Whatcom County Council

Compiled by Barry MacHale

Action Taken at February 8, 2022 Meeting

Shall the council:
38. Authorize the executive to sign a contract in the maximum amount of $705,200 with Aristo Healthcare Services of Seattle? The county opened a Covid-19 temporary housing facility in March 2020 in response to the need for unsheltered individuals to have a safe place to isolate and quarantine. The original facility reached capacity and designated overflow sites require staffing. This contract will provide immediate staffing at overflow sites; it expires on 3/31/2022. (AB2022-072) Approved 7-0

39. Authorize the executive to sign a memorandum of understanding with the city of Bellingham for a severe winter shelter? The memorandum covers the months of January, February and March 2022. A temperature threshold of 28F will activate the shelter. The shelter is located at Depot Market Square on Railroad Avenue and will operate from 7 p.m. to 9 a.m. The city of Bellingham is responsible for covering all operating costs; it will not charge the county for the use of the facility. If the county uses the facility, it will provide staff for custodial services and maintenance. (AB2022-075) Approved 7-0

40. Amend the 2020-2022 collective bargaining agreement with the International Organization of Masters, Mates and Pilots (Pacific Maritime Region) and the Inlandboatmen’s Union of the Pacific? These groups represent employees who operate the Lummi Island ferry. The collective bargaining agreement was initially approved at the 2/25/2020 meeting, vote #37. This amendment will add a 1 percent wage adjustment, for a total increase of 2.25 percent for 2022. The 2020-2022 agreement expires on 12/31/2022. (AB2022-078) Approved 7-0

41. Authorize the executive to accept a $1,175,834 state grant to fund the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program? The community-based diversion program is intended to reduce criminal legal system involvement by individuals experiencing behavioral health or substance use issues. Intensive case management services are provided by Sea Mar Community Health Centers of Seattle. The funding will support program activities during the period from 10/01/21 to 6/30/23. (AB2022-091) Approved 7-0

42. Authorize the executive to sign a $371,583 contract (amendment #3) with Sea Mar Community Health Centers of Seattle? The original contract was authorized at the 5/5/2020 meeting, vote #71. This amendment will fund intensive case management services through the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program. The community-based diversion program is intended to reduce criminal legal system involvement by individuals experiencing behavioral health or substance use issues. The purpose of the amendment is to retroactively extend the contract by six months. The total amended contract is $1,124,543; it will run from 10/1/21 to 03/31/22. (AB2022-092) Approved 7-0

43. Update the 2022 appendix to the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS)? State law requires grant applicants seeking public works funding from the state Economic Development Administration to develop and update an economic development plan. At the 8/13/2002 meeting, vote #154, council adopted the first Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy and updated it every five years. It was last updated at the 10/26/2021 meeting, vote #257. This update will include an additional Port of Bellingham’s Alcoa/Intalco re-open project and revise the incorrectly listed name of the Whatcom County’s State Street/Way Station project. AB2022-076 (Resolution 2022-006) Approved 7-0

44. Affirm the Conservation Easement Program Oversight Committee rankings and authorize the acquisition of 181 acres of conservation easements? The conservation easement program is used to preserve forest and farmland for farming, habitat conservation, and outdoor recreation purposes. The 2022 ranked list includes applications with estimated costs and acreage: John VanderVeen (agricultural conservation: $180,000; 57 acres); Darlene Rethlefsen (agricultural conservation: $395,000; 49 acres); Michele Savage (agricultural conservation: $170,000; 40 acres); and Bonnie Moors (forestry conservation: $250,000; 36 acres). AB2022-071 (Resolution 2022-007) Approved 7-0

45. Support state legislative action to reset the deadline for participation in the voluntary stewardship program? In 2011, the state Legislature created a voluntary stewardship program to provide county governments with additional voluntary incentive-based policy tools to be used for the preservation of critical environmental areas and farm land. There was a six-month deadline for enrollment and Whatcom County did not meet the deadline. This resolution supports senate (SB6545) and house (HB1856) bills resetting the deadline to 7/1/2023 for participation in the voluntary stewardship program, which would allow Whatcom County to participate. AB2022-080 (Resolution 2022-008) Approved 6-1, Ben Elenbaas recused.

46. Close a portion of Gulf Road to vehicular traffic? (Public hearing held.) Pacific International Holdings of Las Vegas, Nevada, has submitted a request to close Gulf Road, south of Henry Road. The request is in response to illegal dumping, abandoned vehicles, alcohol and drug use, unauthorized fires, discharging of firearms, and the destruction of private property. Sheriff deputies have been dispatched numerous times over the years to response to illegal activities and Fire District #7 has responded to fires. A gate will be installed by Pacific International Holdings; it will limit access to pedestrians, emergency vehicles and adjacent property owners. Henry Road at Gulf Road does not have room for parking. Beach access will be significantly reduced at Cherry Point, a state-designated aquatic reserve. The County Council may at any time and for no cause open the road to vehicular traffic. AB2022-039 (Ordinance 2022-005) Adopted 7-0

47. Establish speed limits for portions of Nulle Road? (Public hearing held.) The section from Summerland Road to East Lake Samish Road will be officially reduced from 40 mph to 30 mph and the section from East Lake Samish Road to Pacific Highway will remain at 40 mph. AB2022-040 (Ordinance 2022-006) Adopted 7-0

48. Install a stop sign on Northwest Drive? (Public hearing held.) The county engineer has determined that a stop sign is required for southbound travel on Northwest Drive at the intersection with West Pole Road. AB2022-041 (Ordinance 2022-007) Adopted 7-0

49. Legally establish existing yield signs on county roads? (Public hearing held.) Seven current yield-controlled intersections have not been established by the appropriate processes according to state law. To correct this, Whatcom County code related to the following intersections will be updated. The intersections include: Geneva Street, southbound at Wall Street; Country Lane, eastbound at Curtis Road; Jensen Road, westbound at Squalicum Lake Road; Holeman Avenue, eastbound at Birch Bay Drive; Chuckanut Lane, southbound at Yacht Club Road; Birch Bay-Lynden Road, eastbound from northbound Portal Way; Birch Bay-Lynden Road, southbound from Portal Way. AB2022-042 (Ordinance 2022-008) Adopted 7-0

50. Authorize Superior Court judges to appoint a statutory commissioner? In addition to the mandated three full-time court commissioners, state law allows for the appointment of one or more family court, mental health court and protection order commissioners. The Whatcom County Superior Court judges requested that one full-time appointee fill the family, mental health, and protection order court positions. AB2022-048 (Ordinance 2022-009) Adopted 7-0

51. Amend Whatcom County Code related to actions taken by council standing committees? All County Council meetings are conducted in accordance with the “American Institute of Parliamentarians Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure,” latest edition. It has been suggested that a committee can hold a proposed item, preventing the full council from taking action on the proposed item. This amendment allows the council to withdraw any proposed item from committee at any time and consider the item at a full council meeting. AB2022-079 (Ordinance 2022-010) Adopted 4-3, Tyler Byrd, Ben Elenbaas and Kathy Kershner opposed.

52. Amend county code relating to the production, processing, and retail sales of recreational marijuana in Whatcom County and repeal a temporary moratorium on accepting applications for these purposes? In the 2012 general election, Washington voters passed Initiative 502 and legalized recreational marijuana. A legal opinion by the state attorney general allows county governments to place additional regulations upon marijuana-related businesses. At the 3/31/2015 meeting, vote #52, the council passed an ordinance allowing the production, processing and retailing of marijuana. The coronavirus pandemic delayed the county from the development of zoning and other regulations addressing marijuana production, processing, and retail sales. In response, at the 4/6/2021 meeting, vote #92, the council approved the first interim moratorium. The moratorium will be repealed and code amendments related to marijuana production, processing, and sales are adopted. AB2021-648 (Ordinance 2022-011) Substitute adopted 7-0

Action Taken at February 22, 2022 Meeting

Shall the council:
53. Authorize the executive to sign a contract (amendment #1) to increase yearly payments by $12,967 with Flex Financial, a division of Stryker Sales Corporation of Kalamazoo, Michigan? The original 10-year contract for $4,683,164 was approved at the 12/8/2020 meeting, vote #262; it purchased EMS equipment. The original contract purchased 54 power lift gurneys but did not include two demonstration gurneys that were eventually replaced with new models, for a total of 56 gurneys. The amendment will increase the annual payments from $468,316 to $481,283 and add the two gurneys to the maintenance and lease agreement. The 10-year contract expires on 12/31/2030. (AB2022-037) Approved 7-0

54. Authorize the executive to sign a $60,000 contract (amendment #1) with Cascadia Law Group of Seattle for legal advice? This amendment will add legal consultation and representation services for potential regulatory actions taken by the council related to the PetroGas West terminal at Cherry Point and volatile organic compound emission disclosures. The Northwest Clean Air Agency notified Whatcom County that PetroGas increased volatile organic compound emissions and rail and vessel traffic at Cherry Point starting in 2015, and continuing up to the present. The emissions may not have been properly disclosed in the 2016 SEPA permitting process. The total amended contract is $100,000; it expires on 12/31/2022. (AB2022-074) Approved 7-0

55. Authorize the executive to sign a $150,000 contract with the city of Lynden? The contract will provide construction upgrades to Fire Station 75 for the purpose of housing three firefighter/paramedics. The upgrades will add three bedrooms/parking space and storage space for medical equipment and personal protective equipment. The contract expires on 6/30/2022. (AB2022-081) Approved 7-0

56. Authorize the executive to sign a $187,200 contract with Lifeline Connections of Vancouver, Washington? The contract will provide psychiatric services at the Whatcom County jail, including evaluations and assessments of offenders referred for mental health services. A psychiatrist and/or psychiatric advanced nurse practitioner will perform psychiatric services for approximately 18 hours a week on two or more days a week. The contract expires on 12/31/2022. (AB2022-107) Approved 7-0

57. Authorize the executive to sign a $574,760 contract (amendment #8) with the Opportunity Council to operate the Whatcom Homeless Service Center? At the 12/8/2020 meeting, vote # 257, the council approved the original contract for $796,701 to provide intake and case management services for the Whatcom Homeless Service Center. The purpose of this amendment is to add funding to increase the number of families receiving rental assistance or emergency shelter, and to add staff positions to support a coordinated entry referral system. The total amended contract is $4,733,031; it expires on 12/31/2022. (AB2022-116) Approved 7-0

58. Authorize the executive to accept a $282,878 state grant (amendment #2) for housing services? The original grant for $6,335,182 was approved at the 7/13/2021 meeting, vote #160. It provided resources through local providers to assist people experiencing homelessness to obtain and maintain housing. The total amended grant is $7,824,102; it expires on 6/30/2023. (AB2022-117) Approved 7-0

59. Authorize the executive to sign a $275,000 contract (amendment #1) with Bird’s Eye Medical of Tumwater to provide Covid-19 vaccine administration services at community vaccine clinics? The original contract ran from 11/01/2021 to 2/28/2022. The purpose of the amendment is adding funding for vaccine clinics. The total amended contract is $315,000; it expires on 3/31/2022. (AB2022-126) Approved 7-0

60. Establish a “respectful workplace standard?” The resolution would explicitly state the expectation that members of the council and council staff: “conduct themselves with self-awareness, self-respect, and professionalism;” “treat all others with respect, dignity, fairness, and civility, regardless of identity, age, status, or position;” and “refrain from engaging in hostile, intimidating, offensive, or unlawful activities or behaviors that may amount to discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment, or bullying.” AB2022-111 (Resolution 2022-09) Approved 7-0

61. Amend the Whatcom County Code relating to zoning and land division, use, and development? (Public hearing held.) The amendments will make corrections, updates, and clarifications of county code. AB2022-082 (Ordinance 2022-012) Adopted 7-0

62. Amend the Whatcom County Code relating to zoning? (Public hearing held.) The amendments would allow the construction of “duplex” and “tiny home” residential dwellings in planned unit developments for the purpose of increasing affordable housing options. AB2021-606 (Ordinance 2022-013) Substitute adopted 7-0

63. Amend the Whatcom County comprehensive plan map and zoning code for the Nooksack Falls exclave? (Public hearing held.) The 66-acre area of privately-held land is located within the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. The amendments would change the area’s zoning designation from mineral resource lands to rural forestry. AB2021-420 (Ordinance 2022-014) Adopted 6-1, Tyler Byrd abstained.

64. Repeal the Cherry Point Ferndale subarea plan? (Public hearing held.) This ordinance will delete a reference to the subarea plan in the Whatcom County comprehensive plan. The state Growth Management Act requires that subarea plans be consistent with county comprehensive plans. The Cherry Point Ferndale subarea plan was adopted in 1981, prior to the enactment of the Growth Management Act in 1990 and is, therefore, not consistent with it. AB2022-036 (Ordinance 2022-2015) Adopted 6-1, Tyler Byrd abstained.

65. Amend the 2022 Whatcom County budget (request #5), in the amount of $7,750,231? Appropriated: $473,000 to fund Covid-19 isolation services; $286,460 to fund temporary extra flood recovery support; $164,182 to fund LEAD activities at the Prosecuting Attorney’s office; $405,600 to fund border security activities from grant proceeds; $156,342 to fund physician services at the jail; $97,200 to fund psychiatric services at the jail; $1,121,094 to fund 14 full-time positions in the GRACE and LEAD social service programs; $150,000 to partially fund renovations to the Lynden Fire Station 75 to house a 5th paramedic unit; $500,000 to fund flood debris disposal and site restoration; $286,460 to fund four temporary positions supporting flood recovery efforts; $1,424,900 to fund flood recovery housing costs; $230,208 to fund the addition of a flood recovery manager position and case management services; and $2,000,000 to partially fund the Port of Bellingham rural broadband project. To see 10 items below $100,000 go to: https://whatcom.legistar.com/View.ashx?M=F&ID=10561785&GUID=A5CFBA55-2DEF-472C-8691-DE45AF42FA64. AB2022-086 (Ordinance 2022-2016) Adopted 5-2, Tyler Byrd and Ben Elenbaas opposed. 

66. Close the State Street Building Acquisition and Improvement Fund? The fund was established at the 11/12/2013 meeting, vote #205, in the amount of $5,058,884. At the time, the county leased over 80 percent of the building at 1500 N. State Street for the county health department, medical examiner offices and morgue. The fund was created to purchase the building, renovate the second and fourth floors and move the Planning and Development Services from the Northwest Annex building to State Street. Moving Planning and Development Services has been abandoned. The remaining balance of $2,384,322 will be transferred to The Way Station Project Fund for renovation of the State Street building. AB2022-088 (Ordinance 2022-2017) Adopted 7-0

67. Establish The Way Station Project Fund and project-based budget in the amount of $2,384,322? The building at 1500 N. State Street is currently used by the Health Department, by the medical examiner and county morgue, EMS administration, Grace and LEAD programs. The fund will be used to renovate the building to service homeless individuals who are either living in shelters or unsheltered. For background information about The Way Station, see the 1/25/2022 meeting, vote #20. AB2022-089 (Ordinance 2022-2018) Adopted 5-2, Tyler Byrd and Ben Elenbaas opposed.  

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