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Past Issues


Whatcom Watch Online
Bellingham City Council


May 2015

Watching Government

Bellingham City Council

Compiled by Boris Schleinkofer

Action Taken at March 9, 2015 Meeting

Shall the council:

42. Grant a noise variance to allow night paving on Alabama Street? The project consists of flashing pedestrian crosswalks, bicycle lanes, various traffic calming methods and paving from Cornwall Avenue to St. Clair Street. Due to high traffic volumes on Alabama Street during daytime hours, staff recommended a variance to allow night paving. Construction work in residentially zoned areas between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. requires a noise variance. (AB20748) Approved 7-0

43. Reject all bids for a rainwater harvesting retrofit at the Public Works operation facility? The city received nine bids to construct the rainwater harvesting system. The project budget was $200,000 and the low bid was $280,506. The project will be cancelled for 2015. (AB20749) Approved 7-0

44. Authorize an environmental site assessment of property known as the Padden Lake Hills stormwater facility? The homeowners’ association has offered to donate the stormwater facility to the city of Bellingham. The property is located to the south and west of Padden Hills Court and north of Harrison Street. Acceptance of this donation would ensure proper maintenance and would be consistent with public ownership of stormwater facilities. Ongoing maintenance costs are estimated at between $3,000-4,000 annually and initial first year cleanup estimated at $15,000. (AB20751) Approved 7-0

45. Authorize an environmental site assessment of the 22nd Street stormwater facility? The property owner has offered to donate this privately-owned facility to the city. It is located in the vicinity of Larrabee Avenue between 21st and 22nd Streets,. Ongoing maintenance costs are estimated to be between $4,000-5,000 annually and initial first year cleanup estimated at $40,000. (AB20752) Approved 7-0

46. Authorize an environmental site assessment of property located south of and adjacent to Birch Street? The Jones Holding Company is the property owner and has offered to donate the .94 acre parcel to the city. This property completes the existing Birch Street right-of-way, which the city could then use for transportation and utility purposes. The costs are estimated at no more than $4,000. (AB20753) Approved 7-0

47. Authorize the mayor to award the low bid of $64,633 to Turftenders, Inc. of Bellingham for landscape maintenance? This contract is for landscape maintenance at the water filtration plant, sewer treatment plant, public works central shop, fire stations, water reservoirs, pump stations, various medians, stormwater ponds and communication sites. The previous low bid was $75,705 and was approved at the 12/7/2009 meeting, vote #262. There were 60 bid solicitations viewed and three bids were received. (AB20759) Approved 7-0. Approved 7-0

48. Appropriate $2,631,450 for payroll checks issued from February 11 through February 25, 2015? (AB20761) Approved 7-0

49. Appropriate $2,589,952 for city goods and services checks issued from February 13 through February 26, 2015? (AB20762/20763) Approved 7-0

50. Grant final plat approval for Division 1A of the Larrabee Springs South preliminary plat? The development consists of 42 single-family attached lots served by a newly dedicated right of way, Spring Vista Way, generally located at the southwest corner of Kline Road and Cordata Parkway. When the applicant, D. R. Horton, submitted a revised application with a new wetland delineation of the property and incorporating the requirements of a settlement agreemen the Bellingham hearing examiner granted final plat approval. AB20760 (Resolution 2015-03) Approved 7-0

51. Adopt a rental registration and safety inspection program? It will require the registration and inspection of approximately 14,000 rental units in the city. This ordinance was given first and second readings at the 12/15/2014 meeting. The program will require all non-exempt rental housing to be registered by 8/1/2015. Inspections are planned to be initiated on or before 2/1/2016. All costs for the program must be recovered by fees for registration and inspection. AB20382 (Ordinance 2015-03-005) Amended and approved 7-0

Action Taken at the March 23, 2015 Meeting

Shall the council:

52. Spend $3,620,000 to purchase 20.76 acres that will become the Cordata Community Park? The undeveloped property consists of 17.5 acres owned by Cordata Investments, LLC and 3.25 acres owned by Darcy Investors, Inc.; it is located on the east side of Cordata Parkway between Stuart and Horton roads. The property was purchased with Greenway III levy funds. (Discussed in Executive Session) Approved 7-0

52. Approve a letter to the Washington State Department of Ecology regarding the revised water quality standards for toxic substances? At its 3/9/2015 council meeting, the committee discussed drafting a letter with a comments deadline of 3/23/2015. The letter affirms the city’s support of the governor’s comprehensive approach to improving water quality, including reducing toxic chemicals in consumer products, an emphasis on addressing water quality problems at the source and legislative actions to identify priority toxins and develop chemical action plans accordingly. (AB20750) Approved 7-0

53. Authorize the mayor to award the low bid of $1,577,207 to Strider Construction Company of Bellingham for rehabilitation of the deteriorated bridge deck at the intersection of Chestnut and Bay streets? The project includes deck rehabilitation, new paving, sidewalk replacement, water system and storm drain improvements, bicycle facilities and throw fence installation. The intersection will be closed for approximately six months. The low bid was $873,623 below the engineer’s cost estimate of $2,450,830. There were 159 bid solicitations viewed and three bids were received. (AB20765) Approved 7-0

54. Authorize the mayor to award the low bid of $1,291,918 to Faber Construction of Lynden for the 2014 sewer replacement project? This annual project includes rehabilitation of existing sanitary sewer piping, manholes, and cleanouts via trenchless pipe and open-cut replacement methods. The project also includes rehabilitating/relining existing manholes and side sewer services to reduce inflow and infiltration. The low bid was $88,357 above the engineer’s cost estimate of $1,203,561. There were 112 bid solicitations viewed and two bids were received. (AB20766) Approved 7-0

55. Appropriate $3,324,692 for city goods and services checks issued from February 27 through March 12, 2015? (AB20778/20779) Approved 7-0

56. Appropriate $2,689,517 for payroll checks issued from February 26 through March 10, 2015? (AB20780) Approved 7-0

57. Declare opposition to the content and process for adoption of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement? The Executive Branch of the U.S. Government is a participant in negotiations with eleven other nations to create a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement governing trade and other rules for these Pacific Rim nations. The agreement would affect trade rules and will also have an impact on other areas of policy including domestic regulation, affecting a loss of national and local sovereignty. On 3/9/2015, council directed staff to bring back a resolution on the TPP for consideration; council requested that staff develop a resolution based on an examination of resolutions adopted by other cities. The city of Bellingham will convey this resolution to our Congressional delegation, to President Obama, and to U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman along with a call for a new model for trade and investment that safeguards the ability of local and national governments to safeguard our environment, protect communities, domestic businesses and workers, and tackle climate change. AB20777 (Resolution 2015-04) Approved 7-0

58. Authorize the mayor to accept a $1 million state grant to be used for the remediation of the R.G. Haley site? Located at the south end of Cornwall Avenue, the site is about six acres between the railroad tracks and the bay. At the 9/14/2009 meeting, vote #193, the City Council authorized the mayor to purchase the R.G. Haley site for $1 from the Douglas Management Company. The city assumed responsibility for the cleanup of the area estimated at between $3 million and $9 million. Contaminants identified at the site include pentachlorophenol (PCP), diesel-end heavy oil-range hydrocarbons, dioxins, furans, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). At the 11/22/2010 meeting, vote #219, the City Council authorized the mayor to accept a $2,500,000 state grant for cleanup at the site. This new $1 million grant will be combined with with the remaining balance of $1,465,174 for a new grant agreement. The current grant provides matching funds for the completion of the feasibility study, engineering and design, a portion of construction and a portion of project administration. Cleanup construction is currently scheduled for late 2016 and early 2017. Full funding for the cleanup has not yet been identified. AB20746 (Ordinance 2015-03-006) Approved 7-0

59. Repeal all rules governing facilities in Bellingham Harbor operated by the Port of Bellingham? State law allows the Port of Bellingham to request that the city repeal the rules. The Bellingham Municipal Code contains operating rules for facilities the port operates in Bellingham Harbor. These rules have not been amended since 1985 and are out of date, and are enforced by the port rather than the city. AB20756 (Ordinance 2015-03-007) Approved 7-0


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