Whatcom County Council

Compiled by Barry MacHale

Action Taken at March 7, 2017 Meeting 
Shall the council:

39. Appoint Michael Shepard to the Portage Bay Shellfish Protection District Advisory Committee? The Portage Bay Shellfish Protection District Advisory Board advises the County Council on proposed actions and operations relating to the restoration of water quality in the Portage Bay watershed. Mr. Shepard is currently a research associate at Western Washington University’s Center for Pacific Northwest Studies, and holds a bachelor s degree in environmental and indigenous studies, masters degrees in environmental studies and cultural sustainability, and a PhD in anthropology. (AB2017-072) Confirmed 7-0

40. Grant a property easement to the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife? The park property is located on the south end of Lake Whatcom, and will be used for the construction, improvement, and maintenance of fish hatchery facilities on Brannian Creek. (AB2017-091) Approved 7-0

41. Authorize the executive to accept a $593,020 grant from the Commodity Credit Corporation? The grant is from a federal government owned and operated entity, it will provide for a 50 percent cost share for the purchase of development rights easements through the Agricultural Conservation Easement Grant Program. The Purchase of Development Rights program is used to preserve farmland for farming, habitat conservation, and outdoor recreation purposes. At the 8/9/2016 meeting, vote #145, the council approved the acquisition of six properties, including: Cougar Creek Ranch-158 acres; Sandra Matheson-18 acres; Justin Williams-2×20 acres; and Sam and Donna Grubbs-20 acres. Applications for participation in the program are reviewed and ranked as to their overall public benefit. (AB2017-092) Approved 7-0

42. Confirm the executive’s appointment of Sonja Max to the at-large position on the Parks and Recreation Commission? The commission advises the Parks and Recreation Director on parks, recreation, and senior services issues. Ms. Max has been employed in the consulting and design fields, and is currently involved in the restoration and conversion of the historic Cascade Laundry building in Bellingham to a non-profit performing arts center. (AB2017-093) Confirmed 7-0

43. Sell tax-title property by public auction? Request TR2017-01: the County Council has deemed a sale of the property located in the Paradise Lakes Country Club No. 1 tract to be in the best interest of the county. The property shall be sold to the highest and best bidder, for no less than the minimum price of $2,004, which includes foreclosure costs, interests, penalties, and taxes. AB2017-087A (Resolution 2017-013) Approved 7-0

44. Adopt interim amendments to the Whatcom County Comprehensive Plan and Whatcom County Code? (Public hearing held.) At the 12/6/2016 meeting, vote #250, the council adopted amendments that apply to buildings and construction; zoning; land division; and health. The interim amendments will expire on 3/18/2017. They include the legal availability of water as a condition of building and residential permit approval and list the manners in which an applicant can meet that condition. This ordinance will continue those interim amendments, which will expire on 8/7/2017. AB2016-309D (Ordinance 2017-008) Amended and adopted 4-3, Barbara Brenner,1 Ken Mann, and Carl Weimer opposed.

45. Establish charges and/or fees for providing Advanced Life Support ambulance transport services in Whatcom County? The ordinance will change the fees currently charged to those recommended by the EMS Oversight Board. ALS 1 service includes one ALS intervention and will increase from $750 to $766, and ALS 2 service includes medication administration and at least one ALS intervention and will increase from $950 to $970. AB2017-086 (Ordinance 2017-009) Adopted 7-0

Action Taken at March 21, 2017 Meeting
Shall the council:

46. Authorize the executive to sign an $75,000 agreement with the North Sound Behavioral Health Organization? The agreement will provide funding for outreach services to opioid and/or intravenous drug users in Whatcom County. Outreach services include: increased treatment initiation outreach; substance-use disorder assessment; inpatient treatment services; and access to medication-assisted treatment. The contact runs from 9/1/2016 through 6/30/2017. (AB2017-100) Approved 7-0

47. Authorize the executive to sign the collective bargaining agreement with the Washington State Nurses Association? The agreement covers eleven public health nurses and nurse supervisors. Included in the agreement are: a 2.25 percent and 2.5 percent salary increases for 2017 and 2018; changes to online job postings; county contributions to group insurance of $1,235 and $1,297 for 2017 and 2018, respectively; and a pilot program to allow 1.0 FTE employees to reduce to 0.9 FTE with pro-rated benefits. The two-year agreement runs from 1/1/2017 to 12/31/2018. (AB2017-106) Approved 7-0

48. Authorize the executive to sign a $250,000 contract with The Nature Conservancy to fund the Deming levee setback project? (Council acting as the flood control district board of supervisors) The Whatcom County Flood Control Zone District contract will support floodplain management and habitat restoration through a National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration grant and fund a geomorphic assessment of the lower Nooksack River as part of the Comprehensive Flood Hazard Management Plan. The contract expires on 1/31/2018. (AB2017-104) Approved 7-02

49. Authorize the executive to accept $342,737 in federal and state grants for the acquisition of five flood-prone properties? (Council acting as the flood control district board of supervisors) The grant provides reimbursement for 87.5 perccent of the acquisition of the properties in Marietta, as well as the removal of all related structures. The grant expires on 11/18/2019. (AB2017-105) Approved 7-0

50. Send a letter continuing the support of a plan to reintroduce grizzly bears into the North Cascades wilderness? At the 3/13/2008 meeting, vote #46, the council voted (approved 6-1, Sam Crawford opposed) to support implementation of the North Casades Grizzly Bear Recovery Plan. Public comment on the draft environmental impact statement is open through 4/28/2017. The letter to the superintendent of the North Cascades Natural Park continues support for the reintroduction and restoration of grizzly bears, supporting alternative C. Approved 6-1, Barbara Brenner3 opposed.

51. Authorize the executive to apply for two grants totaling $626,253? (Public hearing held) The state Department of Commerce requires that requests for Community Development Block Grants be made through local jurisdictions. The Opportunity Council is requesting that Whatcom County act as the lead agency for two block grants serving low- and moderate-income residents of Island, San Juan, and Whatcom counties. A $126,253 public services grant will fund resource and referral services through the East Whatcom Regional Resource Center; a $500,000 general purposes grant will fund housing rehabilitation projects for 30 low-income homeowners. AB2017-097 (Resolution 2017-015) Approved 7-0

52. Initiate review of proposed Comprehensive Plan and zoning amendments? Initiated proposals will be submitted for State Environmental Policy Act review, evaluation by the Planning Department, and opened to public hearing before being returned to the council for final consideration. New updates to Comprehensive Plan include: review and update of the Urban Fringe Subarea Plan; buffer reductions and waivers for marijuana production facilities located in Agricultural zones; creating Mineral Resource Lands designations; the creation of a new Marine Resource Lands section of the plan; and compliance with Growth Management Act requirements related to water resource protection. Pending updates to the Comprehensive plan include: update to the Critical Areas Ordinance; wireless communication facilities; permit review procedures; sign regulations; Cherry Point amendments; code enforcement amendments; Point Roberts Character Plan amendments; Boundary Line adjustments; weddings and special events determinations; Bellingham development standards; Agriculture Strategic Plan implementation; and Mineral Resource Land expansion. AB2017-083 (Resolution 2017-016) Substitute approved 7–0

53. Amend septic system regulations? (Public hearing held) The Whatcom County Health Department performs follow-up audit inspections to verify results of homeowners evaluations of septic systems. The department proposes changes to the self-inspection rules, homeowners who do not complete self-inspections or misrepresent results will lose the ability to complete self-inspections. A licensed operation and maintenance specialist will be required to complete all future inspections for those who submit inaccurate or incomplete results. This proposal is in response to state Supreme Court decision that the county comply with Growth Management Act requirements to protect the quality of water resources. AB2017-053A (Ordinance 2017-010) Adopted 7–0

54. Continue the interim moratorium on the export of unrefined fossil fuels from facilities in the Cherry Point Urban Growth Area? (Public hearing held) At the 8/9/2016 meeting, vote #147, council imposed an emergency 60-day moratorium upon acceptance of applications and permits for exporting unrefined fossil fuels from Cherry Point. The 60-day moratorium was extended for six months at the 9/27/2016 meeting, vote #173. This ordinance extends the moratorium for an additional six months, with options for renewal upon expiration if the appropriate public hearings are held. The moratorium covers facilities including, but not limited to, piers, wharfs, buildings, tank farms, pipelines, rail loading and offloading facilities, road spurs, or other infrastructure purposed for exporting unrefined fossil fuels, including stabilized or unstabilized crude oil, diluted or raw bitumen, sycrude, coal, methane, propane, butane, and liquid or gaseous natural gas. AB2016-256B (Ordinance 2017-011) Adopted 6-1, Barbara Brenner4 opposed.

55. Amend the courthouse project fund and project-based budget (amendment #1) in the amount of $2,427,809? At the 5/6/2014 meeting, vote #93, the council authorized the executive to sign a $507,857 contract with HKP Architects of Mount Vernon to conduct a survey of the courthouse exterior. At the 11/25/2014 meeting, vote #226, council voted to establish a project fund and a $250,000 project-based budget to address results of the survey that found water damage to the building’s exterior. This amendment will fund maintenance and repairs, including: removal and replacement of the roof; replacement of single-pane windows; replacement of cracked bricks; and cleaning of exterior insulation and finish systems. The total amended budget is $2,677,809. AB2017-095 (Ordinance 2017-012) Substitute adopted 7–0

56. Amend the 2017 budget (request #3) in the amount of $2,104,121? Appropriated: $10,500 for sheriff’s department traffic safety equipment purchases, including radars, rear antenna, and breath-alcohol testing devices; $9,600 for sheriff’s department contracting of a community relations consultant; $435,000 to fund a service study for the Lummi Island ferry; $1,237,021 for Emergency Medical Services budget adjustments; $172,000 to fund Purchase of Development Rights requests related to the actively-farmed 19.4 acre Williams 2 and 14.5 acre Servid-Williams properties; $240,000 for vehicles, including: four pickup trucks; one SUV; a truck-mounted water tank; and a mower. AB2017-096 (Ordinance 2017-013) Adopted 7–0

57. Authorize inter-fund loans to provide financing for stormwater capital project budgets? The county treasurer is authorized to transfer funds from the real estate excise tax II fund to stormwater capital improvement funds as needed to meet immediate expenses that cannot be met in the short term as a result of longer grant funding cycles. The interest-free loans are not to exceed $1,000,000 per project, or to exceed a term of three years, and are to be reviewed by the council annually. AB2017-098 (Ordinance 2017-014) Adopted 7–0

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