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You are here: Home) Government) Council) Meeting Materials) January 24, 2011


RECORD OF PROCEEDING OF CITY COUNCIL

CITY OF BELLINGHAM, WASHINGTON


COUNCIL CHAMBERS, CITY HALL
Monday, January 24, 2011, 07:00 PM
Book: 65, Page: 1


REGULAR MEETING


Called To Order The meeting was called to order by Council President Stan Snapp with the Pledge of Allegiance led by John Servais.

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)

    ˇ On Saturday, January 22, at 9:00 a.m. at the Squalicum Boathouse, 2600 Harbor Loop, Bellingham, City Council annual retreat.
    ˇ On Monday, January 24, at 10:15 a.m. in the Mayor’s Board Room there will be a City Council Lake Whatcom Reservoir and Natural Resources Committee Meeting regarding Lake Whatcom Reservoir initiatives.

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

TRANSPORTATION BENEFIT DISTRICT NO. 1
    ˇ On Monday, February 7, 1:00 p.m. in Council Chambers there will be a meeting of the Transportation Benefit District No. 1 Board to discuss transit service, transportation projects and budget.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

KNUTSON / BUCHANAN moved approval of the January 10, 2011 minutes of the regular Council Meeting as submitted. MOTION CARRIED 7-0.


15 - MINUTE PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD

Anne Mackie President, York Neighborhood Association has concerns about rental housing/tenant safety and feels the city should institute rental licensing with inspections for basic life/health standards.

Dick Conoboy voiced concerns about rentals. He noted several Washington cities that have rental licensing (Pasco, Tukwila, Prosser, Seattle); there is a state law (Bill 6459) in addition to 125 cities across the US that have rental licensing. He gave several examples of the amount of life/safety issues and citations issued in other cities. He recognized that other cities have had opposition and asked, “Why do we believe that the City of Bellingham’s rental housing (17,000 units) are somehow pristine and that there is no problem in our rental market?”

David Hopkinson presented a Rental-Housing Safety Quiz.

Johnny Grames shared his thoughts on the State of the City, the County DUI conference; the public forum regarding a new jail and the city’s work with Comcast on a new fifteen year agreement.

Bruce Deile thanked the City for the recent Martin Luther King event and expressed concern about the bomb that was found at the Spokane Martin Luther King parade. He also said he has studied Reinhold Niebuhr and is encouraged to know that Martin Luther King had studied him as well.

Patrick McKee addressed the rental housing licensing issue. He said, there is a growing list of cities who have a licensing program and these inspections have turned up significant health and safety violations. Often times the City of Bellingham leads in urban planning but on the issue of landlord licensing the city is lagging behind. He said, we need to put a landlord licensing and inspection program on the books to be paid for by those in this business.

Maggie Hanson addressed the rental housing licensing issue. She has many rentals and described the difficulties with the inspection process. She feels that some owner/occupied houses should be inspected and feels that if rental units are to be inspected then homeowners should be included in a program.



PUBLIC HEARING(S)

AB19081 1. REVIEW OF FOUR COMPREHENSIVE PLAN AMENDMENT PROPOSALS TO ESTABLISH THE DOCKET OF POTENTIAL AMENDMENTS TO BE REVIEWED IN 2011

A RESOLUTION ESTABLISHING THE DOCKET OF PROPOSED COMPREHENSIVE PLAN AMENDMENTS TO BE REVIEWED IN 2011.”

The four proposals brought forth for consideration are:

Proposal #11-P1, Samish Neighborhood, Area 6
Proposal #11-P2, Happy Valley and Fairhaven Neighborhoods
Proposal #11-P3, Fairhaven Urban Village Proposal [Not included in resolution; staff recommends not docketing.]
Proposal #11-S1, CBD/City Center master Plan

Greg Aucutt, Senior Planner introduced the proposals. He explained that the docketing process is a Type VI Process which means that proposals go, first, to the Planning Commission for a Public Hearing and then to the City Council for a Public Hearing. The Planning Commission held their hearing on January 13, 2011. Once an item is docketed, it then begins a complete review process including a neighborhood meeting, environmental review, Planning Commission hearing and ultimately back to the City Council. When staff reviewed these proposals they considered: staff resources, potential to address comprehensive plan goals and changed circumstances (some zoning is decades old).

In addition to these proposals, staff also has the following on their work program from past years:

Fairhaven Neighborhood Plan Update
Sehome Neighborhood Plan Update
King Mountain Urban Village Master Plan
Periodic update to Comprehensive Plan

[Ed. note: Separate public hearings were held on the four proposals.]

PROPOSAL #11-P1. SAMISH NEIGHBORHOOD, AREA 6
Comprehensive Plan amendment and rezone from single family to multi-family; a proposed density increase from 20,000 s.f. of land area per dwelling unit to 6,250 s.f. per dwelling unit. The property has an approved subdivision under current zoning.

Mr. Aucutt projected a map and described the area in question. Staff and Planning Commission recommend that the proposal be docketed.

In response to questions from council, Mr. Aucutt replied: current zoning allows approximately 245 lots and the proposed change of density would be an approximate three-fold increase; the change in zoning does not necessarily mean an increase in density but would allow more flexibility in terms of housing type; lots in the currently approved plat are a range of sizes and they are clustered.

Council Member Weiss described areas shown on the Conservation Easement Summary and explained that, if the plat is approved, the city would receive a conservation easement for preservation of the Padden Gorge area. Concurrently, with final plat approval, the ridge area would also be dedicated to the city.

George Huston, representing applicants for the Padden Trails proposal, explained that the current status is a preliminary plan of 113 acres in the Samish Community. They are requesting that the land use designation and zoning be changed from Single Family Residential Low Density to Multi-family Residential Medium Density and to increase the allowed density from 20,000 s.f. per dwelling unit to 6,250 s.f. per unit.

He described the benefits as: meeting the goals and objectives of the Growth Management Act through diverse designs for multi-family housing to satisfy the needs of current income levels; provides the opportunity for responsible growth and creates vitality throughout this neighborhood; improves the living environment and design characteristics of Bellingham multi-family; preserves and enhances the special quality of existing neighborhoods while creating attractive, safe and viable new ones; encourages creativity in site planning and architecture and maintains environmental quality of the area through preservation of natural features and consolidation of open spaces.

Mr. Huston addressed Issues raised by the Planning Commission:
          Traffic concerns: the applicant has an existing traffic study and will do a supplemental traffic study as well as meet mandated requirements of all government authorities.
          Environmental sensitivity: design shows more than twelve miles of walking trails.
          Design and character of multi-family housing: housing types include single family, duplex, brownstones, townhomes and cottages with landscaping throughout.

In response to additional questions from council members, staff clarified the following:
    ˇ The change to multi-family would allow flexibility in housing types - attached housing, cottage housing - all of the infill toolkit options that are available under multi-family zoning that are not under single family zoning.
    ˇ Considering a change now would be appropriate so that when the housing market turns around, things would be in place and ready to go.
    ˇ Staff time has been budgeted for the 2011 work program on three of the four proposals being presented.
    ˇ If the application were to move forward in 2012 with subdivision, environmental review and the other elements, then it would become a paid application.
    ˇ Typically, a Type VI process involves from 5-10% of a planners' time for a year.

Council President Snapp opened the public hearing.

Christopher Grannis read a letter from Dr. Robert Gibb in opposition to the project stating: this was a bad project when permitted in 2006 and will be worse with the proposed rezone, there would be insufficient emergency access; the proposal would constitute a major fire hazards to future inhabitants; and the I-5 Fairhaven Parkway intersection, already classified Level F, would be further compromised. If approval is to be considered, access by a first class road capable of handling the fire department’s largest fire fighting vehicles to Samish Way must be a requirement.

Matt Christman has concerns regarding access for emergency vehicles in a cul de sac-style development with this much density. This amount of density, in what is traditionally a single family residential area, may set a precedent and he feels this may be misplaced with where the city wants its’ density. If this were to be docketed, which he opposes, he feels there might be the possibility of putting the density in some of the area that’s on the freeway side in exchange for vacating some of the areas down in the ravine that might have an impact on the creek.

Jim Spike asked for clarification on the increase in the number of structures from current zoning.

Mr. Aucutt replied that the number could increase to approximately 500 structures.

Mr. Spike expressed concerns on the impacts on his neighborhood including impacts on Padden Creek and traffic on Fairhaven Parkway. He hopes the developer will really consider what can conceivably go on this property.

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

Council Member Weiss would like time to deliberate on the public testimony and delay consideration of docketing to the next council meeting.

Council and staff discussed timing and process. Areas of concern that were raised included: the impacts on the rest of the area; the challenges of the site including soil type, elevation changes, the site has been heavily logged, and there is a lot of sandstone rock.

Council Member Lilliquist would like to consider, independently, the proposed density changes from single family clustered to multi-family.

Regarding concerns and questions about fire hazards, Jeff Thomas, Interim Planning Director explained that if the proposal is docketed, and a completed application is submitted, fire capacity is dealt with at the beginning of the process.


PROPOSAL #11-P2. HAPPY VALLEY AND FAIRHAVEN NEIGHBORHOODS
(Area 5) Comprehensive Plan amendment, rezone and potential boundary change. Proposal would rezone .5 acre property from residential single to neighborhood commercial.

Greg Aucutt, Senior Planner projected a map and described the property and proposed boundary changes. Staff and Planning Commission recommend docketing. Mr. Aucutt noted that the change in zoning and possible boundary changes could be considered separately.

Council Member Lilliquist asked if there would be an advantage to docketing this independently as opposed to rolling it into the ongoing Fairhaven Neighborhood Plan update process.

Staff explained that the applicant may want to address that and added that this will be a very large site for this area of town and it is important to look at the entire site and work with the applicants separately from the neighborhood planning.

Don Kehrer, Planning Consultant representing Haggen, explained that Haggen purchased the store in 2004 and has been acquiring property behind the store, recognizing that there would be a need to make improvements to the site. The store, on the existing site, cannot grow as the community grows. The applicant feels the timing is right to bring the proposal for creating a site expansion of the grocery store and getting the review of that incorporated into the neighborhood planning process. The Fairhaven Neighbors have incorporated into their draft plan the notion of having the Haggen site increased and brought forward for consideration. Haggen would like to have some certainty about future planning. One of the ways to do that is to participate in the process, go through community review and get the plan updated and get specific language, guidelines and policies in the plan that reference how the community and the city want the property treated. Haggen will need to make some decisions on how they want to deal with the properties they have purchased. Haggen is very interested in creating a site for a sustainable market and would like the opportunity to work with the city and the community to create a plan for the site through both the neighborhood planning process and the urban village plan process and to come out at the end of the day with something that the majority of the folks are happy with. Having this as a separate application while recognizing that this is part and parcel of the overall Fairhaven planning process is a direction that would get answers and get the dialogue going about what should happen.

Council Member Weiss asked Mr. Kehrer if they are hoping for approval prior to the final approval of the Fairhaven Urban Village Master Plan.

Don Kehrer responded “No, not necessarily.” However, they do not think it is appropriate to wait for the urban village planning process before bringing this issue forward. They hope there will be some language included in the Fairhaven Plan that would direct or inform the creation of the urban village plan. He added that resolution of the 13th street right-of-way will have to be an item of discussion as part of the process.

Council President Snapp opened the public hearing.

Barbara Perry said the Happy Valley Neighborhood Plan was specifically drawn up with boundaries so the commercial district would not intrude on the residential area. This area near the Firehouse Café [Firehouse Performing Arts Center] is part of the buffer zone established by the Happy Valley Neighborhood Association between the Fairhaven commercial area and Happy Valley residential. When Haggen purchased the houses in this area, designed to be the buffer, many Happy Valley residents were concerned about possibly losing the buffer zone. She said Haggen wants to use or buy the 13th Street border to enlarge the store and attach it to the buffer zone. She suggested possible compromises as: let the city sell/trade and/or give the street to Haggen with the condition that Haggen maintain or give the residential area they purchased on 14th Street between Larrabee and McKenzie to the city; as stipulated in the Happy Valley Neighborhood Plan, the city could turn the area into a park, adding to the park-like area behind the Firehouse Café and a buffer between the zones would be maintained. She suggested incentives be presented so that Haggen might put more trees in their parking lot, install rain collectors and other environmentally wise choices. Additionally, she hopes that Haggen will have a height requirement in keeping with the area. She anticipates that the city council members will realize the potential of such an agreement and not docket the rezoning of this residential area of the Happy Valley Neighborhood.

Jim Spike appreciates the opportunity for this discussion. This buffer is important and he feels this property should remain with the boundaries it has, with the zoning that it has and Haggen should work with a 13th Street vacation and stay within the 2A Commercial district.

Vince Biciunas said the Fairhaven Neighborhood Association supports the docketing of this proposal. She feels it is logical to start the discussion with the property owner who has this property that will affect both neighborhoods.

John Servais stated that he was glad to hear Greg [Aucutt] mention that there is no real need to move the border. Mr. Servais would like the border to stay exactly where it is. He encouraged council to docket this proposal. A public, community discussion structure controlled by the Planning Department is needed as this could be an opportunity that would allow Haggen to do what they want to do in a grocery store while preserving the ambiance of the neighborhood and minimizing impacts (heights and other impacts). He thinks it is important to have this docketed at the same time as the Fairhaven planning process.

Doug Robertson remembered that this was discussed 2007 and was included in one of the drafts but later excluded when it was rewritten. This is one of the things that should be in docketing right now and has to be included so there is a comprehensive look at all of Fairhaven.

Matt Christman said that this is a critical issue and is multifaceted. He cited the following:
    ˇ Haggen has a lot of room to expand without having to change to commercial in the Happy Valley area.
    ˇ The area that’s east of the boundary, as it is right now, and includes the Firehouse Performing Arts Center is part of that.
    ˇ Owners who own the block north of this area have made a commitment to keep their property(s) residential.
    ˇ The Happy Valley plan calls for keeping 14th Street a residential access.
    ˇ The Fairhaven Neighborhood Plan calls for creating a green transitional buffer around the urban village area.
    ˇ A green buffer is already starting to exist around, what will be the Fairhaven Village.
    ˇ He believes Haggen can get what it wants by extending into the commercial area that is already half that block.
    ˇ Mr. Christman suggested ways to extend the green buffers and frame the Fairhaven Village and create an intelligent, progressive model for infill without having to move commercial in that area.
    He, personally, does not think the proposal should get docketed until the Happy Valley plan can self-conceptualize itself or allow this change prior to developing a good concept of how the Fairhaven Plan should look.

    Dunham Gooding shared concerns that others have expressed at public meetings about the potential negative impacts this change could have: traffic from a bigger store; the impacts on both Fairhaven and Happy Valley; the lack of need for an expanded store; two other grocery stores in the Happy Valley Neighborhood, in addition to the Haggen at 12th Street; when a street is commercial and single family it becomes commercial because of traffic and appearances; loss of an opportunity to create a park in the area and the domino effect of commercial zoning.

    There is no plan for an expanded store so there are no merits to evaluate. He urged council to wait for three things before docketing the rezone request for this property:
      1) Wait for completion of Fairhaven Urban Village study in 2012. Once the urban village study is done, there will be a vision with specific goals and there will probably be design guidelines that will both require and help Haggen, Inc. shape a design for store expansion that will benefit the whole community.
        2) Wait on consideration of any rezone request on this property until Haggen, Inc. develops a specific plan for expansion so its' positive and negative impacts can be objectively analyzed.
          3) Wait until the rezone request is coupled with a request for vacation of 13th Street right-of-way behind the store. When Haggen, Inc. is ready to request a vacation of 13th Street behind the store, the city will be in a position to ask for something of value in return for giving such a high value piece of public property to this private corporation. Haggen cannot expand without getting possession of that city street so there is no merit in changing some of Happy Valley neighborhood to commercial before the vacation is approved.

        The Happy Valley Neighborhood Plan calls for a park on the western side of the neighborhood. Mr. Gooding said, please keep in mind how important this neighborhood area is to Happy Valley. The Happy Valley Neighborhood is the most densely populated neighborhood in the city with the high density concentrated to the north for Western Washington University and Sehome Village. Happy Valley residents treasure the single family areas that they have preserved and the proximity and clear cut distinction between Happy Valley’s single family and Fairhaven commercial. This beautiful residential street (14th Street) is important and it may be possible to develop a plan for expansion of the Haggen store that benefits both Fairhaven and Happy Valley. Until such a design is created, please do not even consider taking away a treasured residential street from the neighborhood. Haggen, itself, makes no claim to urgency and have no immediate plans for expansion; there is no assertion of non-viability of the current store and there is a statement that this expansion could take place in five or ten years if the market conditions warrant. Since there is no urgency on the applicants’ part and since there are multiple advantages to the neighborhoods in waiting, he urged the city council to not docket this proposal in 2011.

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

        Council Member Lilliquist feels that the urban village planning process for Fairhaven should consider the impact on all the adjacent areas and especially this area because it is immediately adjacent. The city has already docketed a proposal to examine this area, including the impact just outside of the neighborhood boundaries and wonders if these could be rolled together, rather than docketed separately.

        Jeff Thomas, Interim Planning Director said that if these are melded together and considered with the urban village plan, he is concerned that opportunities to deal directly with the project applicant may be limited. If this is docketed, the city should keep its options open to the last possible moment to move through this process and see what we come up with.

        Council Member Fleetwood asked about the comment that we need to have a completed plan/vision expressed against which the city can weigh the proposal.

        Mr. Thomas explained that the property owner still has existing zoning on their existing grocery site and the properties they own directly to the east of 13th. They could still come in with a proposal even if the other process does not move forward.

        Council Member Bornemann said this grocery store is extremely valuable to both Happy Valley and Fairhaven neighborhoods because of its walkability from a lot of different places while the other grocery stores are used by different segments of the population. Keeping a viable site here is important to both neighborhoods. Haggen is a sustainable, local business. There are enormous pressures on locally owned, independent grocers to stay viable. He is inclined to look at docketing this proposal so there can be a discussion.

        Council Member Weiss expressed the desire to look at the whole mixed use area around the entire Fairhaven area to see what the opportunities and challenges are and what the densities should be. That might include an economic analysis to find out what the true capacity is for a sustainable urban village and whether this parcel can contribute if it turns out that additional residential is needed.


        PROPOSAL #11-P3, FAIRHAVEN URBAN VILLAGE PROPOSAL
        Submitted by Bill Geyer, on behalf of the Old Fairhaven Village Association. The request is to amend the Fairhaven Neighborhood Plan to include an Urban Village Master Planning process in 2011. This includes Comprehensive Plan amendments, potential rezones, creating an Urban Village Master Plan, reviewing existing development regulations and design criteria.

        Greg Aucutt, Senior Planner, explained that staff concurred that an update to the Fairhaven Neighborhood Plan and an Urban Village Master Plan for the commercial areas of Fairhaven are needed. A work program has been generated with an estimate of resources that would allow staff to begin work on an Urban Village Master Plan for the area in 2012, and feels that this should be a city-led process. Staff and Planning Commission concur that the work program should be followed and both recommend that this proposal should not be docketed for review in 2011.

        Doug Robertson presented on behalf of the proposal. This proposal was adopted by the Old Fairhaven Village Association. In 2007 a limited plan was docketed and then it was put on hold. In late September it was taken off hold and immediately the [Fairhaven] groups got together to start developing what would be, not a contrary plan, but something that we knew was left out of the previous discussion. This proposal is not just an urban village or a separate issue; this would have to be docketed and considered as one planning document.

        Areas of concern are:

        Zoning - 15 different zones in Fairhaven - this needs to be addressed.
        Comprehensive Plan amendment: neighborhood, open space, sewer, stormwater and infrastructure.

        Those plans were submitted as part of this proposal. The next step, if docketed, would be to present text and language to the neighborhood plan that would incorporate much of what was discussed back in 2007 and then highlight the points that have to be included in a Growth Management Act Comprehensive Plan amendment. Fairhaven is the jewel of Bellingham. If Fairhaven isn’t planned well, it will no longer be the jewel. When planning, and this is the essence of the proposal, we have to look at both the neighborhood plan and the potential urban village all at once. This meets the Growth Management Act (GMA) requirements and includes all stakeholders. The community brings a unique level of expertise and experience. They have hired professional planners and will be doing a detailed review of the documents that has not been done and the city has not had the assets to do. He said, we will bring this to the table and include a complete GMA process so that next December the city will have input from all the stakeholders and it will be a much better plan.

        Council Member Weiss observed that this is so large, it is border to border and looks like it is completely inclusive of the entire Fairhaven boundaries.

        Mr. Robertson replied that originally the idea was to come forward with an urban village plan idea that would go along with the neighborhood plan. The survey that was done by the merchants was to develop a separate Fairhaven commercial neighborhood. After reviewing it, they wanted to be inclusive and did not want to exclude the residential area from the neighborhood. But it is an urban neighborhood and it has to be zoned appropriately. He said, that is why this is just docketing - to open the dialogue. What should an urban village residential area look like? Those questions were never addressed in the initial plan that the city has now re-written twice. He asserted that this is one neighborhood - no one should be excluded and these issues have to be addressed in the Comprehensive Plan amendment process.

        Council Member Weiss asked if these projects are to be done in tandem, with the approval process happening concurrently.

        Jeff Thomas, Interim Planning Director explained that the project brief that staff developed outlined three phases. Phase 1, which has not been completed; Phase 2 would attempt to set some general policy for the neighborhood plan that would then deal with the fringe areas as appropriate and Phase 3 - the urban village plan in 2012.

        Mr. Robertson, in response to Mr. Weiss, stated that the August 12 memo identified that the neighborhood plan would be adopted this year; then in 2012 the urban village plan would occur. They were to be bifurcated by the city and that is why we are coming forward and recommend that they be considered together.

        Mr. Thomas referenced a letter submitted by Mr. Geyer this afternoon [January 24, 2011]. Staff does not necessarily disagree with what is being proposed; where the disagreement is coming in and where the staff recommendation came from (and ultimately the Planning Commission recommendation) is the process, which is being proposed by the merchants association. Part of the reason the original neighborhood plan docketing didn’t get worked on was: in part, due to resources, and, in part, because the city was trying figure out how to resolve all the tensions and differences. The Mayor, at council’s will, has activated staff so we now have an opportunity to move forward with a plan and a process. Through Phase 1 of our process we have managed to pull everyone together as stakeholders and go through and blue line the original neighborhood plan. He recommends that the staff continue down that road. There is valuable input from Bill Geyer, both stated at the Planning Commission and now provided in writing for the city council. Staff can take that valuable input into this process. The most efficient and effective way of doing this process may be to adopt everything at once in 2012. He is open to that and to making that recommendation to the Mayor and the council. By docketing separately, there are two things to consider and he does not believe this would provide a good outcome. Staff is open to working with the merchants and all the stakeholders to build the best possible process, and product, at the end of the day.

        Mr. Thomas added, that part of the reason the urban village master plan was set in the schedule for 2012 was to give the city the opportunity to find the financial resources. At the staff level, he said, they have been talking with the Public Works Parking Division and others, and may be able to shuffle things and get some of this technical review underway. A traffic study is in process and staff may be able to use that as a baseline for some work and analysis that will help out with the urban village plan. In conclusion, Mr. Thomas believes the city should move this forward as one process with all stakeholders contributing in the most efficient and effective way,

        Council President Snapp opened the public hearing.

        Larry Kimmet, Fairhaven Neighbors. He said, the Planning Commission said that the work that was done in 2007 was inadequate. Mr. Kimmet reflected that it was an inclusive process with multiple neighborhood meetings; news coverage; a questionnaire to Fairhaven property owners and businesses; extensive e-mail notifications and six special, well attended public meetings. This resulted in a 52 page planning document that covered the natural environment, capital facilities, transportation, economic development and land use. This extensive public process provided feedback from the residents who live there and who know the fine grain details of what life is like. They can provide input that planning staff may not grasp. To start a separate process now would merely add a new layer of confusion and delay, which Fairhaven has experienced for years. He supports not docketing this proposal and inviting all stakeholders to participate and follow the Planning Departments lead; to stop fighting each other and go through a city-led process.

        John Servais pointed out that one of the options that has been suggested is to go ahead with this; do the urban planning; hold back on the final vote and then the two [urban village and neighborhood planning] can be meshed together. He would like to go ahead as a community with an open and fair process where everyone can be heard under the supervision and rules of the Planning Department. The community is looking at how we can make this work in a civil manner. There are two separate visions about the commercial district: neighborhood commercial - lower buildings, wider sidewalks, less parking; vacating several streets for pedestrian walkways, etc. and the commercial district: an urban village with higher stories and residents living there. Fairhaven is a regional and interstate draw and is looking at developing a number of the things with the Port in terms of the waterfront and visiting vessels. There is everything that a fine, thriving urban village would like. We would like to find a way to have these different visions have equal footing. The Old Fairhaven Association supports docketing this proposal in 2012.

        Matt Christman is inclined to follow the staff recommendation and take the time to look at the merits of both plans.

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

        Council Member Bornemann supports staff recommendation to not docket. There are a lot of questions and a commitment to both plans would be viable. Waiting to consider the whole neighborhood plan and urban village together in 2012, when resources are available, would allow a better process to occur.


        PROPOSAL #11-S1. CENTRAL BUSINESS DISTRICT (CBD)/CITY CENTER MASTER PLAN
        Tara Sundin, Special Projects Manager presented the proposal. Staff is asking to initiate planning in the Central Business District (CBD). This would be an addendum to the CBD Neighborhood Plan. The Master Plan includes all of the area within the CBD and also touches Lettered Streets, York and other abutting neighborhoods. The City Center Master Plan has an implementation strategy that has guided staff work over the last years. The implementation strategy is at a point that staff needs the next iteration to guide its’ work in the future. When this plan was adopted both Old Town and the Waterfront Districts were identified as character areas in the City Center Master Plan. The city now has a subarea plan for Old Town and will soon have a Waterfront District subarea plan with the associated development regulations. The City Center Master Plan was adopted when Georgia Pacific was still operating. There have been significant changes that should be reflected in the CBD Plan, the Waterfront Plan and the Old Town Plan. The Bellingham Public Development Authority has been created. A number of opportunity sites that were identified in this plan have been completed such as Railroad & Holly. Others, such as the Sash & Door site, are pending. This is the scoping phase. There are minimal resources for this outside of staff time so it would not be a large consultant led project. Staff is looking at updating the master plan, which is the policy, strategy and action document - not the development regulations. The development regulations have not been identified as a barrier at this point. If there is something specific identified that is code related, staff would move that forward as an action item.

        Staff and the Planning Commission recommend docketing.

        In response to clarifications requested by council, staff responded that:
          ˇ Sound dampening regulations would be included.
          ˇ The CBD and the City Center Master Plan do not have the same boundaries; the CBD is smaller than the City Center Master Plan boundary. The City Center Master Plan boundary includes some of those areas outside (parts of the Lettered Streets, parts of Old Town and parts of York and Sehome).
          ˇ Staff would consider solutions relating to height and Floor Area Ratio (FAR). A possible solution might be to have height and/or FAR over “X” that would come before council.

        Council President Snapp opened the public hearing.
        No citizens spoke and the public hearing was closed.

        BORNEMANN / BUCHANAN moved to docket the proposals.

        Staff pointed out, with regard to economic development concerns, they have initiated discussions with developers, the finance industry and the real estate industry to look at market conditions but would seek specifics from council relating to its' expectations.

        Mr. Aucutt noted that the proposed resolution only includes the three items that are recommended for docketing.

        BORNEMANN / BUCHANAN withdrew the motion.
        WEISS / BORNEMANN moved to postpone for further discussion at Committee of the Whole worksession on February 7, 2011 with consideration of resolution at evening meeting.
        MOTION CARRIED 7-0.



        REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

        COUNCIL STANDING COMMITTEE MEETINGS:
        FINANCE & PERSONNEL
        MEMBERS: CHAIR, MICHAEL LILLIQUIST; BARRY BUCHANAN; SETH FLEETWOOD


        AB19082 1. BUDGET AMENDMENT ORDINANCE FOR APPROVAL OF A 3-YEAR LIMITED TERM PROJECT ENGINEER POSITION

        AN ORDINANCE RELATING TO THE 2011 BUDGET ADDING ONE NEW LIMITED TERM PROJECT ENGINEER POSITION IN THE PUBLIC WORKS ENGINEERING GROUP, THE SOURCE OF FUNDS WILL BE ESTIMATED ENDING UNDESIGNATED RESERVES IN THE STREET FUND.”

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


        AB19083 2. REVIEW ISSUANCE OF QUALIFIED ENERGY CONSERVATION BONDS TO PAY FOR CAPITAL MAINTENANCE PROJECTS IDENTIFIED BY ENERGY AUDIT OF CITY FACILITIES

        LILLIQUIST / BORNEMANN moved to direct staff to hire Bond counsel and Bond Underwriters and to bring back a budget ordinance for council’s consideration. MOTION CARRIED 7-0.

        AB19084 3. ANNUAL REVIEW OF INVESTMENT POLICY

        No changes were recommended by staff or council. Information only.


        WATERFRONT DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE
        MEMBERS: CHAIR, TERRY BORNEMANN; JACK WEISS; BARRY BUCHANAN; GENE KNUTSON

        AB19085 1. WATERFRONT REDEVELOPMENT ENVIRONMENTAL CLEAN UP

        Information only.


        TRANSPORTATION
        MEMBERS: CHAIR, TERRY BORNEMANN; MICHAEL LILLIQUIST; JACK WEISS

        AB19041 1. AN ORDINANCE TO ADOPT AMENDMENTS TO BMC CHAPTER 19.06 “TRANSPORTATION IMPACT FEES” TO ALLOW VEHICLE TRIP TIF REDUCTION CREDITS OF UP TO 50% IN URBAN VILLAGES

        See Final Consideration of Ordinances.


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

        None submitted at evening meeting.

                2. OLD/NEW BUSINESS

        Council President Snapp reported on the Council Retreat held January 22, 2010.

        Council Member Weiss proposed that an ordinance be written with regard to removal of snow on sidewalks and public rights-of-way.

        Council Member Lilliquist is working on two resolutions endorsing increased affordable housing and availability of housing to be considered on February 7, 2011.


        EXECUTIVE SESSION –Report and action only.
          1. POTENTIAL PROPERTY ACQUISITION: Staff provided an update on a potential property acquisition. No action taken.

          2. LITIGATION: Whitworth Park v. City of Bellingham: Staff provided an update on a litigation matter. Direction was given. No action taken.

          3. LITIGATION: Squalicum Ridge Road Appeal: Staff provided an update on a litigation matter. Direction was given. No action taken.

          4. POTENTIAL LITIGATION: Staff provided information on a potential litigation matter. Direction provided. No action taken.


        MAYOR'S REPORT

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

        AB19086 2. MAYOR’S APPOINTMENT OF WILLIAM LANGLEY TO THE PARKS AND RECREATION 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.

        AB19087 1. AUTHORIZATION OF CHECK ISSUE FOR ACCOUNTS PAYABLE FROM DECEMBER 31, 2010 TO JANUARY 7, 2011

        AB19088 2. AUTHORIZATION OF CHECK ISSUE FOR PAYROLL FROM DECEMBER 16, 2010 TO DECEMBER 31, 2010

        KNUTSON / BORNEMANN moved to approve the Consent Agenda in its entirety. MOTION CARRIED 7-0.


        FINAL CONSIDERATION OF ORDINANCES

        AB19041 1. AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF BELLINGHAM AMENDING BELLINGHAM MUNICIPAL CODE (BMC) SECTIONS 19.06.030 C. AND 19.06.040 E. TO ALLOW VEHICLE TRIP REDUCTION CREDITS DESIGNED TO LOWER TRANSPORTATION IMPACT FEES IN MASTER PLANNED URBAN VILLAGES

        KNUTSON / BORNEMANN 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, SNAPP
        NAYS: LILLIQUIST, WEISS
        ABSTENTIONS:

        MOTION CARRIED 5-2 and was thereafter named Ordinance #2011-01-003




        ADJOURNMENT
        There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 10:07 p.m.

        Stan Snapp, Council President

        ATTEST: Linda D. Anderson City Clerk Representative
        APPROVED: 02/07/2011



        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.

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