Bellingham City Council

Action Taken at November 7, 2022 Meeting

Shall the council:
202. Agree with the city’s decision to deny Claim No. 2022-28? The following information was obtained from a Claim for Damages filed with the City of Bellingham. Claim Amount Requested: $34,926. On November 13-15 2021, a major rainstorm resulted in water from Northridge Park flooding property and the house at 3765 Magrath Road. The water damaged the garage, a bathroom, laundry room, ruined carpeting, and the contents of two bedrooms and furniture in the family room. The property was excavated and a drain pipe installed, a “catch basin,” a commercial grade vault, a sump pump and a berm the length of the property line that separates the property from the park. Expenses: materials $14,646; labor $18,030; lost rent $2,250 for a total of $34,926. A city employee explained to the property owners that the city’s goal was to keep the park as natural as possible so the city would not do anything about current flooding or to prevent future flooding. (Action Taken in Executive Session.) Approved 7-0

203. Approve the filing of a nuisance abatement against the property located at 4039/4049 Deemer Road? Placing a lien on the subject property for the city’s cost to abate the nuisance, and foreclosing upon the lien, if necessary. (Action Taken in Executive Session.) Approved 7-0

204. Allow the city to bid on the 6,793 sq. ft. Brown/Gudbranson property that will be auctioned by the Whatcom County treasurer on 11/14-15/2022? (Action Taken in Executive Session.) Approved 7-0

The mayor made three appointments to the Immigration Advisory Board. At the 11/4/2019 meeting, vote #197, the council established the Immigration Advisory Board. It reviews and evaluates policies regarding compliance with E2SSB 5497 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 and Customs and Border Protection; and includes periodic updates to council. 

205. Approve the mayor’s appointment of Christian Sanchez Alvarez to a partial term? He is a 14-year resident of Bellingham, an assistant credit manager, is involved in the Palabra Miel International Ministries, and is an advocate for Salvadoran families in Whatcom County. The partial term will expire on 6/23/2024, at which time he may be reappointed. (AB23511) Approved 7-0

206. Approve the mayor’s appointment of Von E. Ochoa to a partial term? He has lived in Whatcom County for 16 years, currently lives in the rural cusp between Lynden and Ferndale, and is a paraeducator for multilingual students. He earned a living future accreditation through the International Living Future Institute during the summer of 2020. The partial term will expire on 8/1/2024, at which time he may be reappointed. (AB23511) Approved 7-0

207. Approve the mayor’s appointment of Sophia Rey to her first term? She is currently a student at Sehome High School and is president of both the Diversity In Action Club and the Young Multiracial Society. She is a first-generation immigrant who has lived in Bellingham for the past nine years. The full term will expire on 11/7/2024, at which time she may be reappointed. (AB23511) Approved 7-0

208. Authorize the mayor to sign an agreement with Whatcom County to allocate $100,000 annually for three years to support and fund the Whatcom Racial Equity Commission? Authorization is subject to final approval in the 2023-2024 and 2025-2026 biennial budgets. The commission is a partnership between Whatcom County and the City of Bellingham; it is jointly funded with the county serving as lead agency. The Racial Equity Commission was approved by the Whatcom County Council at its 10/11/2022 meetings, vote #251 and funding at the 10/25/2022 meeting, vote #257. This agreement also commits the city and county legislative and executive branches to support and utilize the commission’s work to address racial equity issues in our respective jurisdictions, and to cooperate and act to forward its purposes, functions and operations. (AB23518) Approved 7-0  

209. Approve a financial assistance agreement with the Whatcom County Health Department for the Crisis Stabilization Center? Appropriate financial assistance shall not exceed $65,000, it will provide programs and services that address mental health stabilization and substance use disorder withdrawal management. Services at 2026 Division Street provides 16 beds dedicated to medically monitored withdrawal management services for adults, medication-assisted treatment for symptoms of opiate withdrawal, 16 beds to provide mental health stabilization services for adults and discharge planning and connection to community or in-patient treatment providers. This agreement runs from 1/1/2023 to 12/31/2023. (AB23524) Approved 7-0 

210. Authorize the mayor to sign an agreement with the Whatcom Council of Governments for the Whatcom Smart Trips program? Since 2006, the city has funded the Whatcom Smart Trips program. Smart Trips is an ongoing program between local governments, public agencies, employers and schools to promote transportation by walking, bicycling, sharing rides and riding the bus. The Smart Trips program is a key element in expanding education opportunities to increase use of nonmotorized transportation and transit options. The city contributed $25,000 per year for the program. (AB23525) Approved 7-0

211. Appropriate $6,563,767 for goods and services checks issued from October 14 through October 27, 2022? (AB23526/23528) Approved 7-0

212. Appropriate $4,129,083 for payroll checks issued from October 1 through October 15, 2022? (AB23527) Approved 7-0

213. Adopt a fee schedule for city-owned electric vehicle charging stations? Rates were set using a cost per unit of energy basis ($/kWh) rather than a cost per unit of time basis ($/min. or hr.) for equity reasons as the age of an electric vehicle has a bearing on the rate at which a vehicle can charge its batteries, i.e., older vehicles will likely take longer to charge their batteries at the same station. The base rate will be $0.25/kWh for both Level 2 and Level 3 chargers. Users of Level 3 chargers will pay the same base rate as the Level 2 chargers and will also pay an additional surcharge of $1.00. To allow for equitable access to EV charging stations, a surcharge of $0.25/minute will be applied for EVs occupying charging stations when vehicle charging is complete, not to exceed $23.00, including a grace  period of 10 minutes. AB23520 (Resolution 2022-20) Approved 7-0

214. Change ward boundaries to correct for registered voter imbalance? (Public hearing held at 10/24 meeting.) Following the 2020 federal decennial census, county legislative districts, precincts and council district boundaries were revised. The Bellingham City Charter also requires periodic review and updates to ward boundaries to ensure proportionality of the total population and registered voters among wards. Ward boundaries were last corrected at the 8/8/2016 meeting, vote #130. Staff analyzed total population and voter registration data and developed a ward redistricting plan that balances total population and incorporates the new election precinct geography. The only change was a small area covering two city blocks in Ward 5 that requires an adjustment to the boundaries of Ward 3 and Ward 5. The precinct numbering system was completely restructured. AB23480 (Ordinance 2022-11-024) Approved 7-0 

215. Establish a manufactured home park overlay and regulations related to the change of use, ownership, and closure of a manufactured home park? (Public hearing held at 9/12 meeting.) At the 6/3/2019 meeting, vote #114, the council adopted an emergency ordinance establishing a one-year moratorium on the acceptance or processing of development applications or permits relating to the redevelopment of any of the 10 mobile home parks in Bellingham. Extensions were approved at the 5/18/2020 meeting, vote #75; 11/9/2020 meeting, vote #2020; 5/10/2021 meeting, vote #87; 11/8/21 meeting, vote #218 and 5/9/2022 meeting, vote #81. The goal of this ordinance is to preserve manufactured home park housing, it includes: public/non-profit/blended acquisition, resident acquisition, land use designation and zone or zone overlay, expanded closure notification requirements, relocation assistance, and inclusionary housing. The overlay provides additional zoning regulations that help preserve some or all of the city’s existing manufactured home parks. AB23495 (Ordinance 2022-11-025) Approved 7-0

Action Taken at November 21 Meeting

Shall the council:

216. Spend $357,500 to acquire a 20-acre parcel owned by Kent Thomas? The property is located in the East Bear Creek corridor between Northwest Drive and Aldrich Road. (Discussed in Executive Session.) Approved 7-0

217. Approve a lease agreement (third modification) for the Sportsplex Facility? Activities at the Civic Field facility include indoor soccer, ice hockey, ice skating and camps. At the 1/26/2004 meeting, vote #15, the City Council authorized the sale of $4,316,000 in obligation bonds to purchase the building and at the 2/23/2004 meeting, vote #40, authorized the purchase. Annual rent was expected to repay the bonds. Due to the impacts of Covid-19, Whatcom Sports & Recreation was unable make lease payments and went into default. As of 9/30/2022, the city is owed $529,394 in past due rent. The city and the the nonprofit organization that runs the facility have agreed on a proposed lease for one year. This modification lays out terms that place a one-time payment of $160,000 and a monthly payment in lieu of rent of $20,000 into a “Remodel Account” that is secured by city approval and can only be utilized for interior remodeling of the facility. AB23533) Approved 7-0

218. Authorize a mayor to accept a $2,625,000 county grant to help fund the Meridian-Birchwood Roundabout Project? The city applied for a Whatcom County Economic Development Investment program (EDI) grant. Money from the federal government, Greenways, Port of Bellingham, Whatcom County and the city will fund the design and phase 1 of construction. The first phase will merge the Squalicum Parkway truck route with Birchwood Avenue on the west side of Meridian and decommission the Meridian/Squalicum traffic signal, while phase 2 will reconstruct the Meridian/Birchwood intersection and traffic signal as a dual-lane multimodal roundabout. A greenways trail will connect Squalicum Creek Park and Cornwall Memorial Park. The full cost of the project is estimated to be $7 million. (AB23539) Approved 7-0

219. Authorize the mayor to accept a $500,000 state grant for phase 2 of the Padden Creek restoration project? The Padden Creek restoration project from 24th to 30th Street will restore approximately one acre of riparian habitat and one acre of stream habitat through floodplain enhancement, riparian buffer enhancement, wetland restoration, 22 woody debris structures, and the creation of backwaters, side channels, pools, and riffles. This effort will reduce bacteria, temperature and increase dissolved oxygen in creek. The grant requires a city match of $166,667. The total estimated cost of the project is $685,000.(AB23540) Approved 7-0

220. Authorize the mayor to sign a two-year contract with Whatcom County for offender work crews? The work crew will help to maintain rights-of-way that are currently not being cleaned regularly or where vegetation is not being maintained. The tasks include: sidewalk/curb sod/grass cleaning, tree well weeding, roundabout and traffic calming islands, cleanup of transient camps and streams, maintenance of city sidewalks, street islands/vegetation strips, trash removal and invasive vegetation removal. The four-person team is totally self-sustaining. The county will be compensated at the rate of $340 per eight-hour day or $425 per 10-hour day. The annual compensation will not exceed $55,250. The program was first approved at the 12/16/2013 meeting, vote # 288, and has been functioning every year since then. (AB23541) Approved 7-0

221. Appropriate $5,415,325 for goods and services checks issued from October 27, 2022 through November 10, 2022? (AB23542/23543) Approved 7-0

222. Exempt a temporary shelter located at 1031 North Garden Street from compliance with state building code requirements? The YWCA and the First Presbyterian Church will operate a temporary continuous-stay detached shelter at 1031 North Garden Street. A building official and a fire marshal have determined that the building poses no threat to human life, health or safety. Eight shelter beds will be available nightly for women from mid-November through the end of April 2023. Support Services include assisting residents in finding food, clothing, income, medical and mental health care, and skills for budgeting and successful renting. AB23532 (Resolution 2022-21) Approved 7-0

223. Declare the city’s support of abortion rights? On 6/24/2022 in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson, the United States Supreme Court overturned abortion rights grounded in Roe v. Wade as well as Planned Parenthood v. Casey. The City of Bellingham stands in opposition to the Dobbs decision and states that it is hereby the policy of the city that no employee or agent of the city within the scope of their duties for the city shall assist in the interference, investigation, or prosecution of any individual exercising the same rights enjoyed by Washington residents to an abortion or pregnancy outcome. At the 6/3/2019 meeting, vote #108, the council passed a resolution supporting access to the full spectrum of reproductive services. AB23535 (Resolution 2022-22) Approved 7-0

224. Approve a rezone for approximately 3.1 acres of property located on the southwest corner of Cordata Parkway and Meadowbrook Court in the Cordata neighborhood? (Public hearings held at 8/30/2021 and 11/7/2022 meetings.) AVT Consulting, on behalf of the property owner Michael Belisle, submitted applications for a comprehensive plan amendment and rezone requesting to remove all “Town Center” code references in the Cordata PUD for property in Area 1 of the Cordata neighborhood. This amendment allows residential uses outright and retains the full range of uses permitted under the “Town Center” designation to provide flexibility and the option for some convenient services. According to the application submittals, the applicant intends to develop the property with residential housing and forgo the current requirement to provide nonresidential uses. AB23510 (Ordinance 2022-11-026) Approved 7-0

225. Approve a rezone for property located at 2948 James Street in the Sunnyland Neighborhood? (Public hearing held at 4/25/2022 meeting.) The rezone is from residential, single to residential multi, multiple/mixed (offices allowed). The property is located on the southeast corner of James Street and E. Sunset Drive. The last principal use of the property was the Jerns Funeral Home. It was constructed in 1969 and was classified as a nonconforming use, and it is no longer located at 2948 James Street. The new property owner, the Belcher Swanson Law Firm, submitted a request for the rezone. At the 8/30/2021 meeting, vote #164, the council held a public hearing and placed the property on the docket for review. Upon review of the applicant’s proposal, staff applied the newly adopted residential multi-regulations to the proposal for code consistency and determined that the zoning designation of residential multi, planned (high density) is more appropriate for the subject site due to its proximity to nearby services and employment areas. AB23321 (Ordinance 2022-11-027) Approved 7-0

226. Establish a legal framework for the operation of publicly accessible electric vehicle charging stations? At the 5/7/2018 meeting, vote #65, the City Council adopted the Climate Protection Action Plan and amended it at the 11/23/2020 meeting, vote #216. The city will be installing EV charging infrastructure at 26 city-owned sites with a total of 45 charging stations for use by the public as well as the city’s EV fleet. All sites will have at least one Level 2 charging station and three sites along Interstate 5 will have a Level 3 charger (also known as a “DC Fast Charger”). Four sites will include a solar charging station, which will have a grid intertie when feasible. Each charger serves two parking stalls. The first round of chargers is slated for installation in the fourth quarter of 2022 and more in 2023. AB23519 (Ordinance 2022-11-028) Approved 7-0

227. Increase revenues and expenditures in the 2021-2022 biennial budget? Revenues are $4,166,065 and expenses are $11,433,721. Adjustments and corrections to the budget: in the general fund, $6,402,194 for labor, overtime and a missing-facilities allocation charge in the fire department. Additionally, $100,000 for the City Council, $50,000 for the museum and a transfer of $279,988 to the Sportsplex to cover annual debt payment. An interfund loan to the Whatcom County Medic One fund for $1,500,000 and golf fund revenue for $285,000. Labor settlements in the Medic One fund for $300,000, the Claims and Litigation Fund for $500,000 and the Unemployment and Workers Compensation Funds $110,000. AB23521 (Ordinance 2022-11-029) Approved 7-0

228. Raise the city’s property tax levy by the statutorily allowed one percent? State law authorizes the taxing district to increase property taxes annually by the lesser of one percent or the implicit price deflator, a measure of inflation, for the previous year. The price deflator was 6.5 percent, making the maximum allowed for 2023 one percent. Due to the intricacies of the property tax levy, the one percent increase will raise the property tax by $155,278 or 0.57008 percent. With the city’s 2023 assessed valuation, this equates to $3.89 on a $500,000 home. The proposed 2023-2024 biennial budget assumes that the 1 percent property tax option is taken in both years. AB23522 (Ordinance 2022-11-030) Approved 7-0  

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