Council Meeting Summary for Sept. 4th, 2019

Council Meeting Summary for Sept. 4th, 2019

City Council Agenda Follow-Up September 3, 2019  
5:00 p.m. FINANCIAL WORKSHOP City Administrator Jori Burnett  and Finance Director Sirke Salminen presented a background and possible funding options for new or expanded City facilities. (City Hall, Municipal Court, Council Chambers.)   INFO ONLY
APPROVAL OF AGENDA Councilmember Hansen moved, and Councilmember Taylor seconded, to approve the agenda as presented. MOTION CARRIED 7-0. APPROVED
PUBLIC COMMENT INFO ONLY
CONSENT AGENDA Councilmember Taylor moved, and Councilmember Bersch seconded, to approve the consent agenda.  MOTION CARRIED 7-0.    APPROVED
2019 PERMITS UPDATE Assistant Planner Jesse Ashbaugh presented updates on private development applications in 2019.   INFO ONLY  
RESOLUTION: Denouncing White Supremacy (Amended) On August 19th a resolution denouncing white supremacy was approved. This earlier resolution included a “hidden message” that implied a profanity. Council requested that the resolution be amended to remove this hidden message. Councilmember Bersch moved, and Councilmember Hansen seconded, to approve the resolution with modifications to the order of the “Whereas” statements. Councilmember Taylor moved, and Councilmember Bishop seconded, to amend the motion to add the following paragraph as Section 3 of the resolution: “The City of Ferndale calls upon our neighbors, businesses, religious leaders, government officials, and local law enforcement to develop strategies and actions to stop the rise of threats of violence and symbols of hate speech in our community, and to take further steps to ensure that the City of Ferndale is a place where citizens experience inclusion, acceptance, and love.” ON THE AMENDMENT: MOTION CARRIED 7-0 ON THE MAIN, AMENDED MOTION: MOTION CARRIED 7-0.             APPROVED AS AMENDED  
RESOLUTION: Declaration of Admonishment In response to a grievance filed against Councilmember Olson by a City staff member, Council has determined that Councilmember Olson has engaged in conduct of a discriminatory and harassing nature. Council has asked that a declaration of admonishment be read into the record, and that any such acts must cease. Mayor Mutchler recused himself from the discussion and Mayor Pro Tem Kate Bishop presided over this item. Mayor Pro Tem Bishop read the declaration of admonishment into the record. Councilmember Taylor moved, and Councilmember Xczar seconded, to approve the agenda bill. MOTION CARRIED 5-2, Councilmembers Jensen and Olson opposed.           APPROVED
MAYOR REPORTS/COMMENTS Information only. COUNCIL REPORTS/COMMENTS Information only. DEPARTMENT REPORTS Information only.       INFO ONLY
ADJOURNMENT The meeting was adjourned at 6:50 p.m.  

Council Meeting Summary for Aug. 5th, 2019

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                                                                                      City Council Agenda Follow-Up August 5, 2019  
5:30 p.m. Financial Workshop   INFO ONLY
APPROVAL OF AGENDA Councilmember Taylor moved, and Councilmember Jensen seconded, to approve the agenda with the following amendment: Move Item G (Old Main Discussion) to Item D1. MOTION CARRIED 7-0. APPROVED
PUBLIC COMMENT INFO ONLY
CONSENT AGENDA Councilmember Taylor moved, and Councilmember Bersch seconded, to approve the consent agenda.  MOTION CARRIED 7-0.    APPROVED
PROCLAMATION:  Community Health Week Mayor Mutchler read the proclamation acknowledging community health centers and declaring August 4 – 10 to be Community Health Week.   INFO ONLY
INTRODUCTION: Parks Intern Micah Robertson INFO ONLY
DISCUSSION: Old Main The City Council is being asked to reach a conclusion on the potential re-use of the Old Main facility on the existing Ferndale High School campus.  Old Main, together with the majority of other buildings on the high school campus, is expected to be torn down following the construction of a new high school approximately 800 feet north of the building.  The School District is in the process of developing a conceptual site plan for the new campus, and it is likely that athletic fields and/or parking will be built in the space between Old Main and the new school facilities.  The District is also working with transportation consultants to determine potential modifications to onsite parking, bus storage and loading, pedestrian access, and overall traffic patterns both on the campus and in the surrounding area.  The City’s architectural consultants have concluded that the Old Main structure is of sufficient size to accommodate City functions (City Hall, Court, Council, storage, and miscellaneous other uses) well into the foreseeable future.  The consultants have determined that the building can be renovated to achieve compliance with seismic and other requirements.  Including a 30% contingency assumption, the total estimated cost of improvements is approximately $13.3 million.  This cost is generally consistent with other development scenarios for a smaller facility evaluated by a different architectural consultant in 2017. The primary alternative scenario that has been discussed is the construction of a new co-located facility (or an expansion of existing) at the current City Hall location.  As has also been discussed, City facilities do not require proximity to a jurisdiction’s Main Street or the core of the City to function, although the symbolism of such a facility in the core may be important.  One of the main considerations for alternatives to Old Main, whether at the current site or at Pioneer Park, would be the cost increases associated with building in the floodplain.  With that factored in, the costs between all of these options are comparable.   Councilmember Jensen moved, and Councilmember Hansen seconded, to pursue the purchase/repurposing of Old Main. MOTION FAILED 0-7.                       MOTION TO REPURPOSE OLD MAIN FAILED
 PUBLIC HEARING:  Accessory Dwelling Units Ordinance In June 2017, the City Council adopted an ordinance to allow Accessory Dwelling Units. (ADUs) The ordinance required a review of the new code section by February 2020, or after 10 permits were received, whichever occurred first. The city has received its tenth application and is therefore bringing the new ordinance to Council. Prior to 2017, the City did not allow ADUs within the City limits. The ADU ordinance was ultimately approved because of increased demand within the City. ADUs are anticipated by the City’s Comprehensive Plan and are a requirement of the Growth Management Act for larger jurisdictions. Larger cities are required to adopt an ADU ordinance when their population reaches 20,000. In order to take a proactive approach, the City adopted the ADU ordinance to allow for any necessary changes to be made prior to a state requirement to adopt. The ordinance was also created to address potential unpermitted ADUs that may have been both uncompliant and unsafe. The proposed ordinance includes a modification to the reporting requirements for owner occupancy, and allows up to 40 more ADU’s, bringing the total number allowed up to 50 before the next scheduled review. Councilmember Xczar moved, and Councilmember Hansen seconded, to approve the agenda bill. MOTION CARRIED 7-0.               APPROVED
RESOLUTION: Greenhouse Gas Policy In order to be considered for various grants, loans, or funding, Washington State requires that jurisdictions demonstrate the manner in which they have enacted policies or procedures to reduce or mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, and/or to identify other practices that may benefit the environment. In the last decade Ferndale has taken significant steps on these issues, but has never listed these approaches in one document. If adopted, the Greenhouse Gas Policy resolution would do just that. The document reflects the City’s existing standards and identifies potential new policies that could be considered in the future. By adopting the resolution, the City will remain competitive for funding, and will reduce time and effort in developing funding applications. Councilmember Taylor moved, and Councilmember Bishop seconded, to approve the agenda bill. MOTION CARRIED 7-0.         APPROVED
MAYOR REPORTS/COMMENTS Information only. COUNCIL REPORTS/COMMENTS Information only. DEPARTMENT REPORTS Information only.       INFO ONLY
ADJOURNMENT The meeting was adjourned at 7:05 p.m.  

Council Meeting Summary for July 15th, 2019


To access Agenda materials, click here

                                                                                      City Council Agenda Follow-Up July 15, 2019  
5:00 p.m. STUDY SESSION: 2020 Budget Councilmembers presented their requests for the 2020 budget. DISCUSSION ONLY
APPROVAL OF AGENDA Councilmember Bersch moved, and Councilmember Taylor seconded, to approve the agenda as presented. MOTION CARRIED 7-0. APPROVED
PUBLIC COMMENT INFO ONLY
CONSENT AGENDA Councilmember Taylor moved, and Councilmember Hansen seconded, to approve the consent agenda.  MOTION CARRIED 7-0.    APPROVED
PROCLAMATION:  2019 Paddle to Lummi Tribal Canoe Journey Mayor Mutchler read the proclamation honoring and acknowledging the 2019 Paddle to Lummi Canoe Journey.   INFO ONLY
CAPITAL PROJECTS UPDATE Public Works Project Manager Katy Radder presented updates on the following capital projects: First Avenue Pedestrian Improvement Project – reconfigures the existing pedestrian crossings at First Avenue and Main StreetFerndale Terrace – design currently underwayScout Place to Nordic Way Water Line – Permit has been submitted to Burlington Northern, and work is expected to begin soonPump Station #19 De-Commissioning – a new gravity main will connect the water systems between Thornton Road and Malloy VillageThornton Overcrossing – right of way acquisition is nearly completeUtilities Relocation – utilities need to be relocated to accommodate the Thornton Overcrossing Project               INFO ONLY  
 PUBLIC HEARING:  Floodway Repeal Ordinance In January 2019, the City Council approved an amendment to the Comprehensive Plan removing the Floodway Comprehensive Plan Designation and the Floodway Zone.  The City Council determined that is no longer appropriate to maintain a floodway land use designation or zone that is inconsistent with the floodway established by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). This zoning text amendment removes Chapter 18.20 (Floodway Zone) from the Ferndale Municipal Code. Councilmember Olson moved, and Councilmember Jensen seconded, to approve the agenda bill. MOTION CARRIED 7-0.         APPROVED
DISCUSSION:  First & Main Street Intersection Improvement project/Bid Award This project will reconfigure the existing pedestrian crossings at the intersection of First Avenue and Main Street.  Work will include removal and replacement of cement concrete sidewalk, curb and ADA ramps; removal of existing signal arms, cabinets and related facilities; concrete flatwork; HMA paving; permanent signage installation and pavement striping.  Councilmember Jensen moved, and Councilmember Taylor seconded, to approve the agenda bill. MOTION CARRIED 5-2, Councilmembers Hansen and Bersch opposed.         APPROVED
DISCUSSION:  Affordable Housing Survey Housing affordability continues to be a significant issue for Whatcom County communities and for the City of Ferndale.  Demand has dramatically exceeded supply at nearly every price point, and a significant housing crisis exists in the Pacific Northwest.  The lack of housing units for the workforce has further contributed to a slow-down in the growth of local businesses that depend on skilled labor and has curtailed the expansion of businesses from outside the area, for the same reason.  A survey regarding affordable housing was conducted with input from local realtors, developers, and contractors. Suggestions included: Allow duplexes, triplexes, etc. in multiple zones Reduce permit fees where feasible and provide incentive programs for “affordable” housingStreamline the permit review process and provide better information regarding permit requirementsDevelopment Regulations – reduce frontage requirements and allow streets to be narrowerZoning Regulations – allow more flexibility in building placement on the lotDensity Bonuses – provide incentives for increased units. Incentives must provide a public benefitState Regulations – better coordination between state agencies and city. Wetland fill and mitigation permits add time/confusion to the processCritical Areas – allow applicants to mitigate for small wetland areas             INFO ONLY
MAYOR REPORTS/COMMENTS Information only. COUNCIL REPORTS/COMMENTS Information only. DEPARTMENT REPORTS Information only.       INFO ONLY
ADJOURNMENT The meeting was adjourned at 8:19 p.m.  

Council Meeting Summary for June 17th, 2019

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                                                                                      City Council Agenda Follow-Up June 17, 2019  
APPROVAL OF AGENDA APPROVED
PUBLIC COMMENT INFO ONLY
CONSENT AGENDA Councilmember Taylor moved, and Councilmember Xczar seconded, to approve the consent agenda.  MOTION CARRIED 7-0.    APPROVED
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: Brian Enslow City Lobbyist Brian Enslow presented an update from the 2019 Legislative Session, including an overview of the 2019 operating budget. Session priorities for Ferndale included:         INFO ONLY
CAPITAL PROJECTS UPDATE: Public Works Project Manager Katy Radder presented updates on the following capital projects: First Avenue Pedestrian Improvements – the project is currently out to bid, with a bid opening date of June 27. Construction is anticipated to begin in August.Ferndale Terrace – the project is currently in the design phase.Nordic to Scout Waterline – the project is currently in the design phase, and BNSF permitting is in process. Pump Station #19 Decommissioning – currently coordinating easement language and terms with the property owner and will soon be beginning the design phase.Thornton Overpass – currently getting close to finishing with right-of-way acquisition.               INFO ONLY
PRESENTATION: Shoreline Master Program Community Development Director Haylie Miller presented an overview of the Shoreline Master Program (SMP). The SMP is regulated by the Washington State Department of Ecology. The existing version was written between 2000 and 2006, though it was not adopted by Ecology until 2010. A minor update to the Critical Areas portion was revised in May 2017 in order to comply with the City’s Critical Areas Ordinance update. The City is required to conduct a periodic review of its SMP by June 2020 in order to comply with State guidelines.       INFO ONLY
ORDINANCE: Kope Road Vacation On April 5, 2019, the Lummi Nation submitted a request to vacate a portion of Kope Road. The request complied with the procedures set forth in Ferndale Municipal Code 12.37, Road Vacations. A public hearing was held on May 20, 2019, consistent with the requirements of FMC 12.37, providing citizens with the opportunity to provide testimony regarding the vacation. Following the public hearing Council agreed to proceed with valuing the property. An appraisal set the value of the land at $114,000.00. It is staff’s belief that the public benefit criteria as defined in FMC 12.37 has been met, and the vacation will mutually benefit both the City and the Lummi Nation. Councilmember Olson moved, and Councilmember G. Hansen seconded, to send the item back to the Planning & Land Use Committee for further discussion. MOTION FAILED 3-4, Councilmembers Olson, G. Hansen and Jensen in favor. Councilmember K. Hansen moved, and Councilmember Xczar seconded, to approve the agenda bill. MOTION CARRIED 5-1, Councilmember Olson opposed and Councilmember Taylor abstaining.       APPROVED
ORDINANCE: Multifamily Tax Exemption Time Frame Extension The City Council adopted the Multifamily Tax Exemption (MFTE) program in September of 2018. The program allows property owners within the residential target area to waive property taxes associated with eligible multifamily residential development for a period of eight years. The residential targeted area designation consists of the Urban Residential and City Center zones, as well as the Griffintown neighborhood. The City Council initially expressed support for a sunset date to encourage applicants to move forward with the projects within a short timeframe. The program currently has a sunset date of December 31, 2020, allowing two years for applicants to submit building permits. This date ties eligibility to building permits (rather than Site Plan approval, etc.) Further, construction of new multifamily housing must be completed within three years from the date of approval of the application, as described in FMC 3.38.080, or within an extension authorized under the chapter. Staff believes that MFTE applications will be submitted soon for at least three new developments. The program currently requires building permits to be submitted by December 31, 2020. That deadline may be feasible; however, on average, most projects take two years or more from the initial permit submittal to the submittal of building permits. Staff recommends extending the application deadline by one year to December 31, 2021. Councilmember Xczar moved, and Councilmember G. Hansen seconded, to approve the agenda bill. MOTIN CARRIED 6-1, Councilmember Olson opposed.                     APPROVED
EXECUTIVE SESSION: RCW 42.30.110(i) Following the executive session, Councilmember Jensen moved, and Councilmember Olson seconded, to approve the settlement agreement and release between the City of Ferndale and Greg Young as presented. MOTION CARRIED 7-0.   SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT APPROVED
ADJOURNMENT The meeting was adjourned at 7:46 p.m.  

June 3rd, 2019 Council Meeting Summary

Agenda Materials Found Here

City Council Agenda Follow-Up June 3, 2019  
APPROVAL OF AGENDA Mayor Mutchler announced that the scheduled Executive Session was cancelled. Councilmember Olson moved, and Councilmember Taylor seconded, to approve the agenda as amended. MOTION CARRIED 5-0. APPROVED AS AMENDED
PUBLIC COMMENT INFO ONLY
PRESENTATION: Ferndale Civics Youth Council Ferndale High School ASB President Leah Kessen & Vice President Alex Faria shared their experiences with the Ferndale Civics Youth Council.   INFO ONLY
PRESENTATION: Building Official/Building Inspector Building Official Kyle Huebner introduced Craig Stephenson from the International Code Council, and presented information about the 2015 Existing Building Code.   INFO ONLY
INTERVIEWS OF CANDIDATES FOR SEATS #5 AND #7 The resignations of Councilmembers Fred Kennedy and Cathy Watson left two vacant seats on Council. The Ferndale City Council must fill those vacancies within 90 days, or the Whatcom County Council may do so. Per the direction of the Finance & Administration Committee on May 15, staff advertised the vacancies, with a closing date of May 30, 2019. The following people applied, and were each given two minutes to introduce themselves and give a brief statement to Council: Bobbi FergusonDean WithrowGary JensenConnie FariaStephanie ManningJames GrovesCarol Bersch             INFO ONLY
EXECUTIVE SESSION: RCW 42.30.100(h) (Seat #7) Council adjourned to executive session to discuss the qualifications of the applicants for the open council seats.        
VOTING AND SWEARING IN OF COUNCIL SEAT #7 Following Executive Session, Mayor Mutchler opened nominations for Seat #7. Councilmember Taylor nominated Gary Jensen. Councilmember Olson nominated Carol Bersch. Councilmember Olson moved, and Councilmember G. Hansen seconded, to suspend the Council rules of procedure regarding voting method and vote by simultaneous paper ballots. MOTION CARRIED 5-0. Carol Bersch received 3 votes. (Councilmembers Xczar, Olson and K. Hansen) Gary Jensen received 2 votes. (Councilmembers G. Hansen and Taylor) Councilmember Carol Bersch was sworn in and took her place at Seat #7.       CAROL BERSCH APPOINTED TO SEAT #7
EXECUTIVE SESSION: RCW 42.30.100(h) (Seat #5) Council had the option of adjourning to a second executive session with the newly-appointed Councilmember Bersch included, so she would be able to take part in the discussion of the qualifications of the applicants for Seat #5. By general consensus, the second executive session was cancelled.      
VOTING AND SWEARING IN OF COUNCIL SEAT #5 Mayor Mutchler opened nominations for Seat #5. Councilmember G. Hansen nominated Gary Jensen. Seeing no further nominations, Mayor Mutchler closed nominations and by unanimous consent, Gary Jensen was appointed to Seat #5. Councilmember Gary Jensen was sworn in and took his place at Seat #5.   GARY JENSEN APPOINTED TO SEAT #5
COUNCIL COMMITTEE & LIAISON ASSIGNMENTS The following Committee and Liaison vacancies were filled: Public Works & Utilities Committee: Councilmembers Jensen and Xczar Planning & Land Use Committee: Councilmember Bersch Whatcom Transportation Authority:  Councilmember Taylor Whatcom County Fire District #7:  Councilmember Jensen Ferndale Heritage Society:  Councilmember Bersch Senior Center: Councilmember Bersch       INFO ONLY
CONSENT AGENDA Councilmember G. Hansen moved, and Councilmember Olson seconded, to approve the consent agenda.  MOTION CARRIED 7-0.     APPROVED
PUBLIC HEARING: Puget Sound Energy Franchise Agreement Ordinance Pursuant to FMC 5.40, staff recommends renewing the Puget Sound Energy Franchise Agreement. While the City has latitude over some aspects of franchise agreements, other items are governed by State and Federal regulations. The City has worked to ensure that provisions of the agreement provide adequate protection of the public Right-of-Way and the City’s ability to require movement of utilities consistent with City needs. A public hearing is required prior to adoption of the franchise agreement ordinance. Councilmember G. Hansen moved, and Councilmember Taylor seconded, to approve the agenda bill.  MOTION CARRIED 7-0.       APPROVED
PUBLIC HEARING: Comcast Franchise Agreement Ordinance Pursuant to FMC 5.40, staff recommends adopting the Comcast Franchise Agreement. While the City has latitude over some aspects of franchise agreements, other items are governed by State and Federal regulations. The City has worked to ensure that provisions of the agreement provide adequate protection of the public Right-of-Way and the City’s ability to require movement of utilities consistent with City needs. A public hearing is required prior to adoption of the franchise agreement ordinance. Councilmember Taylor moved, and Councilmember G. Hansen seconded, to approve the agenda bill.  MOTION CARRIED 7-0.         APPROVED
PUBLIC HEARING: Six-Year Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) Resolution Pursuant to RCW 35.77.010, the City is required to adopt a revised and extended comprehensive transportation program before July 1st of each year. The program must then be submitted within 30 days to the Secretary of Transportation. With the City’s major focus being the Thornton Street Overcrossing Project, the 2020 – 2025 TIP is substantially similar to previous years with no additional projects and limited modifications to timeline, funding, and expenditure levels. A public hearing is required prior to adoption of the TIP. Councilmember G. Hansen moved, and Councilmember Xczar seconded, to approve the agenda bill.  MOTION CARRIED 7-0.         APPROVED
ADJOURNMENT The meeting was adjourned at 7:22 p.m.  

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.  

Summary of April 15th, 2019 Council Meeting

Council Materials can be found here

City Council Agenda Follow-Up April 15, 2019  
CALL TO ORDER/FLAG SALUTE/ROLL CALL    
PUBLIC COMMENT INFO ONLY
CONSENT AGENDA Councilmember Taylor moved, and Councilmember K. Hansen seconded, to approve the consent agenda.  MOTION CARRIED 7-0.   APPROVED
PRIVATE DEVELOPMENTS UPDATE Assistant Planner Jesse Ashbaugh presented updates on the following private projects: Everkept Short Plat – Located at 5924 Aspen Avenue. This is a .37-acre plot is being split into three lots. A lot line adjustment was required in order to increase the density enough to allow three units.Northwest Fence – Located at 5531 Hovander Road. Northwest Fence is moving from their current location on Pacific Highway to this 4.52-acre site. They will be putting two buildings on the site. Building A is 15,300 square feet and will be for offices and light manufacturing. Building B is 37,600 square feet and is for wholesale/retail and construction materials.Woodridge Long Plat – Located at 0 Heather Way, this plat is an eighteen-lot, 3.99 acres plat adjacent to Schell Creek. The homes built will be self-help homes through Whatcom-Skagit Housing for first time home owners.           INFO ONLY
PUBLIC HEARING: Downtown Catalyst Program Ordinance Beginning in the early 1980s, a succession of private or City-led groups have sought to address a decline in Ferndale’s downtown core. That decline has been attributed at various points to a change in shopping habits, increased traffic through Main Street, lack of parking, inappropriately sized buildings, lack of building maintenance, and more. Until the mid-2000s the majority of these efforts sought primarily to preserve or enhance existing buildings and businesses. Staff and Planning Commission have been working to establish a Downtown Catalyst Program wherein a small number of developments that meet criteria identified by the City would be eligible for a waiver of all City fees. Staff’s theory has been that such a project would have the ability, through its development, to positively influence properties and developments in the surrounding area, creating a more-vibrant Downtown that could be further improved without additional incentives. At the April 10 Planning & Land Use Committee meeting, several modifications to the original proposal were discussed. The draft being presented to Council at the April 15 meeting incorporates the direction provided at that meeting. Councilmember Xczar moved, and Councilmember Kennedy seconded, to approve the agenda bill. MOTION CARRIED 5-2, Councilmembers Olson and Watson opposed.               APPROVED
APPOINTMENTS: North Whatcom Poverty Task Force An ordinance adopting the formation of the North Whatcom Poverty Task Force was approved on February 19, 2019. The task force will conduct a needs assessment and present recommendations to Council regarding poverty in the Ferndale area. Mayor Council confirmation of the Mayor’s appointments to the task force is required. Councilmember Taylor moved, and Councilmember G. Hansen seconded, to approve the agenda bill. MOTION CARRIED 7-0.       APPROVED
ORDINANCE: Creating New Fund for Complete Streets Program Public Works Director Kevin Renz explained the need for the new fund for the $300,000 grant received from the Transportation Benefit District, through the Complete Streets Program. Councilmember G.  Hansen moved, and Councilmember K. Hansen seconded, to approve the agenda bill. MOTION CARRIED 7-0.       APPROVED
DISCUSSION: Council Extra Meeting Reimbursement Mayor Mutchler introduced a proposal to add extra-meeting reimbursement to City Council compensation. Rather than raising Council salaries, this proposal provides for a $65 reimbursement for Council-approved liaison and inter-governmental assignments that are in addition to regular Council and Committee meetings, with a maximum of four meetings per month. The reimbursement would become effective for seats 1,2,3 and 4 in 2020, and Seats 5,6 and 7 in 2022. Councilmember Taylor moved, and Councilmember Kennedy seconded, to approve the agenda bill.  MOTION FAILED 2 – 5, Councilmembers Taylor and Kennedy in favor.         FAILED
DISCUSSION: Mayor Salary In 1999, the City converted to a Council-Mayor form of government. Councilmember Xczar presented the history of the Mayor’s salary since that time. Councilmember Xczar moved, and Councilmember K. Hansen seconded, to adjust the Mayor’s salary to $2,500 per month, beginning in 2020. Councilmember Kennedy moved to amend the motion to adjust the Mayor’s salary to $2,500 per month, beginning May 1, 2019. MOTION DIED FOR LACK OF A SECOND. Councilmember Xczar moved, and Councilmember Kennedy seconded, to amend the motion to direct staff to bring an ordinance to the next meeting setting the Mayor’s salary at $2,500 per month, beginning January 1, 2020.  MOTION CARRIED 4-3, Councilmembers Olson, Watson, and G. Hansen opposed.         APPROVED
RECOGNITION:  Councilmember Fred Kennedy Mayor Mutchler presented Councilmember Kennedy with a plaque and a City centennial coin, and thanked him for his dedicated service as a Councilmember.   INFO ONLY
ADJOURNMENT The meeting was adjourned at 9:19 p.m.  

Summary of March 4th, 2019 Council Meeting

Meeting Materials can be found by clicking here

 City Council Agenda Follow-Up March 4, 2019  
CALL TO ORDER/FLAG SALUTE/ROLL CALL    
PUBLIC COMMENT INFO ONLY
CONSENT AGENDA Councilmember G. Hansen moved, and Councilmember Taylor seconded, to approve the consent agenda.  MOTION CARRIED 7-0.   APPROVED
ORDINANCE: Development Standards Modification/Land Disturbance As currently written, Chapter 19.65 of the Ferndale Municipal Code requires a permit for the removal of vegetation greater than six inches in diameter that cannot be completed exclusively with hand tools. The proposed revisions remove this language and allow an exemption for the removal of up to four trees per year on private, residential lots. Removal of trees and/or vegetation in or near probable critical areas will still require permitting. Additional proposed changes include updating the definitions of “clearing” and “land disturbing activities”, updating activity thresholds, amending fill placement and testing requirements, and updating setbacks language.  Councilmember Kennedy moved, and Councilmember Watson seconded, to approve the agenda bill. MOTION CARRIED 7-0.         APPROVED
APPROVAL: Shop Well #2 Pilot Study In 2013 a Reverse Osmosis (RO) Pilot test was completed at the City’s Water Treatment Plant to obtain approval from the Washington Department of Health for the City’s current treatment system. The City’s current well water treatment system provides a blended mix of about 40% water treated to removed manganese and 60% treated by RO to remove hardness. The new treatment system will be revised to 100% RO treatment. Because the treated product is far too soft to be usable, a remineralization step will be added. This consists of injecting carbon dioxide to temporarily acidify the water. The RO finished water is then percolated through a calcite filter to dissolve calcium and carbonate to achieve a proper balance between softness and hardness. The pilot study will be at the Shop Well #2 location. The primary objective of the pilot study is to evaluate the performance of the treatment system for removing TDS, optimizing the RO system recovery rate, re-mineralizing finished water and to refine full scale treatment design criteria. Councilmember Watson moved, and Councilmember Taylor seconded, to approve the agenda bill. MOTION CARRIED 7-0.               APPROVED
RESOLUTION: Department of Ecology State Revolving Fund Loan/WWTP The City is required to expand the capacity of the Wastewater Treatment Plant, (WWTP) and construction is anticipated to begin in 2019. The total cost of the project is currently estimated at $25 million. The $14,542,784 State Revolving Fund Loan with the Washington State Department of Ecology would partially fund the project. It provides a very low interest rate of 2%. Approval of the authorizing resolution will formalize the loan. Project design, administration, and management work that has occurred thus far can be billed against the loan. The loan has a funding expiration date of April 30, 2023, and repayment is not required to begin until one year after project completion or initiation of operation. Councilmember Taylor moved, and Councilmember Kennedy seconded, to approve the agenda bill. MOTION CARRIED 7-0.           APPROVED
DISCUSSION: Public Notification Procedures A recent zoning text amendment included a proposed change to the Mixed-Use Commercial zone, proposing a density limit of twenty dwelling units per gross acre. A property owner with a pending application in that zone expressed concern about not having received a mailed notice related to the Public Hearing held by the Planning Commission on this matter. The Planning Commission recommended approval of the text change and forwarded it to the City Council for consideration. Because the property owner was concerned with the noticing procedure that took place, staff brought the proposed text amendment to the Planning and Land Use committee as a discussion item only. The committee placed the Mixed-Use Commercial text amendment on hold and directed staff to bring forward a summary of noticing procedures for review. After discussion with the full Council about the different types of notifications, the item was referred back to the Planning & Land Use Committee. The committee recommended that direct mailings be provided to property owners if the text change is considered substantial or material. Examples of substantial or material changes are included related to changes in uses and/or densities. The committee also recommended property owners within 300 feet be notified for rezones or substantial text amendments during the Notice of Application phase only. Councilmember Taylor moved, and Councilmember G. Hansen seconded, to approve the agenda bill. MOTION CARRIED 7-0.           APPROVED
RESOLUTION: Council Rules of Procedure Occasional review and/or revision to the Council Rules of Procedure provides an opportunity for Council and staff to become more familiar with the rules to ensure that the established procedures are being followed, and also to ensure compliance with state law. Careful review and revision of the rules has eliminated the areas in which there were contradictions as well as eliminating out-of-date language. The rules as proposed rely heavily on the Revised Code of Washington, Roberts Rules of Order, and best practices as recommended by registered Parliamentarian Ann MacFarlane. Councilmember K. Hansen moved, and Councilmember Kennedy seconded, to approve the agenda bill. MOTION CARRIED 7-0.         APPROVED
ADJOURNMENT:  The meeting was adjourned at 6:55 p.m.    

Summary of Feb. 19th, 2019 Council Meeting

Click here for Council Meeting Materials and Agenda

 City Council Agenda Follow-Up February 19, 2019  
CALL TO ORDER/FLAG SALUTE/ROLL CALL    
PUBLIC COMMENT INFO ONLY
CONSENT AGENDA Councilmember moved, and Councilmember seconded, to approve the consent agenda.  MOTION CARRIED 7-0.   APPROVED
PRESENTATION: Mayor’s Citizenship Award Mayor Mutchler presented Pete and Nita Harksell with the award and highlighted some of their volunteer service, including: Kiwanis, Old Settlers Association, Ferndale Heritage Society. Pete also serves on the Ferndale Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and is a member of the Park, Recreation and Trails Advisory Board.     INFO ONLY
APPROVAL: Emergency Declaration The emergency declaration enabled each City department to enter contracts and incur obligations necessary to combat emergency situations during the snow storm to protect the public safety and to prevent further damage to property. This declaration is in addition to those filed by the State and County. Ferndale, Lynden and Blaine all filed such declarations with Whatcom County Emergency Management.  All three cities joining together increases the chance of recouping some of the expenses incurred as a result of the snow. Councilmember Watson moved, and Councilmember Kennedy seconded, to approve the emergency declaration, removing the phrase, “pursuant to the emergency management plan.” MOTION CARRIED 6-0, Councilmember Olson abstaining.           APPROVED
DISCUSSION: Thornton Street Overpass Public Works Project Manager Katy Radder presented the different options for the retaining wall and slope wall for the Thornton Street Overpass. There are three different main options: Gabion Basket, Precast Panel, and Shotcrete. Each option comes with different price points and different provisions for settlement of the wall. By general consensus, when the project goes out to bid, bidders will be requested to submit a bid for each of the different options.       INFO ON LY
PRESENTATION OF 2019 WORK PLANS:  Finance, Public Works Finance Director Sirke Salminen presented the 2019 work plan for the Finance Department, which includes: Water/Sewer Rate StudyFunding for the Water/Wastewater Treatment Plant UpgradesComputer Capital PlanFinalize Utility Billing AuditProperty Inventory ProcessSoftware Data Cleanup   Public Works Director Kevin Renz presented the 2019 work plan for the Public Works Department, which includes: Streets: Thornton Overpass, Ferndale Terrace Design, First & Main Intersection, Crack Sealing, and Complete Streets Work PlanWater: Shop Well #2 Wellhouse Construction, Treatment Plant Upgrades, and Nordic to Scout LoopSewer: WWTP Upgrades, Pump Station #19 Decommissioning, Eber Lane Sewer, and Grandview Sewer ExtensionStormwater: Decant Facility DesignParks: Star Park Shelter, Equipment Replacement   INFO ONLY
DISCUSSION: Public Notification Procedures A recent zoning text amendment included a proposed change to the Mixed-Use Commercial zone, proposing a density limit of twenty dwelling units per gross acres. A property owner with a pending application who is located in that zone expressed concern about not having received a mailed notice related to the Public Hearing held by the Planning Commission on this matter. The Planning Commission recommended approval of the text change and forwarded it to the City Council for consideration. Because the property owner was concerned with the noticing procedure that took place, staff brought the proposed text amendment to the Planning and Land Use committee as a discussion item only. The committee placed the Mixed-Use Commercial text amendment on hold and directed staff to bring forward a summary of noticing procedures for review. After discussion with the full Council about the different types of notifications, direction was provided to staff, and this item will be placed on the next Planning and Land Use Committee meeting agenda for further discussion.           DISCUSSION ONLY
ORDINANCE: North Whatcom Poverty Task Force The City of Ferndale continues to feel the impacts of rising house prices, income inequality, homelessness and food insecurity. Since Ferndale has not made a unified effort to confront the impacts of poverty in recent memory, it is time to conduct a comprehensive study and compile a list of recommendations to prepare our community for this growing challenge. This ordinance would create a two-year task force to examine the impact of poverty on our community and identify concrete steps the City can take towards addressing these issues. The preliminary needs assessment will be completed by September 30, 2019. The task force will then develop a set of recommendations to be presented to the City Council before December 31. 2020. Councilmember K. Hansen moved, and Councilmember Kennedy seconded, to approve the agenda bill. MOTION CARRIED 7-0.         APPROVED
RESOLUTION: Credit Card Policy The credit card policy was first adopted as one the City’s financial policies in 2008 and amended in 2016. The Finance & Administration Committee recently requested an amendment to ensure that City purchases are sent to City facilities, rather than private homes. Administration and the Mayor agree that with the changes in online purchasing, this amendment to the existing policy is prudent. As proposed, all purchases on the City’s credit card should be sent to City facilities, unless prior authorization for a home delivery is given by the department head, City Administrator, or mayor for each purchase. Councilmember Kennedy moved, and Councilmember G. Hansen seconded, to approve the agenda bill. MOTION CARRIED 5-2, Councilmembers Olson and Watson opposed.         APPROVED
SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT: City of Ferndale & Early Pioneer Property Management The City acquired by eminent domain a portion of Washington Street (Parcel #390219 511062 0000) necessary to complete the Washington Street, Main to Vista project. The proposed settlement agreement provides for the City of Ferndale to pay Early Pioneer $20,000 for the property and to waive encroachment permit fees for construction o f a staircase. Councilmember Kennedy moved, and Councilmember G. Hansen seconded, to approve the settlement agreement with Early Pioneer Property Management. MOTION CARRIED 7-0.   ADJOURNMENT: The meeting was adjourned at 8:50 p.m.       APPROVED

February 4th, 2019 Council Meeting Summary

Meeting Materials can be found here

 City Council Agenda Follow-Up February 4, 2019  
CALL TO ORDER/FLAG SALUTE/ROLL CALL   Councilmember G. Hansen moved, and Councilmember Watson seconded, to excuse Councilmember Olson. MOTION CARRIED 6-0.  
PUBLIC COMMENT INFO ONLY
CONSENT AGENDA Councilmember Watson moved, and Councilmember G. Hansen seconded, to approve the consent agenda.  MOTION CARRIED 6-0.   APPROVED
DESIGN/ENGINEERING CONTRACT: Ferndale Terrace  The City has received grand funding for this project from the Department of Ecology for eligible expenditures up to $250,000. At this time, the contract calls for DOE eligible expenditures of approximately $177,000. The remainder of the design work will be funded via the City’s Transportation Benefit District, stormwater, water, and sanitary sewer funds. The proposed contract amount for design for this project is $510,202. Work to acquire the necessary right-of-way will not occur until the City secures additional funding for the construction portion of this project. Councilmember Watson moved, and Councilmember Kennedy seconded, to approve the agenda bill. MOTION CARRIED 6-0.         APPROVED
PRESENTATION OF 2019 WORK PLANS
Chief of Police Kevin Turner presented information on 2018 statistics, and provided the police department goals for 2019, including:
Department Accreditation
City Emergency Plan
Department Strategic Plan/Asset Management
Crime Mapping
Improve web page and social media presence
Body Worn Cameras  

City Clerk Susan Duncan presented the 2019 work plan for the City Clerk’s office, including the following:
Records Management and Human Resources items:
Records Inventory/Records Destruction
Scan & Toss Policy Development & Implementation
Personnel Policy Updates
Performance Evaluation Policy Development & Implementation
Union Negotiations for 2020 Collective Bargaining Agreements  

Communications Officer Riley Sweeney presented the work plan for Communications/Recreation, including:
Expand Communication Channels
Utility Rates & Infrastructure Communication
Recreation Events
Coordination of Star Park Picnic Shelter Construction
Certified Parks & Rec Professional Exam  
ADJOURNMENT: Meeting was adjourned at 7:05 p.m.
                        INFO ONLY
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