Council Meeting Summary for Nov. 4th, 2019

City Council Agenda Follow-Up November 4, 2019  
5:00 p.m. Budget Workshop INFO ONLY
APPROVAL OF AGENDA Councilmember Taylor moved, and Councilmember Jensen seconded, to approve the agenda as presented. MOTION CARRIED 7-0. APPROVED
PUBLIC COMMENT INFO ONLY
CONSENT AGENDA Councilmember Hansen moved, and Councilmember Bersch seconded, to approve the consent agenda. MOTION CARRIED 7-0.    APPROVED
PRIVATE DEVELOPMENTS UPDATE Assistant Planner Jesse Ashbaugh presented an update on the following private development projects:             INFO ONLY  
PRESENTATION: Mark Kaiman, Municipal Court Judge Municipal Court Judge Mark Kaiman presented information about the current state of the Court/Council Chambers, and the dire need for updated facilities. The judge views it as an ongoing and serious crisis, and he has been trying to call attention to the deplorable state of the facility ever since he took office in January. The facility doesn’t meet the security standards as defined in GR 36. (General Rules for Trial Court Security as defined by Washington Courts) Security deficiencies noted include: No video camerasNo duress alarms (panic buttons)No emergency notification processLimited weapons screening (conducted by volunteer SCOPE officers) The facility is also lacking in several other areas, including: Jury box, jury room for deliberationsAttorney meeting rooms so they can meet with their clientsJudge’s chambers in a secured areaSecure workspace for court clerkSeparate entrance for court staff & secured entrance for in-custody defendantsTechnology is lacking & unreliable   Kaiman explained that if the City wants people to respect the justice system, court must be held in a room that engenders respect. He pleaded with Council to consider building a purpose-built municipal building that will serve the City now and into the future as well.                     INFO ONLY
PUBLIC HEARING: 2020 Property Tax Levy In 2016, the City reduced its share of property tax due to the annexation into Whatcom County Fire District #7. This amount has been reserved by the Whatcom County Assessor as the City’s banked capacity. The available amount the City is eligible to claim is $1,420,313. Council can decide to take all or part of the banked capacity. The use of the full banked capacity would allow the City to sustainably address community needs that have remained unmet, such as:   Provide adequate personnel funding for the Ferndale Police Department to retain the current workforce while expanding in strategic areas to ensure that two officers are on shift at all times.Provide resources for new City facilities, with the goal of reducing interest payments for those facilities, resulting in 20-year cost savings of approximately $1.2 million.Provide resources for deferred maintenance of City infrastructure as well as partial funding for road and park-related projects.Maintain adequate reserve funding in advance of economic downturn.   The public hearing was held, and citizens had an opportunity to speak about the proposed 2020 property tax increase. The City is required to notify the Whatcom County Assessor of their intent to use or decline the use of banked capacity prior to November 30 of each calendar year. Staff will bring an ordinance setting the proposed property tax rate for 2020 to the November 18, 2019 meeting.                     PUBLIC HEARING
MAYOR REPORTS/COMMENTS Information only. COUNCIL REPORTS/COMMENTS Information only. DEPARTMENT REPORTS Information only.       INFO ONLY
ADJOURNMENT The meeting was adjourned at 7:34  p.m.  

Council Meeting Summary for Oct. 21st, 2019

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 City Council Agenda Follow-Up October 21, 2019  
APPROVAL OF AGENDA Councilmember Hansen moved, and Councilmember Bersch seconded, to excuse Councilmember Olson. MOTION CARRIED 6-0. Councilmember Bersch moved, and Councilmember Taylor  seconded, to approve the agenda as presented. MOTION CARRIED 6-0. APPROVED
PUBLIC COMMENT INFO ONLY
CONSENT AGENDA Councilmember Hansen moved, and Councilmember Bishop seconded, to approve the consent agenda. MOTION CARRIED 6-0.    APPROVED
PROCLAMATION: Mental Health Awareness Month   INFO ONLY  
PRESENTATION: Brian Enslow, City Lobbyist City Lobbyist Brian Enslow presented a preview of the 2020 legislative session.     INFO ONLY
CAPITAL PROJECTS UPDATE Public Works Project Manager Katy Radder presented an update on the following capital projects:   Ferndale Terrace – Currently in the design phase and determining the road alignmentNordic to Scout Water Line – Design review is 90% completePump Station #19 Decommissioning – Easement documents have been signed and the project is moving forward with the design phaseThornton Road- Vista to Malloy – Statements of Qualifications have been submitted and are currently under reviewThornton Road Overpass – The project will go out to bid this week with an anticipated bid opening date of November 21               INFO ONLY
DISCUSSION: LaBounty Signs The City was approached by Whatcom County resident Debbie LaBounty with a request to remove and replace several signs to reflect the capitalization of her family’s name; Ms. LaBounty indicated that her family believes the road was originally named after her grandparents. The signs are located at the intersections of Smith and Nordic, Slater and Seahawk, and east and westbound Main Street intersections. Replacement of the signs utilizing the capitalization preferred by the LaBounty family would require that all six signs be replaced. The current draft of the 2020 budget does not have funding identified for replacement of these signs. At the Public Works & Utilities Committee meeting on October 16, committee members forwarded this item to the full Council for further discussion, with a recommendation of approval of up to $2,000 in the 2020 budget to replace the signs. Councilmember Jensen moved, and Councilmember Bersch seconded, to approve the agenda bill. MOTION CARRIED 6-0.                 APPROVED
RESOLUTION: Affordable Housing In 2019 the Washington State Legislature, through SHB 1406, established a process through which the local governing body of a city or county could collect sales tax for the purpose of funding affordable housing-related projects. SHB 1406 does not increase sales tax rates; rather, it reduces the amount of sales tax collected by Washington State and returns it to the local jurisdiction(s) for these specific purposes. It appears that a significant majority of local jurisdictions will take advantage of this new process. This program is expected to have a ten-year duration.   Whatcom County, Bellingham, and the small cities have discussed the fact that Whatcom County currently acts as the regional distributor of shared funds, in a variety of capacities. As a result, the County has existing processes, procedures, and seated bodies that may be able to reduce overhead as compared to collection and disbursement by individual cities, and may be able to consolidate revenues in a manner that has a more-meaningful regional impact. This regional approach would provide the ability for the funds to be used in a manner that is most effective, and may provide the ability to concentrate regional funding either on an ongoing basis or on a project-by-project basis to create meaningful assistance.   It is estimated that Ferndale’s share of the total taxable revenues, based on 2018 taxable sales, would be approximately $36,500 per year. In total, if all jurisdictions participate together and consolidate, the County would collect and disburse approximately $660,000 per year.   The Whatcom County Council is prepared to act on the proposed tax but cannot take action until all participating jurisdictions have first agreed not to impose the tax themselves. The resolution that was presented to Council on September 16 has been modified slightly to include new “whereas” statements addressing the composition of the advisory committee, and describing the City’s expectations for the equitable distribution of the affordable housing taxes amongst the small cities, particularly Ferndale. Councilmember Jensen moved, and Councilmember Hansen seconded, to approve the agenda bill. MOTION CARRIED 6-0.                         APPROVED
MAYOR REPORTS/COMMENTS Information only. COUNCIL REPORTS/COMMENTS Information only. DEPARTMENT REPORTS Information only.       INFO ONLY
ADJOURNMENT The meeting was adjourned at 7:07 p.m.  

Council Meeting Summary for Oct. 7th, 2019

Agenda Materials can be found by clicking here

         City Council Agenda Follow-Up October 7, 2019  
APPROVAL OF AGENDA Councilmember Taylor moved, and Councilmember Jensen seconded, to approve the agenda as presented. MOTION CARRIED 7-0. APPROVED
PUBLIC COMMENT INFO ONLY
CONSENT AGENDA Councilmember Hansen moved, and Councilmember Taylor seconded, to approve the consent agenda. MOTION CARRIED 7-0.    APPROVED
FCS GROUP PRESENTATION: Cost of Service   Martin Chaw of FCS Group presented the results of the water/wastewater rate study regarding the cost of service, and answered Councilmembers’ and audience members’ questions. INFO ONLY  
COUNCIL SELECTION OF THREE CATALYST REVIEW COMMITTEE MEMBERS In March of 2019, the City Council approved the adoption of the Downtown Catalyst Incentive program. The program was initiated in order to allow a waiver of City fees for up to three developments that meet the size, use, and catalyst scoring criteria. The goal of the program is to create conditions that foster the mixed-use redevelopment of the Downtown core as envisioned by the City’s Comprehensive Plan.   The City has received four Catalyst Project development applications, and staff is currently conducting a technical review of the applications in order to verify the proposals meet development regulations and comply with catalyst incentive criteria listed in FMC 18.48.020. Following the technical review, staff will forward the application materials accompanied by a staff report and recommendation to the Catalyst Committee for review.   The three projects with the highest scores above 190 combined points shall be forwarded to the  City Council for final consideration. The Council shall review the scores of the Review Committee and shall be authorized to allow members of the public, staff, and the applicant to speak on the subject. Th City Council shall then be authorized to approve or deny the recommendations of the Committee. Those applications that are approved will be invited to enter into a catalyst development agreement as described in FMC 18.48.080(A).   The Catalyst Review Committee is required to consist of five members, including one Planning Commission member, one EAGLE Board member, and three Councilmembers. Mayor Mutchler appointed Greg Crim from the Planning Commission and Sean Hegstad from the EAGLE Board. Planning & Land Use Committee members recommended a full-Council discussion for the selection and appointment of three Councilmembers to serve on the Catalyst Review Committee. Councilmember Jensen moved, and Councilmember Bersch seconded, to approve the appointments of Councilmembers Xczar, Hansen, and Taylor to the Catalyst Review Committee. MOTION CARRIED 7-0.                           APPROVED
DISCUSSION: Ethics Complaint/Council Recommendation In August of 2019, two ethics complaints were filed against Mayor Mutchler by Councilmember Olson.   Attorney Scott Snyder of Ogden, Murphy & Wallace conducted the investigation of the two complaints filed against Mayor Mutchler. He concluded that the complaint regarding an attempt to interfere in a police investigation was unfounded; however, there was a technical violation regarding the political signs complaint. Per the Council Rules of Procedure/Ethics Handbook, if review of a complaint shows that there is a violation of the Ethics Handbook, the matter must be referred to a three-person Council Ad-Hoc Committee. The Ad-Hoc Committee’s task is to review the attorney’s report and forward a recommendation to the full Council.   A special meeting was held on Wednesday, October 2, in order to form the ad-hoc committee. At that meeting, it was determined that, due to several conflicts of interest, it was not possible to select a three-person committee. Therefore, according to the Council Rules of Procedure/Ethics Handbook, the review of the attorney’s findings and any recommended action is to be conducted by the full Council.   In accordance with State law, the review and discussion of such complaint may, at the request of the accused, be held in Executive Session. Any final action must take place in open session. Mayor Mutchler did not request an Executive Session; therefore the review, discussion, and recommendation by Council will be held in open session. Councilmember Olson moved to create an admonishment and clarify that no political signs are allowed in any City parking lot. Motion died for lack of a second. Councilmember Bishop moved, and Councilmember Jensen seconded, to discuss the City’s sign code at the next Planning & Land Use Committee meeting. MOTION CARRIED 7-0.                         COUNCIL RECOMMENDATION TO REVIEW SIGN CODE APPROVED
MAYOR REPORTS/COMMENTS Information only. COUNCIL REPORTS/COMMENTS Information only. DEPARTMENT REPORTS Information only.       INFO ONLY
EXECUTIVE SESSION: RCW 42.30.110 (f), (i) No action was taken following the executive session.  
ADJOURNMENT The meeting was adjourned at 8:13 p.m.  

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


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                                                                                      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.  
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