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WWU Presents Final Plan for Ferndale City Center

Western Washington University (in collaboration with the City of Ferndale) held a Visioning Workshop for the Downtown area in January. The students received input from the community related to downtown uses, building design, environmental considerations, transportation options, trails and more. Since this meeting the students have worked hard to propose concepts and solutions to improve the Downtown area.

The most recent WWU course narrowed down the concepts into one Downtown Master plan. The final version is almost ready to share!

The final presentation will occur on June 5th  at 6PM in the Pioneer Pavilion. All are encouraged to attend and to provide feedback.

For more information, please call Community Development Director Haylie Miller at (360) 685-2367.

Police Arrest Assistant Wrestling Coach for Sexual Assault

On May 23rd, 2019, the Ferndale Police Department received a report regarding an allegation of a sexual relationship between at 15-year-old female student from Ferndale High School and a 20-year-old adult male who works part-time as a wrestling coach for the Ferndale School District.

During the investigation, in addition to the original victim, two other victims came forward.  At this point in the investigation there is no indication that any of the incidents occurred on school grounds.

The 20-year-old part-time coach was identified as Dalton J Cristelli (04/26/1999) of Ferndale, Washington.  He was contacted and booked into Whatcom County Jail. He is no longer employed by the Ferndale School District.

Ferndale Police Department established probable cause for the following charges:

Rape of a Child in the 3rd Degree:  In March of 2019 Cristelli (age 19 at the time) had sexual intercourse with a 15-year-old female student.  The difference in age between the two is over 48 months.

Rape in the 3rd Degree:  In the spring of 2016, Cristelli had non-consensual sexual intercourse with a female who was the age of 15 or 16 at the time. 

Rape in the 2nd Degree:  Approximately 3 to 5 years ago, Cristelli had sexual intercourse with a female victim who was incapable of consent.

This is an ongoing investigation.  Due to the nature of the crime and the age of the victims at the time of the incidents, no further information is expected to be released.

All press inquiries contact Communications Officer Riley Sweeney (360) 685-2353 or rileysweeney@cityofferndale.org

Notice of a Potential Quorum

Notice is hereby given that one or more members of the Ferndale City Council may attend the following meeting:

Town Meeting – WWU Presentation: Ferndale City Center Final Plan

Wednesday, June 5, 2019, 6:00 p.m.

Pioneer Pavilion 

2007 Cherry Street  Ferndale, WA

The purpose of the meeting is to present WWU students’ final City Center plan, which incorporates the community input received during the January 23, 2019 Town Meeting.

This is an Open Public Meeting as outlined by the Open Public Meetings Act, and members of the public are invited to attend and observe.

        Susan Duncan, City Clerk

        City of Ferndale

        May 30, 2019

Five Ways to Save Water This Summer

All reports point towards it being a scorching hot summer this year which can have a drastic impact on the local water supply. To help ensure that everyone has the water they need throughout the dry season, the City is implementing a mandatory water conservation schedule based on street address, and limiting it to the hours of 5pm-10am for a period no longer than 30 minutes. Drip irrigation systems, flower and vegetable gardens, potted plants, hanging baskets and newly installed landscaping are all exempt from the restrictions.

For more details on the Water Conservation Schedule, click here.

Following this schedule will help you save money on your water bill, reduce the impact on our environment and help ensure our water system runs strong throughout the season. But that’s not the only way to save water this summer. Here are some other ideas to get you thinking:

1) Install a rain barrel. Rain barrels are great ways to capture water for use on plants and lawns and they are easy to use. For more information on rain barrels, check out www.cityofferndale.org/rainbarrels

2) Become a leak detective. Swing by city hall and pick up your free leaky toilet detection kit. A leaky toilet can add up to an expensive utility bill— a little bit of searching can save you a bundle of money.

3) Consider a new nozzle or faucet. A more efficient faucet, showerhead or garden hose nozzle can give you the same pressure with a fraction of the water use. Swing by your favorite Ferndale hardware store and for a few bucks, you can pick up just what you need.

4) Plant native plants. As tempting as those exotic flowers can be, a native plant garden uses less water and is more resistant to those sudden Pacific Northwest weather weirdness. Check out the WA Native Plant Society (www.wnps.org) for more details.

5) Gold is the new green for lawns. This summer, consider letting your lawn fade to gold. It will return come Spring and in the meantime, experience the cycle of the seasons as your lawn showcases its golden hues during the summer.

Council Meeting Summary for May 20th, 2019

Agenda Materials can be found here

City Council Agenda Follow-Up May 20, 2019  
APPROVAL OF AGENDA Mayor Mutchler announced that the scheduled Executive Session was cancelled. Councilmember Taylor moved, and Councilmember Xczar seconded, to approve the agenda as amended. MOTION CARRIED 5-0. APPROVED AS AMENDED
PUBLIC COMMENT INFO ONLY
CONSENT AGENDA Councilmember K. Hansen moved, and Councilmember G. Hansen seconded, to approve the consent agenda.  MOTION CARRIED 5-0.   APPROVED
SELECTION OF MAYOR PRO TEMPORE With the resignation of Councilmember Cathy Watson, a new Mayor Pro Tem is required to be appointed to serve in the event of the Mayor’s absence. Councilmember Olson nominated Greg Hansen. Councilmember Kate Hansen nominated herself, explaining that she felt she was the best choice as she is the only Councilmember who is not running for office in the current election. Councilmember Kate Hansen was elected Mayor Pro Tem with 4 votes.  (K. Hansen, Xczar, Taylor and G. Hansen)     KATE HANSEN SELECTED AS MAYOR PRO-TEM    
PRESENTATION: Susan Marks, Commission on Sexual and Domestic Violence The Commission on Sexual & Domestic Violence was formed in 1998 by a joint resolution between Whatcom County and the City of Bellingham. It is funded by the City of Ferndale, Whatcom County, and the City of Bellingham as well as grants from the US Department of Justice. Current projects: 1.) An audit was conducted to determine how the County legal system is responding to sexual assault and recommendations were made based on the findings of the audit. 2.) Youth Summit for high school youth groups with adult mentors, the “Big Consent Event” was held on May 1 with 145 participants. Upcoming project: Restorative Justice Learning Series, to be co-hosted with the Whatcom Dispute Resolution Center.         INFO ONLY
INTRODUCTION: SCOPE Officer Chief of Police Kevin Turner introduced new SCOPE (Senior Citizens On Patrol Enhancement) Officer Judee Lepella. Volunteer SCOPE Officers are responsible for enforcing ADA parking, operating the radar reader board, providing security at Ferndale Municipal Court, and providing security home checks when homeowners are on vacation.     INFO ONLY
PUBLIC HEARING: Kope Road Vacation Request Mayor Mutchler read the following statement: “Before we start this topic, I would like to begin by acknowledging that we gather today on the ancestral homeland of the Coast Salish Peoples, who have lived in the Salish Sea basin, throughout the San Juan Island and the North Cascades watershed, from time immemorial. We have the deepest respect and gratitude for our indigenous neighbors, the Lummi Nation and Nooksack Tribe, as original stewards of our shared land and waterways.” On April 5, 2019 the Lummi Nation submitted an application for the City to vacate a portion of Kope Road in order for them to develop their property south of Slater Road and west of Rural Avenue. The application addresses the criteria required by Ferndale Municipal Code 12.37.040. A public hearing was held as required by the Ferndale Municipal Code; however, the Public Works Director recommended not voting on the vacation ordinance until the property appraisal can be completed.  Staff recommended bringing the item back to Council on June 17, 2019, which will allow time to complete the appraisal. By general consensus, Council directed staff to proceed with the appraisal, and schedule the item for the June 17, 2019 regular meeting.       DIRECTION PROVIDED TO STAFF
PUBLIC HEARING: Thornton Street Overpass Project Eminent Domain Ordinance The ordinance provides for the use of eminent domain, if necessary, to acquire property rights that are needed for the construction of the Thornton Street Overpass. Although the City has made good faith efforts to acquire the necessary easement rights from the owners through active negotiations, a final agreement has not yet been reached for some of the properties. In order to meet the City’s construction schedule, it is important that the City, at minimum, obtain possession and use of the property needed for the project. Enacting eminent domain preserves both the property owners’ rights for just compensation as well as the City’s ability to move forward with the project. A public hearing was held as required. Councilmember Taylor moved, and Councilmember Xczar seconded, to approve the agenda bill.  MOTION CARRIED 5-0.           APPROVED
PUBLIC HEARING: RMH Zone Amendments The RMH (Residential Multifamily-High) Zone is intended to be the second of up to three new multifamily zones that would replace existing zoning that dates back to the 1970’s. The RMM (Residential Multifamily-Medium) Zone was adopted in 2017 and applies to properties currently zoned for multifamily development which are generally large enough to support multiple buildings. The RMH zone as proposed applies to properties currently zoned for multifamily development which are generally less than an acre in size. The Planning Commission has been working on the RMH Zone since December 2018.  A public hearing was held as required. Councilmember Xczar moved, and Councilmember K. Hansen seconded, to approve the ordinance with an amendment to Section 18.72.020, Special Setback Requirements. A 20-foot setback to a garage opening would be required when the driveway fronts a public right of way, and a 0-foot setback to a garage opening would be required when the driveway fronts a private road, shared driveway, or alley with no utility conflicts. MOTION CARRIED 5-0.             APPROVED
ADJOURNMENT The meeting was adjourned at 7:22 p.m.  

Ferndale Police Department Debuts Online Crime Map

Using the latest digital tools available, the Ferndale Police Department and the City have launched an interactive online crime map of Ferndale. For the public, this provides even greater transparency, allowing residents to explore 911 calls in their area. For the Ferndale Police Department, this provides them with a critical tool to identify hot spots for Patrol activities, and for detectives to explore a sudden crime trend and work to prevent future criminal activity.

 “This gives our officers a bird’s-eye-view of recent incidents to compliment our boots on the ground experience,” said Police Chief Kevin Turner. “If we see a sudden rash of break-ins in one specific area, we can put extra officers in that neighborhood.”

The City of Ferndale continues to set the standard for transparency and access to public information. Currently, the public can access everything from employee contracts to city credit card reports online through their public documents page. The crime map provides a fresh way for residents to access information about their community.

According to FBI statistics, in 2018 Ferndale became the 21st safest city in Washington. In the last twelve years, thanks to the tireless efforts of the Ferndale Police Department, crime has been cut by 65%.

The crime map can be accessed online by clicking here.

Now Accepting Applications for City Council Vacancies

Applications are now being accepted to fill two vacancies on the Ferndale City Council due to the resignation of two Councilmembers.

Both vacant seats will be on the November ballot as two-year, unexpired terms; therefore, those appointed will serve only until the November election has been certified, at which point those candidates who prevail in the election will take office and serve for the rest of 2019, as well as the remaining two years on the unexpired terms.

Applicants should plan to attend the June 3, 2019 regular City Council meeting, during which they will have an opportunity to introduce themselves. The selected applicants may be sworn in that evening, and will begin to serve immediately. For instructions and an application packet, please click here.

Finance Workshop May 20th, 5:30pm at Council Chambers

Curious about the city finances? City Finance Director Sirke Salminen will be hosting a series of finance workshops before city council meetings starting May 20th, at 5:30pm at the City Annex (5694 Second Avenue). These meetings will be open to the public and intended to help everyone better understand how your city manages public funds.

The workshop May 20th will focus on debt – how it is used to facilitate public projects.

The next workshop will be June 17th at 5:30pm at the City Annex and will be focused on the city budget calendar.

Stop Crime with the #9PMRoutine

We’ve had a few break-ins recently and the easiest way to stop those is the 9PM Routine. Each night, make sure you’ve got your car locked, windows shut, doors locked and the shed secure. Bring in valuables from your car or mailbox. Turn on exterior lights.

These are simple steps but can have a big impact on preventing crime. Together, we can stop crime before it starts.

For more updates and crime prevention tips, follow the Ferndale Police Department on our facebook page here.