Skip to page contents
Contact Us Site Map
You are here: Home) Government) Council) Meeting Materials) September 13, 2010


RECORD OF PROCEEDING OF CITY COUNCIL

CITY OF BELLINGHAM, WASHINGTON


COUNCIL CHAMBERS, CITY HALL
Monday, September 13, 2010, 07:00 PM
Book: 64, Page: 1


Regular Meeting


Called To Order The meeting was called to order by Council President Gene Knutson with the Pledge of Allegiance led by Steve Moore.

Roll Call
Present:
    Jack Weiss, Council Member, First Ward
    Gene Knutson, Council Member, Second Ward
    Barry Buchanan, Council Member, Third Ward
    Stan Snapp, Council Member, Fourth Ward
    Terry Bornemann, Council Member, Fifth Ward
    Michael Lilliquist, Council Member, Sixth Ward
    Seth Fleetwood, Council Member, At Large

Excused:

ANNOUNCEMENT(S)
    On Monday, September 20, at 10:00 a.m. in the Fireplace Room, there will be a Lake Whatcom Reservoir and Natural Resources Committee special meeting to discuss a Lake Whatcom restoration plan.
    On Tuesday, September 21, at 10:00 a.m. in the Mayor’s Board Room, there will be a Planning and Community Development Committee special meeting to discuss downtown music noise.
    On Monday, September 27, at 7:00 p.m. in City Council Chambers, there will be a Public Hearing regarding a Happy Valley Neighborhood Plan amendment application of the neighborhood to incorporate a Green Infrastructure Plan.
    On Monday, September 27, at 7:00 p.m. in City Council Chambers, there will be a Public Hearing regarding a Happy Valley Neighborhood Plan amendment application of WWU to change a land use designation from multi-family residential to institutional.
    On Monday, September 27, at 7:00 p.m. in City Council Chambers, there will be a Public Hearing regarding a Central Business District plan amendment application of Seaview North Boatyards to rezone property from commercial waterfront to light industrial.
    On Monday, October 11, at 7:00 p.m. in City Council Chambers, there will be two Public Hearings related to: 1) City-initiated Comprehensive Plan Amendments to modify the existing Meridian/Cordata Neighborhood Plan and 2) a Comprehensive Plan Amendment and site-specific rezone for Area 23 of the Meridian/Cordata Neighborhood.

Bellingham City Council meets all requirements of the State of Washington Open Meetings Act.



APPROVAL OF MINUTES

SNAPP / BORNEMANN moved approval of the August 16, 2010 minutes of the regular Council Meeting as submitted. MOTION CARRIED 7-0.


15 - MINUTE PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD

Charlie Hudson President, Building Industry Association (BIA) and owner, Hudson Remodeling. He expressed concern about the administration of the new Fire Code and specifically expressed interest in getting clarity with regard to sprinklers, which are not mandated in the new state building code.

Darcy Jones, Co-chair Government Affairs Committee, BIA, and representing Jones Engineers. Mr. Jones is also concerned about issues relating to residential development and new interpretations and amendments of the Fire Code. He said that clarity, consistency and predictability are important and asked council to consider some of the amendments and how the code is being applied.

Steve Moore, Co-chair Government Affairs Committee, BIA. He too is concerned about the need for clarity in the new fire code. As a commercial broker, he needs to be able to inform his clients of code requirements but feels that they need to be clarified. He asked that the council’s Public Safety Committee look at the new code more closely so that there is consistency with the interpretation.

Johnny Grames discussed BTV 10 and his opinion that it only provides for government and education television but no public access.

Doug Campbell Associated Project Engineers and Consultants, has concerns about changes in Fire Code requirements and inconsistency. He said that the issues need to be fully identified and that this item should be sent back to committee.

Lynne Swan, asked, once again, that council initiate the Yew Street Road Annexation petition.

Tanasije Chobanov, expressed concerns about the need for speed bumps and other upgrades on Xenia Street. He reiterated his concern about the dangers there.

Mark Edson spoke in opposition to the use of red light cameras. He said they are expensive to install, the revenue goes out of the community and would be a net loss for the community.

John McGarrity, expressed concerns about the gas pipeline in the city.

Justin McKay representing www.bancam.com spoke in opposition to red light cameras.



PUBLIC HEARING(S)

AB18951 1. CONSIDERATION OF AN ORDINANCE ADOPTING THE FOUNTAIN DISTRICT SUBAREA PLAN AND CORRESPONDING CHANGES TO THE ZONING AND DEVELOPMENT REGULATIONS

Katie Franks, Development Specialist presented a Power Point presentation with regard to the Fountain District Urban Village.

The Fountain District was identified in the 2006 Comprehensive Plan as a neighborhood center and during 2009 there were four meetings for public process followed by several additional focus group meetings. A draft of the Master Plan concepts was completed in February 2010. Additionally, there have been presentations and discussions with the Transportation Commission, the Mayor’s Neighborhood Advisory Commission and the Planning Commission.

Ms. Franks reviewed the strengths and challenges of this area. Property owners identified strengths which included that this area is already an urban village; it just needs some revitalization to make biking and walking more safe. Challenges include: Meridian and Elm are major thoroughfares; there are not enough safe crossings and there is a lack of pedestrian scale features. Additionally, the citizens said there is not enough on-street parking and too many asphalt parking lots; there is poor drainage on local streets and the Fountain Plaza Park is underused and needs TLC.

Ms. Franks reviewed maps of existing zoning, boundaries, circulation needs and options for improving street design for Elm/Northwest, Meridian and the Fountain Plaza Park.

Staff would like to: add parking wherever possible on side streets and guide it so that it can be used more efficiently; consider creating a Residential Parking Zone if commercial overflow parking occurs.

Ms. Franks then showed illustrations of how the residential and commercial transition areas might work and discussed development regulation options and how height requirements and Floor Area Ratios (FAR) might affect the area.

Because of the eclectic mix of residential forms throughout the area, she discussed special design standards which staff hopes will encourage sensitive modifications and good additions to existing buildings.

Council President Knutson opened the public hearing.

Peter Roberts, reviewed processes to date and his concerns about parking issues related to this proposal. He said, the removal of parking on Elm Street to accommodate bike lanes should not be approved because:
    It was not adequately vetted with the public.
    Affected businesses and individuals requested 'please do not remove any parking'.
    It is not fair to have different standards for different neighborhoods.
    The citizens that will be impacted by staff’s solutions were never informed or part of the public discussion.
    No funding source has been identified in the 6-Year Transportation Improvement Program.

He feels that a solution would be to move forward with alternative #1, page 19, as presented in the Fountain District Urban Village - Presentation Draft Concepts, dated February 18, 2010 - Shared Lanes; do “sharrow” bike lanes as they did in the Samish Way Urban Village Subarea Plan and keep the parking until all parties impacted by the decision can weigh in.

Frank Ordway representing the Transportation Commission, which has reviewed the transportation element of the Fountain District Urban Village Plan spoke in support of the plan. He described their processes using the city’s Comprehensive Plan and its’ multi-modal goals as their guide. He said the Commission endorsed the plan unanimously in all three areas: the parking proposal for the Fountain Park area, the concept of bike boulevards and removing parking along one side of Elm Street.

Sara Snow, spoke in support of retaining on-street parking on Elm and Northwest Avenue.

Bob Simmons urged the city to afford those that live on Kulshan and Peabody some concern. He said, on the west side of Meridian immediately adjacent to where the four story buildings could begin, there is a 30' wide alley, which is immediately adjacent to the back yards of family homes. He wondered how the city would mitigate, on behalf of those who already live there, for blocking their sunlight, increased traffic, increased noise, loss of privacy and loss of parking. He noted that a member of the Planning Commission observed that Bellingham doesn't really need any more four story areas right now. Mr. Simmons said the downtown is awash with four story buildings so 'if we don’t need it, why encourage the increased height limit'? There are two residential streets of excellent single family homes that will be impacted by this project. He asked that the city look at those streets and consider what might be done to mitigate the damage that will occur before moving ahead with this proposal.

Sheryl Van Leeuwen, referenced an article from University of Connecticut entitled “What Street Parking Can do for Downtowns”, which supports retaining street parking. The article cites the main benefits as being: higher efficiency, better land use, increased safety and better pedestrian environment.

Cathy Lehman Chapter Director, Futurewise Whatcom. The organization works to protect rural and resource lands with a special priority being transit oriented community principles. She said that this is a good plan and represents an excellent compromise for what citizen preferences are in this neighborhood, especially in relation to removal of parking and safety requirements, but it could go farther. They would like to see a complete street on Meridian and less parking. Additionally, she put forth that the Haggen Grocery block may be an opportunity to be a demonstration project site for a TDR (Transfer Development Rights) receiving zone.

Ken Bell has a commercial building that adjoins the parking lot of the ReStore. His building straddles two different zones and he noted that a zone line also goes down the alley behind the ReStore. He asked that the zone lines be moved so that his property and the ReStore property are not split. Mr. Bell expressed his support of the Urban Village concept for the area.

Elke Daugherty supports many of the goals and objectives of the proposed plan but feels that the heights that have been proposed are extreme for the context of the neighborhood. She has conducted her own survey of 47 random households on Vallette, Peabody, North Street, Kulshan and Jefferson. [She submitted the survey results.] From that survey she said: 87% would like commercial development to remain at the current zoning of 35’ or be reduced and indicated that the primary concerns were loss of light, loss of view, increased traffic and increased parking demand. The Cornwall and Columbia Neighborhood Associations have gone on the record as supporting the plan but she feels it is important to note that the Cornwall Park Association has fewer members than the number that she surveyed; and based on conversations she has had with Columbia Neighborhood residents, she does not feel that the neighborhood associations’ endorsement truly represents the residents in those areas.

Lee Posthumus asked that the city consider keeping the heights at 35’ (possibly 45’ at the Haggen site) for the foreseeable future. She and other residents are very concerned that the proposed height limits would impact the neighborhood in terms of parking, crime and loss of sky and view.

Caryn Simmons, also feels that the 45' height limit is excessive and strongly disagrees that the neighborhood is supportive of the plan. She encouraged the city council to ask for studies that would reflect the impacts of a 45' height limit.

Nick Hartrich, Green Building/Smart Growth Manager, Sustainable Connections. He spoke in support of the plan and keeping the 45’ height limit. He said it is consistent with the transportation element of the Comprehensive Plan and gives Bellingham a leadership role in planning for a transit oriented community.

BREAK
Council President Knutson called the meeting back to order at 9:07 p.m.

Carol Whitling, J Street, has concerns about parking issues and shared that a business on Girard Street does not provide parking for its employees. Several of the employees park on J Street every day and she does not feel it is right to have them parked in the residential areas for the entire work day.

Stephen Choat, is opposed to removal of parking along Elm Street for the purposes of a bike lane because: elimination of parking will create a hardship for owners in the affected corridor; businesses, landlords, and homeowners rely on the street parking for customers, tenants and family members and is especially important for seniors who have limited abilities; lack of parking has been a major concern for the Fountain Business District and eliminating valuable parking through this developing business corridor is counterproductive; availability of parking should be protected; bicycles and cars can share. Many homes have been restored but with the proposed loss of parking, business owners may be faced with the loss of tenants and prospective buyers will look elsewhere for more favorable locations. He asked that alternative options/routes be explored with input from property owners that are being directly impacted by the proposed change.

Jonathan Knowles, 2701 Cornwall spoke in support of residents on Elm and Northwest to not remove the parking. He said the speeds on Cornwall Avenue have increased with the removal of parking, which had created a traffic calming effect.

Vanessa Blackburn is generally in support of the plan and discussed the importance of connecting the neighborhoods for pedestrians and bicyclists and feels a strong bike lane on Elm would provide more clarity for motorists and bicyclists.

Perry Eskridge Governmental Affairs Director, Whatcom Association of Realtors pointed out inconsistencies in the Plan saying that in one area it discusses removing on-street parking and then in another area says, ‘wherever possible add on-street parking’. Additionally the Columbia Neighborhood Plan and the Cornwall Park Neighborhood Plan, which share Elm Street, are inconsistent. He asked that, in the interest of consistency, staff go back and review on-street parking.

Dean Martin feels that sufficient housing should be provided in the community so that people are not inclined to convert resource lands into housing and other uses. He supports the plan and the 45’ height limit.

Dan Moore, said that if bike lanes become a reality on Elm Street he thinks that bicycles should be licensed, insured, and have safety inspections; and riders should be required to wear proper safety apparel and have instructional classes.

Maggie Hanson, said she does not like this plan. She said it would be creating an Urban Village just to create an Urban Village, which would take the heart out of the smaller, older homes in these neighborhoods. She does support safe crossings and sharing the streets but feels that removing the parking from Elm Street is a terrible idea.

Meredith Murray, Board Member, Columbia Neighborhood Association. She confirmed the support of the plan by the Association’s Board - in particular the height limits and the bike lanes. They feel those would be an asset to the neighborhood. Personally, she said, she loves riding on streets with bike lanes and feels they should be encouraged.

Donald Kehrer, Land Use Consultant representing Haggen. He confirmed that Haggen would like to continue to operate their grocery store at the [Meridian] site. They are working with the Planning Department on some proposed language that would allow Haggen to make some minor improvements to their existing location while maintaining the character of their existing store and not encroaching into setback areas. He asked that council provide direction to staff that would allow them to continue to work with Haggen on proposed language to be presented at the worksession, and which, would be consistent with Haggen’s goals for the site.

John McGarrity, expressed support of the plan but feels it was not ‘sold’ enough to the neighborhoods. He explained that the Kulshan Street area is very different from the Peabody Street area and they have very different needs. He feels that the Haggen site would be a good place to add height and that it will not improve things to take parking off Elm Street. He encouraged safe biking routes through the city and suggested that rather than putting bike lanes on Elm/Northwest they be moved over to Kulshan Street where the bicyclists would not have to compete with buses and cars.

There being no further comments, the public hearing was closed.

Council members agreed that they would prepare and submit questions in preparation of the worksession on September 27th. Katie Franks said she would look into the concerns regarding zoning in the ReStore area described by Ken Bell, and Council Member Fleetwood feels that a site visit prior to the worksession would be helpful.

Information only.


REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

PUBLIC WORKS / PUBLIC SAFETY
MEMBERS: CHAIR, BARRY BUCHANAN; STAN SNAPP; JACK WEISS

AB18835 1. APPROVAL OF SALE OF SURPLUS RESCUE VEHICLE #471

BUCHANAN / WEISS moved to approve the surplus sale of Rescue Vehicle #471 for $50,000.00. MOTION CARRIED 7-0


AB18952 CB 13642
2. AN ORDINANCE RELATING TO THE 2010 BUDGET APPROPRIATING $235,720.19 FROM ESTIMATED ENDING UNDESIGNATED RESERVES IN THE FLEET FUND TO PURCHASE POLICE PATROL VEHICLES

BUCHANAN / SNAPP moved approval for first and second reading. MOTION CARRIED 7-0.


LAKE WHATCOM RESERVOIR & NATURAL RESOURCES
MEMBERS: CHAIR, MICHAEL LILLIQUIST; BARRY BUCHANAN; STAN SNAPP; SETH FLEETWOOD

AB18953 1. BRIEFING ON CITY’S RESPONSE TO THE NATIONAL MARINE FISHERIES SERVICE BIOLOGICAL OPINION REGARDING SALMON HABITAT PROTECTION STANDARDS WITHIN REGULATORY FLOODPLAINS

Council Member Lilliquist reported that staff had explained, during committee, the options available in order to comply with FEMA requirements. The deadline for implementation has been moved from September 2010 to September 2011. When the Shoreline Master Plan has been completed, staff has recommended that it be submitted to satisfy Option 2 which will show that local regulations are protective of the habitats of the salmon species and require sufficient mitigation to demonstrate no adverse effects on those species.

Information only.


PLANNING & COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
MEMBERS: CHAIR, TERRY BORNEMANN; SETH FLEETWOOD; MICHAEL LILLIQUIST; JACK WEISS

AB18946 1. WORKSESSION REGARDING CONSIDERATION OF A REQUEST TO INITIATE REVIEW PROCESS FOR THE YEW STREET ROAD EAST ANNEXATION

WEISS / FLEETWOOD moved to deny the initiation of the annexation. MOTION CARRIED 4-3, BORNEMANN, BUCHANAN, KNUTSON opposed.



COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE
CHAIR, GENE KNUTSON
          1. APPROVAL OF CITY COUNCIL COMMITTEE AND/OR SPECIAL MEETING MINUTES

None submitted at evening meeting.

          2. OLD/NEW BUSINESS

Council Member Bornemann introduced a resolution opposing Initiatives 1100 and 1105. A Public Hearing will be scheduled for October 4, 2010.

Council Member Bornemann noted a new exhibit at the Museum, entitled 1934: A New Deal for Artists, a Smithsonian Exhibit, which opens September 18th.

Council Member Lilliquist noted activities and information with regard to Whatcom Water Week: September 18th - 25th.

Council Member Weiss discussed regulation of political signage. Several items from a MRSC Report were noted. Public Works Director Ted Carlson explained that staff does remove signs if they are in the median or are a safety or sight issue.


EXECUTIVE SESSION - Report only.

1. Potential Property Acquisition: Staff provided information on a potential property acquisition. Information only. No action taken.

2. Potential Property Acquisition: Staff provided information on a potential property acquisition. Information only. No action taken.

3. Potential Property Acquisition: Staff provided information on the potential acquisition of a 4.5 acre parcel adjacent to Lake Whatcom Boulevard, in the vicinity of the Stimpson Reserve. The seller is Summit Bank.

SNAPP / BORNEMANN moved to authorize the purchase of said property at a purchase price of $100,000.00. MOTION CARRIED 7-0.


4. Labor NegotiationsAFSCME 114L (Librarians): City Staff provided an update on labor negotiations.

SNAPP / BORNEMANN moved to approve the agreement with AFSCME 114L with the following terms:

      Term of Agreement: Modification to 2009-2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement with extension through December 31, 2013.

      Wages: For 2011, the wage plan remains as published in the current Collective Bargaining Agreement.

      For 2012-2013, wage increases will be the greater of 0% or the COLA awarded to the unrepresented (E-Team) group.

      Benefits: Beginning January 1, 2011, the City’s contribution to medical premiums will be based on Group Health Co-Pay Plan 2 instead of Regence PPO.

      Personnel: Management will discuss any planned layoffs or position eliminations with the bargaining unit to determine whether savings can be achieved another way.
    MOTION CARRIED 7-0.

MAYOR'S REPORT
          1. Standing time for briefings, updates and reports to Council by the Mayor, if needed. Information only.

AB18954 2. MAYOR’S REAPPOINTMENT OF MICHAEL SINGLETARY, MOLLY MONAHAN AND DAN HAMMILL TO THE COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT ADVISORY BOARD

Information only.


CONSENT AGENDA
All matters listed on the Consent Agenda are considered routine and/or non-controversial items and may be approved in a single motion. A member of the Council may ask that an item be removed from the Consent Agenda and considered separately.

AB18955 Resolution #2010-25
1. RESOLUTION ADOPTING THE NATIONAL INCIDENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (NIMS)

A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY OF BELLINGHAM, WASHINGTON AUTHORIZING THE ADOPTION OF THE NATIONAL INCIDENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM AS THE BASIS FOR ALL INCIDENT MANAGEMENT IN THE CITY OF BELLINGHAM.”

AB18956 Resolution #2010-26
2. RESOLUTION TO SET A PUBLIC HEARING DATE OF OCTOBER 20, 2010 BEFORE THE HEARING EXAMINER FOR A STREET VACATION PETITION FOR 26TH STREET AND THE ALLEYWAY TO THE WEST

A RESOLUTION FIXING THE TIME FOR A PUBLIC HEARING ON A PROPOSED STREET AND ALLEY VACATION FOR 26TH STREET AND THE ALLEYWAY TO THE WEST ABUTTING BLOCKS 251 AND 252, FAIRHAVEN LAND CO. THIRD ADDITION TO FAIRHAVEN, GENERALLY BETWEEN DOUGLAS AVENUE AND TAYLOR STREET.”

AB18957 3. BID AWARD FOR POLICE UNIFORMS, BID #53B-2010

AB18958 4. BID AWARD FOR CITY HALL ROOF REPLACEMENT, BID #52B-2010

AB18959 5. AUTHORIZATION OF CHECK ISSUE FOR ACCOUNTS PAYABLE FROM JULY 30, 2010 TO AUGUST 6, 2010

AB18960 6. AUTHORIZATION OF CHECK ISSUE FOR ACCOUNTS PAYABLE FROM AUGUST 6, 2010 TO AUGUST 13, 2010

AB18961 7. AUTHORIZATION OF CHECK ISSUE FOR ACCOUNTS PAYABLE FROM AUGUST 13, 2010 TO AUGUST 20, 2010

AB18962 8. AUTHORIZATION OF CHECK ISSUE FOR ACCOUNTS PAYABLE CHECK ISSUED AUGUST 27, 2010

AB18963 9. AUTHORIZATION OF CHECK ISSUE FOR ACCOUNTS PAYABLE FROM AUGUST 27, 2010 TO SEPTEMBER 3, 2010

AB18964 10. AUTHORIZATION OF CHECK ISSUE FOR PAYROLL FROM JULY 16, 2010 TO JULY 31, 2010

AB18965 11. AUTHORIZATION OF CHECK ISSUE FOR PAYROLL FROM AUGUST 1, 2010 TO AUGUST 15, 2010

BUCHANAN / LILLIQUIST moved approval of the Consent Agenda in its entirety. MOTION CARRIED 7-0.


FINAL CONSIDERATION OF ORDINANCES

AB18947 1. CB 13640
AN ORDINANCE RELATING TO BELLINGHAM MUNICIPAL CODE CHAPTER 2.44, TRANSPORTATION COMMISSION, AMENDING SECTION 2.44.010 B. PERTAINING TO MEMBERSHIP, AND ADDING A NEW SECTION 2.44.050 (11) TO AUTHORIZE THE TRANSPORTATION COMMISSION TO ADVISE BELLINGHAM TRANSPORTATION BENEFIT DISTRICT. NO. 1

BORNEMANN / SNAPP moved approval for third and final reading. Upon motion, said bill was placed on final passage and approved by the following roll call vote:

AYES: BORNEMANN, BUCHANAN, FLEETWOOD, KNUTSON, LILLIQUIST, SNAPP, WEISS
NAYS:
ABSTENTIONS:

MOTION CARRIED 7-0 and was thereafter named Ordinance #2010-09-054


AB18950 2. CB 13641
AN ORDINANCE RELATING TO THE 2010 BUDGET APPROPRIATING $30,000.00 FROM ESTIMATED ENDING RESERVES DESIGNATED FOR BTV IN THE GENERAL FUND TO PAY ADDITIONAL PROFESSIONAL SERVICES COSTS RELATING TO NEGOTIATION OF A FRANCHISE AGREEMENT

BORNEMANN / BUCHANAN moved approval for third and final reading. Upon motion, said bill was placed on final passage and approved by the following roll call vote:

AYES: BORNEMANN, BUCHANAN, FLEETWOOD, KNUTSON, LILLIQUIST, SNAPP, WEISS
NAYS:
ABSTENTIONS:

MOTION CARRIED 7-0 and was thereafter named Ordinance #2010-09-055




ADJOURNMENT
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 10:33 p.m.


Gene Knutson, Council President

ATTEST: Linda D. Anderson City Clerk Representative
APPROVED: 09/27/2010



This is a digital copy of an original document located at Bellingham's City Hall. The City of Bellingham specifically disclaims any responsibility or liability for the contents of this document. The City of Bellingham does not verify the correctness, accuracy, or validity of the information appearing in this document.

Top of Page ^ Top of page