Bellingham City Council

Action Taken at March 11, 2024 Meeting

Mayor’s Report

The mayor appointed Nick Leader to the Sehome Hill Arboretum Hill Board of Governors. The board was created under a cooperation agreement between the city of Bellingham and Western Washington University. Nick Leader is a 20-year resident of the arboretum neighborhood, employed by Roger Jobs Automotive,;he affirms a personal interest in protecting, preserving, and improving the area for future generations. His first term will expire on 2/28/2027 at which time he may be reappointed. (AB24033) Non-voting issue.

Shall the council:

39. Authorize the mayor to sign all necessary documents for the City of Bellingham to participate in the settlement of the lawsuit brought by the State of Washington against Johnson & Johnson, a nationwide opioid manufacturer? (Discussed in Executive Session.) Motion carried 7-0

40. Authorize the mayor to sign a modified agreement with the Port of Bellingham for facilites within the Waterfront District? (Public Hearing held.) At 12/2/2013 meeting, vote #258, the council authorized the mayor to sign a development agreement with the Port of Bellingham (modified at the 2/8/2016 meeting, vote #20 and 12/9/2019 meeting, vote #208), which sets forth the responsibility for and phasing of certain facilities, i.e. streets and parks. The proposed Boardmill Project (which includes redevelopment of the historic building and adjacent properties to provide housing, structured parking and open space), requires changes to the location of parks. There is no increase to the city’s financial commitment.The port will receive park impact fee credit for land dedicated to the city for parks. (AB24031) Approved 7-0

Approve the mayor’s appointment of Caroline Dietzgen and the reappointment of Keith Moore to the Transportation Commission ? The nine member Transportation Commission helps shape the future of Bellingham by taking a long-range, strategic look at transportation issues and providing recommendations on policy choices and investment priorities.

41. Caroline Dietzgen has lived in Bellingham for approximately four years. She is visually impaired and bikes, uses the bus, and walks as her mode of transportation. She has a master’s degree in translation (French, English, Mandarin) and is training to become a certified peer counselor. Her first term will expire on 3/11/2027 at which time she may be reappointed. (AB24032) Approved 7-0

42. Keith Moore was initially appointed to the commssion at the 4/26/2021 meeting, vote #69. He has a Ph.D. in sociology from University of Wisconsin-Madison and has lived in Bellingham for nine years. He has an interest in multimodal transportation and linking it with economic enhancement. His final term will expire on 4/26/2027. (AB24032) Approved 7-0

43. Authorize the mayor to award the only bid of $1,722,779 to Boss Construction of Bellingham for the Post Point bypass project? The engineer’s estimate was $1,237,745, and includes an apprenticeship-hour requirement. The resource recovery plant headworks bypass project is for the grit removal and septage/screening buildings and will allow for submerged and confined areas to be drained, cleaned and inspected. The bid price received for this project was $485,034 (39 percent) higher than the engineering estimate, and the receipt of a single bid is not ideal. A variety of factors are determined to affect the current bidding market for this project, including: a higher-than-average risk for the contractor, specialty equipment requirements, and construction workloads for many contractors affected by summertime fish-passage regulatory requirements. (AB24035) Approved 7-0

44. Authorize the mayor to award the low bid of $819,917 to Dawson Construction of Bellingham for Bloedel Donovan building renovations? The engineer’s estimate was $1,010,707. This project includes electrical upgrades, as well as stormwater repairs, mechanical upgrades, roof replacement and a new electrical vehicle charging station. This project provides upgrades to meet the city’s climate action objectives by removing natural gas systems. The city received nine bids — six of the nine were below the engineer’s estimate. The high bid was $1,548,768. (AB24036) Approved 7-0

The following vote may no longer be pertinent. The Port Commission terminated the lease with ABC Recycling at their March 25, 2024 special meeting.  (See “Port of Bellingham Commission” in this issue.)
45. Authorize the mayor to sign a memorandum of understanding with Whatcom County for the ABC Recycling facility? ABC Recycling has applied to Whatcom County for a permit to build a metal processing facility. The proposed facility would be located within the city’s Urban Growth Area that is currently part of unincorporated Whatcom County. The agreement is to establish and describe a collective effort for the sharing of lead agency responsibilities under the State Environmental Policy Act in order to conduct an environmental review for the proposed ABC Recycling project. The city and county will work together on the development and preparation of SEPA documentation, which will include the involvement of the public as well as other state and federal agencies, local government agencies, Indian tribes, nongovernmental organizations and other interested parties. Whatcom County shall act as nominal lead. (AB24041) Approved 7-0

46. Appropriate $5,381,377 for goods and services checks issued from February 16 through February 29, 2024? (AB24037/24038) Approved 7-0

47. Appropriate $4,947,154 for payroll checks issued from February 1 through February 15, 2024? (AB24043)Approved 7-0

48. Authorize the mayor to sign a temporary use permit with the state of Washington to support the boat inspection program? The city operates a seasonal check station to inspect and potentially treat boats and trailers entering Lake Whatcom for aquatic invasive species. At the 10/24/2011 meeting, vote #210, the council directed staff to develop an aquatic invasive species prevention program. Asian clams had recently been discovered in Lake Whatcom and Eurasian watermilfoil has been a problem; the city was concerned that more non-native species may follow. At the 2/25/2013 meeting, vote #36, the council authorized the hiring of staff to carry out mandatory watercraft inspections, decontaminate infected watercraft and conduct boater surveys. This agreement is for use of state property at Lake Samish for a boat inspection station; it expires on 10/31/2024. (AB24044) Approved 7-0

49. Authorize the mayor and fire chief to sign an agreement with Bellingham Technical College for 2024 paramedic training program? Training funds are collected through the 2023-2028 countywide EMS levy. The Bellingham Fire Department administers a paramedic training program in association with the Bellingham Technical College. This apprenticeship program takes just over one year to complete and provides training to both city of Bellingham firefighter/EMTs and firefighter/EMTs from other regional fire agencies. This one-year contract outlines the various programmatic and financial responsibilities of the fire department and BTC for this joint venture. This agreement for up to 11 students and it expires on 12/31/2024. (AB24045) Approved 7-0

50. Authorize the mayor and police chief to accept a state traffic safety grant? Driving under the influence is a big safety concern for Bellingham as the number of cideries and breweries increases. DUI arrests in 2022 numbered 565, while as of 11/28/23, the local number of DUIs numbered 682. This $6,500 grant — from the Washington Association of Sheriffs & Police Chiefs — is for two new officers and up-to-date handheld alcohol breath testers in all the cars. Participation in at least one WTSC-funded impaired driving or speed patrol during fiscal year 2023-2024 is a grant requirement. This grant has no match requirement. (AB24046) Approved 7-0

51. Adopt the 2021 Washington State Building Code with local amendments? The Washington State Building Code is updated every three years. Statewide implementation of the building code commenced on 7/1/2023. Due to Covid-19, the state postponed implementation of the 2018 code from 2020 to 2021. The council last updated the code at the 1/25/2021 meeting, vote #24. The Washington State Building Code is comprised of several different codes. These include the International Building Code, International Existing Building Code, residential code, mechanical code, fuel gas code, uniform plumbing code, swimming pool and spa code and property maintenance code. Notable changes in the 2018-2021 building codes include: the requirement for more efficient HVAC and service water heating, commercial buildings are now required to increase additional EV charging stations and EV-Ready parking spaces, and updated and new requirements for all-gender toilet facilities. AB23724 (Ordinance 2024-03-009) Approved 7-0

52. Adopt the 2021 International Fire Code with local amendments? The International Fire Code is updated every three years. Due to Covid-19, the state postponed implementation of the 2018 code from 2020 to 2021. The City Council last updated the fire code at the 1/25/2021 meeting, vote #23. Statewide implementation of the fire code commenced on 7/1/2023. The only amendments to this ordinance are changing references from the 2018 International Fire Code to the 2021 International Fire Code adopted by the state. AB23723 (Ordinance 2024-03-010) Approved 7-0


Action Taken at March 25, 2024 Meeting

Mayor’s Report

Mayor Lund reported that the Port of Bellingham Commissioners voted earlier today (see vote #31 on page 18) to terminate their lease with ABC Recycling. The administration will work to understand how this will impact the metal shredding facility proposal on Marine Drive and the noise ordinance under development. The mayor will continue to engage with the port leaders to advance a mindful vision for the working waterfront.

Shall the council:

53. Authorize the expenditure of $515,000 to purchase 1.29 acres in the Lake Whatcom Watershed from Leslee Probasc? The property has two potential development units. (Discussed in Executive Session.) Motion carried 7-0

54. Authorize the mayor to award the low bid of $1,583,004 to Summit Construction Group of Bellingham for phase 2 of the electrification of transportation project? The engineer’s estimate was $1,521,972. At the 3/14/2022 meeting, vote #43, the city received a $1,549,338 state grant for electric vehicle charging stations. This project is a continuation of Phase 1 (which installed eight chargers at six locations for a total of 16 plugs), and construction was completed in 2023. Phase 2 will add 38 new electric vehicle chargers with 71 plugs at 20 different locations around Bellingham on city-owned properties and public rights-of-way near destinations, workplaces, and multifamily residential areas. The city received four bids; the high bid was $1,901,829. The estimated cost for phase 1 and phase 2 is $3,445,670. (AB24050) Approved 7-0

55. Authorize the mayor to accept a $525,179 state grant for climate planning? On 11/30/2023, the City of Bellingham requested $525,179 in grant funds to assist in the implementation of HB 1181 and climate-related implementation activities. These funds are awarded for work between 7/1/2023 and 6/30/2025. An additional $174,821 will be available through 2029 to work towards implementation of HB 1181. The funds will go towards a variety of activities related to climate planning, such as climate and equity analysis, development of an electric vehicle plan, and work towards the adoption of climate goals and policies. (AB24059) Approved 7-0

56. Authorize the mayor to sign an agreement with the state Department of Commerce for a $75,000 middle housing grant? The grant will provide $37,500 in 2024 and $37,500 in 2025. The funds will go towards a variety of activities related to middle housing policy and code development, such as the development and distribution of the housing preference survey and staff work associated with housing-policy development. Staff are expected to draft a middle housing ordinance adopting policies supporting middle housing by 2/28/2025, and to draft development regulation amendments implementing policies associated with HB1110 implementation by 6/15/2025. (AB24060) Approved 7-0

57. Authorize the mayor to sign an agreement with the state Department of Commerce for a $175,000 grant for the completion of the Growth Management Act? Half of the funds will be available on 3/1/2024 and half on 1/1/25. The funds will go towards a variety of activities related to the Comprehensive Plan’s periodic update (also referred to as the Bellingham Plan), such as staff work, consultant assistance, and related countywide planning efforts. (AB24061) Approved 7-0

58. Appropriate $4,735,581 for goods and services checks issued from March 1 through March 14, 2024? (AB24063/24064) Approved 7-0

59. Appropriate $4,967,321 for payroll checks issued from February 16 through February 29, 2024? (AB24065) Approved 7-0

60. Initiate the review process for a potential annexation of approximately 146-acres known as the Britton Road/Northern Heights area? Property owners submitted a petition for annexation on 10/19/2023. The council will hold a public hearing prior to a final decision on the proposed annexation at a later date following a thorough review of the proposed annexation by the city’s inter-departmental annexation team. The combined petition signatures and the properties with no-protest agreements in place represent over 90 percent of the total taxable value of annexation area, or approximately $151 million dollars. AB24057 (Resolution 2024-02) Approved 6-1, Lisa Anderson opposed.

61. Authorize the issuance of up to $26 million in general obligation bonds for phase 2 of the Pacific Street operations center facility? At the 5/24/2021 meeting, vote #102, the City Council authorized the issuance of up to $21 million in general obligation bonds to fund the construction of a four-story building on Pacific Street to house Public Works, Parks operations and the Natural Resources staff and equipment. The 2023-2024 biennial budget includes $24 millionfor the phase 2 project. Bonds will only be issued for the actual anticipated cost of the facility. The city will repay the debt service for this project from the street fund, wastewater fund, water fund, and stormwater fund. AB24039 (Ordinance 2024-03-011) Approved 7-0

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