervising authority over Municipal Court personnel. Appropriate city officials shall take such further action as may be necessary or desirable to effectuate the provisions of this motion and the settlement. Details of the joint statement and settlement can be found at: Bellingham Municipal Court – City of Bellingham (cob.org) or Office of Mayor Seth Fleetwood – City of Bellingham (cob.org). (Discussed in Executive Session.) Approved 7-0
179. Prioritize three areas of funding for the American Rescue Plan Act? The $21 million in funds need to be spent within three years. First is $10 million for motel stays, new affordable housing such as the Samish Commons and Old Town Base Camp and rental assistance and utility payments to address housing, food and homelessness. Second is $6 million total for economic recovery to address the loss of tourism funds, the retention and expansion of childcare centers, with shuttered venue and other business grants coming from outside agencies. Third is $5 million to invest in electric cooling and ventilation systems to manage heat and smoke events, require electrification of Laurel/Forest and Millworks facilities. This motion also approved the iterative approval process which emphasizes staff monitoring contracts and their progress, with changes and approval from the council. At the 7/12/2021 meeting, vote #134, the council initially voted on American Rescue Plan Act allocations. (AB23003) Approved 7-0
180. Authorize the mayor to award the only bid of $61,906 to TKK LLC of Ferndale for communications equipment repair services? The city is seeking to consolidate communications equipment and tower repair services into a single unit priced contract. Previously, the city has executed multiple contracts with multiple contractors for communications system repairs and maintenance services in the city’s buildings. Due to the number of repairs needed, the varying type, age, and manufacture of electrical systems, city staff has found it difficult to keep up with the needed required repairs and maintenance for each system. This request seeks to consolidate this work into a single, comprehensive agreement serving to provide centralized oncall maintenance and repairs at competitive prices. The city received one bid, the amount of which was based on an estimated number of billable hours and parts provided in the city bidding documents. This three-year contract shall not exceed $300,000 using the hourly rates provided in the TKK LLC bid and contains a provision for an optional one-year renewal. (AB23118) Approved 7-0
181. Appropriate $3,964,793 for payroll checks issued from August 16 to August 31, 2021? (AB23119) Approved 7-0
182. Appropriate $6,294,006 for goods and services checks issued from August 27 through September 16, 2021? (AB23120/23121/23122) Approved 7-0
183. Affirm that racism is a public health crisis? The city of Bellingham is committed to becoming an anti-racist city that is welcoming, inclusive, and safe for everyone. While we promote free thought and speech, we condemn racism and brutality, hate speech, bigotry, violence and prejudice in any form. This has not always been so — the very foundation of this city has historically been rooted in racism, prejudice, exclusion and expropriation. In 1907, South Asian migrant workers were driven from the city. In the 1920s, Bellingham was home to one of the largest, most active Ku Klux Klan chapters in Washington. In the 1940s, the Edgemoor neighborhood had a covenant that only allowed persons of the white race to own or occupy homes. Awareness of the persistence of racism in the United States grew rapidly in 2020 after the murder of George Floyd and resulting national protests. A number of governments and associations have passed resolutions or adopted statements affirming that racism is a public health crisis to clarify the pernicious impacts on health of persistent patterns of racial discrimination. City Council members worked with community members to produce this resolution, and the Whatcom County Board of Health passed a similar measure in November 2020. AB23117 (Resolution #2021-26) Approved 7-0
184. Accept the donation of the Hillside Estates stormwater facility? The homeowner’s association is donating this facility to the city. It is located south of the Britton Road and east of the Mount Baker Highway. At 12/10/2018 meeting, vote #214, the city council voted to annex the area and the annexation became effective on 4/1/2019. Acceptance of this donation would ensure the proper maintenance of the facility and would be consistent with public ownership of stormwater facilities throughout the city. The city completed an environmental site assessment and a title review of the subject property, and no environmental or title issues were identified. Closing costs were estimated not to exceed $2,000. Regular, ongoing maintenance costs are estimated between $2,000-$3,000 annually. AB23092 (Ordinance 2021-09-038) Approved 7-0
Action Taken at October 11, 2021 Meeting
Shall the council:
185. Authorize the mayor to sign a contract with Christie Law Group of Seattle to assist the city attorney’s office in the Fox vs. City of Bellingham lawsuit? When the body of Bradley Ginn Sr. was waiting at a fire station to be transported to a funeral home, 11 Bellingham Fire Department employees admitted to attempting to intubate the man in contradiction of a “do not resuscitate” order. Three family members filed claims for damages: All three were settled for $75,000 each. Robert Fox filed a $300,000 claim for emotional and mental distress regarding the desecration of his bother’s body. (Discussed in Executive Session.) Approved 6-0, Lisa Anderson excused.
186. Appropriate $3,868,174 for payroll checks issued from September 1 to September 15, 2021? (AB23131) Approved 6-0, Lisa Anderson excused.
187. Appropriate $6,228,465 for goods and services checks issued from September 17 through September 30, 2021? (AB23132/23133) Approved 6-0, Lisa Anderson excused.
188. Authorize the mayor to sign a joint funding agreement with the federal government for the operation and maintenance of stream gages? The city partners with U.S. Department of Interior/U.S. Geological Survey for the operation and maintenance of seven stream gauges. The total cost of the program is $171,325: the city’s share is $134,497 and the federal government’s share is $36,828. The program monitors the stream flow discharges of Olsen Creek, Carpenter Creek, Euclid Creek, Silver Beach Creek, Brannian Creek, Anderson Creek and the Middle Fork of the Nooksack River and the turbidity of the last two. The agreement runs from 10/1/2021 through 9/30/2022. (AB23134) Approved 6-0, Lisa Anderson excused.
189. Approve emergency repairs to the Post Point Resource Recovery Plant generator and roof? On Sept 17, the roof of the generator building caught on fire. The Bellingham Fire Department responded and extinguished the fire. The Fire Department and Post Point maintenance crew investigated the fire and found the generator exhaust was hot enough to ignite the wood roof. A contract was awarded to the Colacurcio Brothers without soliciting competitive bids. The estimated cost of the repairs is $100,000. City code authorizes emergency contracts, provided that City Council pass a resolution that an emergency existed within two weeks of the contract being award. AB23128 (Resolution 2021-27) Approved 6-0, Lisa Anderson excused.
190. Express the city’s official opposition to four initiative measures on the November general election ballot and encourage the public to vote against them? The four initiatives are as follows: Initiative 2021-01, Renter Relocation Assistance; Initiative 2021-02, Restricting Use of Police Technologies; Initiative 2021-03, Neutrality in Labor Campaigns and Initiative 2021-04, Fair Treatment of Hourly Wage and Gig Workers. At the 8/2/2021 meeting, votes 146, 147, 148 and 149, the council voted to place the four initiative on the ballot after the Whatcom County Auditor affirmed that they each met the required number of signatures. The City Council can place alternatives on the ballot — they chose not to exercise that option. AB23045/23047/23048/23049 (Resolution 2021-28) Approved 6-0, Lisa Anderson excused.
191. Amend the city code relating to temporary shelters? (Public hearing held at September 27 meeting.) At the 11/8/2018 meeting, vote #170, the council established regulations for temporary homeless shelters. It allowed a maximum of two years for tiny house encampments at one site. This amendment increases the time to three years. It requires the renewal to be received no less than 60 days prior to the expiration date of the approved permit, and be accompanied by a revised operations plan. Also stipulated is that temporary encampments located on city-owned land and/or that receive funding from the city shall ensure client data is entered into the homeless management intake system, in coordination with the Whatcom Homeless Service Center, and comply with performance standards for housing placement in the approved license agreement and/or services agreement. AB23112 (Ordinance 2021-10-039) Approved 6-0, Lisa Anderson excused.
Action Taken at October 25, 2021 Meeting
Shall the council:
192. Approve three appointments to the Transportation Commission? The mayor appointed Tim Wilder, Jacki Quinn, and Addie Candib to their first terms on the Transportation Commission. The Transportation Commission is expected to help shape the future of Bellingham by taking a long-range, strategic look at transportation issues and providing recommendations on policy choices and investment priorities. Tim Wilder is the planning director for the Whatcom Transportation Authority — he has lived in Bellingham for two years and has 32 years of experience with urban and transportation planning; Jacki Quinn is an administrative and business development professional who has lived in Bellingham for 16 years; Addie Candib has lived in Bellingham for six years, serves as Pacific Northwest regional director for the American Farmland Trust, and sits on the lands committee for the Whatcom Land Trust. All three terms expire on 10/25/2024, at which time they may be reappointed. (AB23138) Approved 7-0
193. Authorize the issuing of a license to the Bellingham School District for use of Memorial Park? In order to facilitate construction of a new Sunnyland Elementary School adjacent to Memorial Park in the Sunnyland Neighborhood, city staff negotiated a license from 9/1/2021 through 6/30/2022 for use of parts of Memorial Park for temporary construction staging, a turnaround, and a recess play area. The Bellingham School District is required to pay a license fee of $17,219 for 25,700 square feet of space, as well as to ensure safety and access to nearby trails and the pedestrian bridge over I-5, and to restore the area to pre-existing conditions. Temporary construction licenses do not require City Council approval. Due to the extended time frame and obvious public impact to the park, staff felt that council review was warranted in this case. The parks board recommended approval of the license. (AB23139) Approved 6-0-1, Hannah Stone abstained.
194. Authorize the mayor to sign an agreement with the Public Utility District #1 of Whatcom County for carbon reduction initiatives? The city of Bellingham has identified decarbonization of the community electricity supply as critical to achieving climate reduction targets identified in the Climate Protection Action Plan passed at the 5/7/2018 meeting, vote #65. Carbon pollution from consumption of electricity provided by the existing electricity provider accounts for approximately one-third of total community emissions. This agreement will establish a framework whereby city and PUD can use their respective skills and assets to reduce the financial and administrative costs that may be otherwise borne by one entity alone. This joint effort may result in several outcomes, including a study that would identify potential renewable energy resources, energy conservation and efficiency initiatives, and other methods of reducing carbon emissions from consumption of electricity. The agreement only requires administrative approval of jointly funded contracts that are less than $75,000. (AB23141) Approved 7-0
195. Approve the expenditure of $272,000 for homelessness? This amount includes a $76,000 contract with Northwest Youth Services for the operation of a young adult winter shelter at Civic Stadium and $196,000 for the Homeless Outreach Team. At the 5/24/2021 meeting, vote #98, the City Council adopted the interim housing strategies for those experiencing homelessness and on 9/13/2021 received an information update. Expansion of shelter opportunities for young adults, age 18-24, is one of the implementation strategies. The overnight shelter for young adults at Civic Field will accommodate up to 25 young people, ages 18-24, each night from December 1 through March 4, with staff present from 7 p.m. to 8:30 a.m. The cost of the operations is estimated at $153,000 for this period. The homeless outreach team has been supported by the city of Bellingham. Since it was approved at the 11/10/2014 meeting, vote #119, the city has worked in partnership with the Homeless Service Center and Opportunity Council to develop the team and acted as the sole funder. The homeless outreach team was created to provide outreach to individuals and families experiencing homelessness and help them get connected to housing services and other basic needs. The city’s funding has remained steady, while the city’s percentage of funding has dropped from 100 percent to under 50 percent of the total cost. (AB23143) Approved 7-0
196. Appropriate $3,368,710 for goods and services checks issued from October 1 to October 14, 2021? (AB23151/23152) Approved 7-0
197. Appropriate $3,895,985 for payroll checks issued from September 16 through September 30, 2021? (AB23153) Approved 7-0
198. Authorize the mayor to accept $900,000 in state grants for the Little Squalicum estuary project? Over the past 150 years, Bellingham Bay has lost an estimated 282 acres of aquatic land. Little Squalicum as one of the last remaining locations available for estuary habitat expansion. At the 6/15/2009 meeting, vote #125, the mayor signed an agreement with the state of Washington for a restoration project on the Little Squalicum Creek shoreline. At the 6/29/2009 meeting, vote #143, the council approved a shoreline feasibility study. The grants (Estuary & Salmon Enhancement Program and Aquatic Lands Enhancement Act Program) is to be used for construction of the Little Squalicum estuary restoration project in Little Squalicum Creek Park. It will help address the need for estuarine habitat in Bellingham Bay by restoring 4.85 total acres of coastal wetland habitat, including a 2.4-acre estuary, and removing a fish passage barrier at the mouth of Little Squalicum Creek. These grants are two of five state and federal grants to complete full project funding. The total project is $3.6 million, grant funding will be $2,925,000. (AB23154) Approved 7-0
199. Authorize the mayor to accept a $545,000 one-time state grant for the Little Squalicum estuary project? The one time grant is to be used for construction of the Little Squalicum estuary restoration project in Little Squalicum Creek Park. The project will help address the need for estuarine habitat in Bellingham Bay by restoring 4.85 total acres of coastal wetland habitat, including a 2.4-acre estuary, and removing a fish passage barrier at the mouth of Little Squalicum Creek. This grant is one of five state and federal grants to complete full project funding. (AB23155) Approved 7-0
200. Authorize the mayor to accept a $980,000 federal grant for the Little Squalicum estuary project? The grant (National Coastal Wetlands Conservation) is to be used for construction in Little Squalicum Creek Park. Project elements include removing a culvert at the mouth of Little Squalicum Creek and 50 linear feet of shoreline barrier, installing 1.2 acres of saltmarsh and riparian plantings, and enhancing 1.16 acres of forage fish spawning habitat in order to improve dissolved oxygen, fecal coliform, and temperature water quality parameters. (AB23156) Approved 7-0
201. Rezone six neighborhood parks from a residential designation to a public zone designation? (Public hearing held at August 30 meeting.) This is a procedural request to clean up the zoning requirements at Highland Heights Park, Maplewood/McLeod Park, Birchwood Park, Cornwall Tot Lot, Ridgemont Park and Sunnyland Park. These amendments are intended to apply the appropriate public land use designation and zoning regulations for city owned parks. At the 12/14/2020 meeting, vote #241, the City Council held a public hearing and placed the proposed amendments on the 2020-2021 docket of the Comprehensive Plan. AB23079 (Ordinance 2021-10-040) Approved 7-0
202. Incorporate the city’s Surface and Stormwater Comprehensive Plan into Bellingham’s Comprehensive Plan? (Public hearing held at August 30 meeting.) At the 9/28/2020 meeting, vote #171, the council adopted the 2020 Surface and Stormwater Comprehensive Plan. At the 12/14/2020 meeting, vote #241, the council held a public hearing and placed the proposed amendment on the 2020-2021 docket of the Comprehensive Plan. AB23080 (Ordinance 2021-10-041) Approved 7-0
203. Reduce setback requirements for urban beekeeping? (Public hearing held at October 11 meeting.) The current 50-foot property line setback makes it difficult for lots under 10,000 square feet to meet this requirement for beekeeping. To allow more opportunities for beekeeping on small urban lots, this amendment reduces property line setbacks from 50 feet to 25 feet with safety measures to include fences or hedges at least six feet tall, which directs the bees’ flightpath up so that they avoid collisions with people when they exit the beehive. The Planning Commission held a public hearing on 6/17/2021, and voted 6-0 vote to recommend the City Council approve the proposed amendment. AB23123 (Ordinance 2021-10-042) Approved 7-0
204. Amend the capital facilities chapter of the Bellingham Comprehensive Plan? (Public hearing held.) The Bellingham School District is seeking an amendment to the Bellingham Comprehensive Plan to add their new six-year capital facilities plan. Coordination between the city and Bellingham School District are required by the state Growth Management Act in order for the district to continue to collect impact fees on new residential development. Impact fees are based on data and planning analysis and are one funding source used by the district to ensure that adequate school facilities are in place to serve increases in enrollment due to population growth. The application was docketed for review (REZ2020-0005) at the 12/14/2020 meeting, vote #241; the Planning Commission held a public hearing on 8/19/2021 and recommended approval. AB23124 (Ordinance 2021-10-043) Approved 7-0
205. Amend the Comprehensive Plan and Municipal Code to facilitate the residential-multi project? (Public hearing held at September 27 meeting.) This project includes changes necessary to achieve intended densities, establish minimum density requirements and potentially increase the supply of small-scale housing types. The changes have the potential to result in more housing units and advance many goals of the Comprehensive Plan, including those related to housing options, compact growth and climate action. This project also seeks to simplify the residential multi zoning tables, which currently include 94 subareas and 20 unique densities. AB23111 (Ordinance 2021-10-044) Approved 7-0