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You are here: Home) Government) Council) Meeting Materials) August 12, 2013


RECORD OF PROCEEDING OF CITY COUNCIL

CITY OF BELLINGHAM, WASHINGTON


COUNCIL CHAMBERS, CITY HALL
Monday, August 12, 2013, 07:00 PM
Book: 67, Page: 1


REGULAR MEETING


Called To Order The meeting was called to order by Council President Seth Fleetwood who led the Pledge of Allegiance.

Roll Call
Present:
    Gene Knutson, Council Member, Second Ward
    Cathy Lehman, 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:
    Jack Weiss
    Council Member
    First Ward

ANNOUNCEMENT(S)
    The Council Office will be closed the week of August 19 to August 23. Council Members can be contacted directly during this time. Contact information is available on the City's website, in the kiosk in City Hall or by calling the City's main number, 778-8000.

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

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

None submitted.


15 - MINUTE PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD

Wendy Harris spoke in opposition to the Memorandum of Agreements with the City of Lynden and the Public Utilities District #1 [AB 20084 & 20083, respectively]. She then asked that the council dedicate one of their worksessions, regarding the waterfront, solely to habitat and connectivity, which has to be done at the master planning stage.

Marian Beddill does not approve of the Memorandum of Agreements with the City of Lynden and the Public Utilities District #1 [AB 20084 & 20083, respectively]. She feels there should be substantial discussion and understanding.

Arthur West agreed with Ms. Harris regarding waterfront habitat and connectivity. He said the recreational pathway costing $250,000 around a contaminated pool (ASB) doesn't make sense. The city has a higher duty to its citizens to make sure they are not exposed to these chemicals.

Jasine Cline said pulling more water from the Nooksack River affects fish. He has concerns about the economics, purpose, treaty rights and possible litigation. The city should consult with the Nooksack and Lummi [Tribes]and Whatcom County. [AB 20083 and AB 20084].

Terrie Wechsler referenced AB 20084 and said there are nebulous, undefined terms in paragraph 3.2. He asked that council not do anything until there is an explanation of what it means - what it means today and 20 years from now.


PUBLIC HEARING(S)

AB20043 1. Recently adopted Emergency Ordinance imposing a moratorium on the establishment of facilities producing, processing and retailing recreational marijuana [Ordinance #2013-07-047, passed July 1, 2013]

Public hearing held concurrently with AB20044. See council action under AB20087


AB20044 2. Recently adopted Emergency Ordinance establishing interim zoning for the cultivation of medical marijuana for personal use and in collective gardens [Ordinance #2013-07-048, passed July 1, 2013]

Public hearing held concurrently with AB20043. See council action under AB20087

Alan Marriner, Assistant City Attorney explained that the council has three options with regard to the two emergency ordinances that were passed on July 1, 2013: to repeal, modify or leave in place.

Staff has drafted two interim zoning ordinances for consideration [AB 20087]. Either, if passed, would replace the current moratorium on recreational marijuana. The draft ordinance starting on p. 66 of the agenda packet allows production, processing and retailing of recreational marijuana in the city’s industrial zones. The draft ordinance starting on p. 76 of the agenda packet is exactly the same as the first ordinance except that it allows the retailing of recreational marijuana in both industrial and commercial zones.

Beginning September 16th; the Liquor Control Board intends to begin accepting license applications for 30 days, for the production, processing or retailing of recreational marijuana.

Staff's recommendation at the conclusion of the public hearing is to leave the interim zoning ordinance for medical marijuana in place, which allows collective gardens in the city's industrial zones and also allows personal cultivation in all areas zoned single family residential.

The other recommendation of staff is that for recreational marijuana, council approve one of the two proposed emergency ordinances presented with AB 20087 to align the city with the timeline given by the Liquor Control Board so that individuals who want to apply for licenses for recreational marijuana can identify a site and do so beginning September 16th.

If council adopts either version of the new emergency ordinance, it will take affect immediately and will require another public hearing within 60 days.

The two that are in place, and any the council may adopt to deal with the recreational marijuana issue are temporary and will remain in place no longer than 12 months or until the city adopts its final rules

Council President Fleetwood opened the public hearing.

J Riley Sweeney supports lifting the temporary moratorium. He supports the ordinance that includes industrial and commercial zones because he feels that more small businesses located throughout the city will mean less driving and therefore, less DUI’s.

John Hill has used an oral cannabis concentrate successfully for a medical condition. He is concerned that the allowance of 50 square feet and 1,000 watts for medical growth is not enough as it would ultimately produce about 2.3 gms per day, which would hardly be enough ease the symptoms. If the city wants to make rules with a mutual benefit, staff needs to talk to people who are growing marijuana and understand what takes place.

Lisa McShane addressed the rules for recreational marijuana and strongly supports retail in commercial zones and processing in industrial areas. Regarding growing both medical and recreational marijuana - it is a commercial agricultural activity and does not belong in neighborhoods or residential buildings, it belongs on larger parcels. It uses a tremendous amount of energy and she asked to imagine if Washington were to pave the way for growing marijuana by growing outdoors or using solar power.

Jackie Marcucci, President, Waldron/Young Condo Association. She advocated for strong zoning laws for medical marijuana growing operations and dispensaries. Multi-residential units are not an appropriate place for growing operations due to the strong, pervasive odor that impacts the neighbors. She urged the council to adopt rules that take the following into account: 1,000’ from schools/libraries and not located in single family, multi-family and neighborhood zones. Grow operations are better left in agricultural or industrial zones.

John Novak uses medical marijuana for a medical condition. He has several concerns as to having a collective gardens for both recreational and medical marijuana; the implications of growing outdoors and cross-pollination. For humanitarian reasons he asked that the city pull the moratorium on the medical marijuana.

Steve Sarich, Executive Director, Cannabis Action Coalition would like to sit down with staff and work out reasonable, common sense kinds of regulations. The city has ignored the inevitable impact on sick and dying patients by making decisions and talking about studies while all you’re doing is limiting safe access to patients here in Bellingham. He said they will not put up with it and they will fight the city to the death on this.

Sara Sutton, medical marijuana patient asked that the medical marijuana zoning ordinance be repealed. She said:
  • The Bellingham medical marijuana community is operating legally and responsibly under 69.51A; helping to reduce the illegal market and improving the safety of the community;
  • if public safety is a concern then you are picking on the wrong people - you could address domestic violence, child molestation or the heroin epidemic all plaguing the community and yet you do nothing about those;
  • there has never been a recorded public safety issue or incident caused by any of the medical marijuana collectives in Bellingham
  • there is no justification for this ordinance;
  • all you’re doing is trying to create obstacles for collective members and patients;
  • stay out of the medical marijuana sector entirely and respect 69.51A.
Arthur West discussed government by emergency and government favoring one type of business over another. He said the government continues to take a series of emergency actions for the purpose of taking action without allowing reasonable citizen input. He referenced the case of Sorensen vs. the City of Bellingham. The City is ignoring the medical marijuana law that allows people to associate freely for the purpose of maintaining collective gardens. He referenced Biggers vs. City of Bainbridge Island and comments to the Liquor Control Board by the City of Ruston. The city should retract the ill-considered emergency moratorium and instead act to ensure that the Liquor Control Board performs its duty to assess the reasonable impacts of I-502.

Jackie Pettit said medical marijuana patients are finding effective relief from serious medical and chronic conditions using established legal providers. She feels it is unfair to ask established providers to move into industrial areas. The federal government does not tax prescription drugs and this should not be taxed. She asked for thoughtful consideration and that the city withdraw the moratorium and change its approach to zoning.

Anne-Marie Faiola supports access to medically prescribed marijuana. It’s important that the City of Bellingham adopt zoning regulations to codify where such businesses and collective gardens can and should exist. Industrial or agricultural zones make sense for this agricultural practice. The ambiguity and the grey area in the law has led to a medical marijuana growing and distribution operation in Fairhaven located in a residential condo building. Despite the existence of carbon filters residents have been deeply disturbed by the smell when the plants are in bloom. The odor is likely to impact the sheetrock and the carpet and is very hard to remove. She urged the City Council to adopt proposed zoning regulations that put medical marijuana growing and distribution operations 1,000’ away from schools, libraries and transportation hubs and ask that they not be allowed in multi-family residential units or neighborhoods zoned solely as residential, in order to reduce the impacts.

Fred Bovenkamp, owns a condominium unit in the Young Building directly above a dispensary. His tenant has said the odor is intense and intolerable and that he can not live there. Mr. Bovenkamp explained the financial hardship if he can't lease out his condominium unit and the property value of the unit is going to plummet if nobody is going to want to live there. Clearly this is an issue of land use and not the legalities or merits of marijuana. This is an agricultural use and it’s ludicrous to have an agricultural use in a mixed use retail environment. He encouraged the council to adopt land uses that are appropriate.

Kevyn Jacobs is a medical marijuana patient and appreciates a dispensary in the downtown commercial business district. Both medical and recreational distribution activities should be zoned for commercial zoning in the downtown area

Chris Ramsey is a medical cannabis patient with multiple physical problems and has found much support and comfort from the community. With the ordinance that the city is trying to pass, the city is taking sick and hurting patients and removing them from that comfort zone. The ordinance addresses the concern for public safety and yet, not one medical cannabis facility has ever been robbed in the city and not one patient has had an act of violence committed on them for their medicine. He is left wondering where the public safety concerns are coming from.

Theresa Meurs supports medical marijuana but said she was shocked at the price, how easy it is to get on Craig’s List, and how easy it is to get a license. She has done steet outreach for 10 years and sees what’s happening in downtown Bellingham. She said, you have to think about where you’re going to put retail for recreational marijuana or do you want to continue to change the look of Holly and Railroad and all those streets. Be cautious and please put it, including the retail sales, in the industrial and agricultural areas.

Joe Cameron is a medical marijuana patient on the advice of his doctor. This, he said, is real medicine for real patients with real needs. He likes the fact that he has safe access right downtown.

Jennifer Detmering, employee, Kind Green Botanical Collective in Fairhaven. She was arrested on March 15, 2012 when Bellingham City Police raided every collective garden access point within the city limits. Because of the problem at the condo residence the collective has moved the garden into the industrial zone and offered every resident means with which to control the smell and the damage done to their condos. She strongly urged the City Council to adopt zoning regulations similar to those in Seattle. She understands that there must be a balance between public access to medical cannabis and public safety but the proposed interim rules could use further drafting and consideration. She feels a good compromise would be to allow collective garden access points at least near the concentrations of where patients live. Limiting patients to 1,250 watts for their own plants will barely produce quality medicine of their own, which results in the need to participate at a collective garden more frequently. Additionally, she asked that the city drop the charges against her. She said, you cannot allow recreational marijuana, and prosecute medical cannabis patients. Although the city may be okay with following the state laws, the prosecutor’s office is not. She urged the City and prosecutors office to align for the medical cannabis patients.

Jacob Lamont suggested that (like Seattle) the city take a look at vertical growing. Seattle has allowed vertical growing in buildings and requires proper filtering, insulation, moisture and sound barriers. The best way to grow is in an encapsulated area and it does take a lot of power. He described some of the medicinal benefits of marijuana and how it works in the body. Patients in this community need access to medical marijuana.

Josselyn Winslow lives in a mixed use condominium, residential/commercial. She described the smell that permeated the building. She lives in a ‘no smoking in public areas’ building and does not want to live with marijuana smells in her own home. She asked that the city not allow marijuana production, processing or retailing in commercial/residential mixed use spaces.

Dan McShane supports the emergency moratorium and interim zoning on medical marijuana actions taken on July 1st. These will allow the city time for consideration. He suggested that for recreational marijuana it’s okay to err on the safe side. The medical marijuana is another issue. The interim proposal is not a final solution but gives the city time to work through the details based on public testimony, information gathering and then making decisions that are reasonable.

Michael Pickens, Executive Director, Libertarian Party of Washington discussed the definition of liberty. He does not believe the city needs a moratorium on the use or production of cannabis as long as the people who are producing it and using it are not hurting anyone else.

Ed Stremwell, Analytical 360, a cannabis analysis laboratory. There is a huge demand for testing in Bellingham and there is a very large patient base. He applauded the reconsideration of the moratorium. He hopes, when setting the new rules, the city will consider protecting patient access as recreational stores won’t provide the proper medicines for patients.

Martin O. Nickerson, Sr. facilitates for the sickest of the sick patients. He described several patients, and provided documentation, who have been helped by medical cannabis.

Clayton Petree referenced the maps attached to the draft ordinances with AB 20087. The two maps appear the same but they are different and he believes there should be a third map that shows the mixed use areas. The City may want to separate out retail sales from production, growing and packaging. Once the marijuana is packaged it’s probably not going to have a strong odor and the city might want to treat the retail places differently from the growing places . The more restrictions around this issue, the more there will be grey market uses with illegal transactions in residential areas as opposed to having a legal, regulated and taxed business.

Wendy Harris said in looking at the industrial and commercial zoned areas this zoning is creating a habitat island. The area in the middle that has Bakerview is surrounded by commercial and industrial use. This is indicative of the problem in general with the city’s zoning which is, habitat conservation areas not being considered along with the Critical Area Ordinance. The city needs a conservation plan where these habitat corridors are mapped out before it goes forward with more zoning and development so that it can make sure that it is not developing into these areas. Once those areas are gone, we cannot get them back.

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


AB20087 moved from Committee of the Whole:

AB20087 1. Consideration of an Emergency Interim Zoning Ordinance to replace the recently adopted moratorium on the establishment of facilities producing, processing and retailing recreational marijuana

“AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF BELLINGHAM, WASHINGTON, RELATING TO LAND USE AND ZONING; DECLARING AN EMERGENCY; ADOPTING INTERIM ZONING REGULATIONS FOR THE SITING, ESTABLISHMENT AND OPERATION OF ANY STRUCTURES OR USES RELATING TO THE PRODUCTION, PROCESSING, OR RETAILING OF RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA (SPECIFICALLY EXCLUDING MEDICAL MARIJUANA OR MEDICAL CANNABIS); AND SETTING TWELVE MONTHS AS THE EFFECTIVE PERIOD OF THE INTERIM ZONING TO ALLOW CITIZENS TO APPLY FOR LICENSES FROM THE WASHINGTON STATE LIQUOR CONTROL BOARD TO PRODUCE, PROCESS OR RETAIL RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA IN THE CITY WHILE THE CITY STUDIES THE LAND USE IMPACTS OF SUCH USES.”

LILLIQUIST / KNUTSON moved final approval of Emergency Ordinance #2013-08-061 located on page 76 of agenda packet. MOTION CARRIED 6-0.

BORNEMANN / KNUTSON moved to send the medical marijuana issue to the Planning Committee for further study at a later date. MOTION CARRIED 6-0.

BREAK
Council President Fleetwood called the meeting back to order at 9:23 p.m.

REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

Public Works / Public Safety
Stan Snapp, Chair
Terry Bornemann; Gene Knutson

AB20082 1. Rejection of Bid for 2013 Crack Seal Program, Bid #49B-2013

SNAPP / KNUTSON moved to deny bid #49B-2013 for 2013 Crack Seal Program. MOTION CARRIED 6-0.


AB20083 2. Memorandum of Agreement with Public Utility District #1 of Whatcom County regarding use of Water Diversion/Intake Facility

SNAPP / KNUTSON moved to authorize the Mayor to enter into a contract with Public Utility District #1 of Whatcom County regarding use of Water Diversion/Intake Facility. No action taken. After a brief discussion with staff, the following motion was made:
FLEETWOOD / LILLIQUIST moved to postpone to Committee of the Whole on September 16, 2013. MOTION CARRIED 5-1, KNUTSON opposed.


AB20084 3. Memorandum of Agreement with City of Lynden regarding use of Water Diversion/Intake Facility

FLEETWOOD / LILLIQUIST moved to postpone to Committee of the Whole on September 16, 2013. MOTION CARRIED 5-1, KNUTSON opposed.


AB19985 4. Commercial Street Theatre Lease

Council Members Lilliquist, Lehman and Bornemann expressed the opinion that they would find it difficult to subsidize this project further.

KNUTSON / SNAPP moved to amend the lease to extend for an additional six (6) months. MOTION FAILED 3-3, LILLIQUIST, LEHMAN, BORNEMANN opposed.

Peter Ruffatto, City Attorney said that staff will proceed to implement the termination provision of the lease.


AB20085 5. Downtown parking goals and policies

Presentation made during committee. Information only.

Waterfront/Downtown Development
Terry Bornemann, Chair
Cathy Lehman; Jack Weiss

AB20063 1. A worksession to begin committee review of the Waterfront District Sub-area plan and related documents

Worksession scheduled for September 9, 2013. Council directed staff, during committee, to proceed with Option A as presented during the worksession and to prepare an overall summary of public hearing comments; affirming vision of the proposal; discussion of cleanup; discussion of parks, acreage and layout; social equity issues; update on utility master planning process and discussion with regard to climate change.


Parks and Recreation
Gene Knutson, Chair
Stan Snapp; Terry Bornemann

AB20086 1. Noise Variance for Lake Padden Golf Course Equipment Wash Bay Facilities Project

KNUTSON / SNAPP moved to approve a noise variance for Lake Padden Golf Course Equipment Wash Bay Facilities Project in fairways (Monday-Friday) from September 10 through September 30, 2013. MOTION CARRIED 6-0.

Finance and Personnel
Michael Lilliquist, Chair
Gene Knutson; Stan Snapp

AB20053 1. Business & Occupation tax exemption discussion

LILLIQUIST / KNUTSON moved to direct staff to prepare a draft ordinance reflecting the staff recommendation and to schedule a public hearing. MOTION CARRIED 6-0.


Committee Of The Whole
Seth Fleetwood, Chair
Jack Weiss, Gene Knutson, Cathy Lehman, Stan Snapp, Michael Lilliquist, Terry Bornemann

AB20087 1. Moved to follow public hearings

          2. Approval of City Council Committee and/or Special Meeting minutes

None submitted at evening meeting.
            3. Old/New business
    None presented.


    Executive Session - Report and action only.

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

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

    3. Potential Property Acquisition: Staff provided information on a potential property acquisition. Direction given. No action taken.

    4. Potential Property Sale: Staff provided information on a potential property sale. Direction given. No action taken.


    MAYOR'S REPORT
            1. Standing time for briefings, updates and reports to Council by the Mayor, if needed. Information only.
      Developing legislative agenda - asked council members to provide 3-5 ideas to work on by the first week of September.
      Reviewed ongoing city construction projects.

    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.

    AB20088 1. A Resolution re-authorizing Investment of City Monies in the Local Government Investment Pool and to appoint Brian Henshaw as the City's representative.

    Res.#2013-12 “A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING INVESTMENT OF CITY OF BELLINGHAM MONIES IN THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT INVESTMENT POOL.”

    AB20089 2. Budget Ordinance Reclassifying two Crime Scene Investigators to Evidence and ID Officers

    AN ORDINANCE RELATING TO THE 2013 BUDGET RECLASSIFYING TWO POSITIONS IN THE POLICE DEPARTMENT, GENERAL FUND, WHERE NO ADDITIONAL APPROPRIATION OR REALLOCATION OF EXPENDITURES IS REQUESTED.”

    AB20090 3. Authorization of checks issued for pay period July 19, 2013 through July 25, 2013

    AB20091 4. Authorization of checks issued for pay period July 26, 2013 through August 1, 2013

    KNUTSON / SNAPP moved approval of the Consent Agenda in its entirety. MOTION CARRIED 6-0.


    FINAL CONSIDERATION OF ORDINANCES

    AB20069 1. AN ORDINANCE RELATING TO THE 2013 BUDGET INCREASING REVENUE IN THE STREET FUND, PUBLIC WORKS DEPARTMENT TRANSPORTATION OPERATIONS GROUP, AS A RESULT OF A WASHINGTON STATE TRAFFIC SAFETY COMMISSION GRANT TO PROVIDE FOR THE PURCHASE OF SCHOOL ZONE FLASHING BEACONS AND APPROPRIATING $15,000.00 IN RELATED EXPENDITURES

    SNAPP / KNUTSON 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, FLEETWOOD, LEHMAN, KNUTSON, LILLIQUIST, SNAPP
    NAYS:
    ABSTENTIONS:
    EXCUSED: WEISS

    MOTION CARRIED 6-0 and was thereafter named Ordinance #2013-08-062


    AB20074 2. AN ORDINANCE RELATING TO THE 2013 BUDGET RECLASSIFYING ONE POSITION IN THE POLICE DEPARTMENT, GENERAL FUND, WHERE NO ADDITIONAL APPROPRIATION OR REALLOCATION OF EXPENDITURES IS REQUIRED

    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, FLEETWOOD, LEHMAN, KNUTSON, LILLIQUIST, SNAPP
    NAYS:
    ABSTENTIONS:
    EXCUSED: WEISS

    MOTION CARRIED 6-0 and was thereafter named Ordinance #2013-08-063


    AB20075 3. AN ORDINANCE RELATING TO THE 2013 BUDGET RECLASSIFYING ONE POSITION IN THE PUBLIC WORKS DEPARTMENT, STREET FUND, WHERE NO ADDITIONAL APPROPRIATION OR REALLOCATION OF EXPENDITURES IS REQUIRED

    SNAPP / LILLIQUIST 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, FLEETWOOD, LEHMAN, KNUTSON, LILLIQUIST, SNAPP
    NAYS:
    ABSTENTIONS:
    EXCUSED: WEISS

    MOTION CARRIED 6-0 and was thereafter named Ordinance #2013-08-064




    ADJOURNMENT
    There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 10:28 p.m.
    Seth Fleetwood, Council President

    ATTEST: Linda D. Anderson City Clerk Representative
    APPROVED: 09/16/2013



    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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