Your browser does not support modern web standards implemented on our site
Therefore the page you accessed might not appear as it should.
See for more information.

Whatcom Watch Bird Logo

Past Issues

Whatcom Watch Online
Bellingham City Council

August 2015

Watching Government

Bellingham City Council

Compiled by Boris Schleinkofer

Action Taken at June 1, 2015 Meeting

Shall the council:

100. Ratify the collective bargaining agreement with the WhatComm Dispatchers Guild? The 2013-2016 agreement will be subject to the following general terms: wages will increase by 1 percent on 1/1/2013, by 2 percent on 1/1/2014 and by 3 percent on 1/1/2016; the 2015 employer and employee contributions for benefits will remain the same as implemented on 1/1/2015; the employer contribution for 2016 is capped at a 5 percent increase above the 2015 employer contribution for Group Health. (Discussed in Executive Session) Approved 7-0

101. Lease space in the parkade to the Downtown Bellingham Partnership? Leasing space in the Parkade for below market rate requires City Council approval. The Downtown Bellingham Partnership proposes to generate interest in and promote use of the vacant space at 1302 Commercial Street by having the city lease it to the partnership on a month-to-month basis at no monthly rent. The partnership will pay for utilities, a leasehold excise tax of $186.18 per month, a one-month security deposit of $1,450, and provide insurance. The city will reimburse the partnership for up to six months of leasehold excise tax if it finds at least a one-year tenant for the space. Market rent being waived is $1,450 per month. (AB20849) Approved 7-0

102. Authorize the mayor to award the low bid of $4,510,588 to Ram Construction of Bellingham for the construction of a regional stormwater facility? The north end regional pond and wetland mitigation site will improve water quality and provide flow control to support development of approximately 80 acres of one of Bellingham’s identified employment centers. The regional approach is consistent with the city’s Comprehensive Plan, providing for economies of space and coordinating public utilities with private investment. The engineer’s estimate was $4,849,005. The city received seven bids, the highest bid was $10,236,417. (AB20850) Approved 7-0

103. Authorize the mayor to award the low bid of $490,455 to Larry Brown Construction of Bellingham for the Eliza Avenue project? The project consists of widening Eliza Avenue from Westerly Road to Kellogg Road to accommodate a left turn lane, bike lane and sidewalk, and pave Kellogg Road from Eliza Avenue to Cordata Parkway. The engineer’s estimate was $528,177. The city received four bids, the highest was $555,877. (AB20851) Approved 7-0

104. Reject all bids for a trail from W. Horton Road to Cordata Elementary School? The city received six bids with the apparent low bid submitted by Faber Construction in the amount of $393,225. The second lowest bidder, Razz Construction with a bid of $394,225, submitted a bid protest. City staff have reviewed the bid protest and determined that the city substantially underestimated the quantity of steel rebar needed for the project and that the apparent low bidder submitted a relatively high unit price for this item. When the estimated quantity of steel is corrected, it becomes unlikely that award to the low bidder will result in the lowest ultimate cost to the city. (AB20852) Approved 7-0

105. Continue the Lake Whatcom Management Program tributary monitoring project? The original agreement was approved at the 2/8/2010 meeting, vote #21; this amendment with Whatcom County and the Lake Whatcom Water & Sewer District provides for the continued arrangement where the county will contract with consultants to perform work on the Lake Whatcom watershed tributary monitoring project through 5/31/2017 with no change in scope or amount. The city of Bellingham and Lake Whatcom Water and Sewer District contribute 45 percent and 10 percent respectively. (AB20854) Approved 7-0

106. Appropriate $ 2,734,519 for payroll checks issued from May 9 through May 22, 2015? (AB20855) Approved 7-0

107. Appropriate $2,279,297 for city goods and services checks issued from May 8 through May 21, 2015? (AB20856/20857) Approved 7-0

Action Taken at June 15, 2015 Meeting

Shall the council:

108. Authorize the mayor to award the low bid of $419,313 to Colacurcio Brothers of Blaine for bike lanes? The project will add bike lanes to both sides of Ohio Street between Cornwall Ave. and Grant Street, including intersection improvements at Ellis, Franklin and Grant streets. In addition, pavement markings for regional bike boulevards will be added on Ellis, Grant, Illinois, Michigan and Texas streets, as well as a climbing lane on Lincoln Street and Meador Ave. The engineer’s estimate was $360,483. The city received two bids, the second bid was $441,641. (AB20861) Approved 7-0

109. Authorize the mayor to award the low bid of $1,864,945 to Trimaxx Construction of Sedro Woolley to reroute Squalicum Creek? Approximately 5,100 linear feet of new stream channel will allow the stream to bypass Sunset Pond between Bug Lake and Irongate Road and allow passage under Interstate 5. Phase 1 is Bug Lake to James Street. Phase 2 is James Street to Irongate Road. Portions of the old channels will be filled in, and large woody debris, habitat boulders and stream bed aggregate, a flood control levee and a fish barrier berm will be installed. The engineer’s estimate was $2,359,393. The city received five bids, the highest bid was $2,087,291. (AB20862) Approved 7-0

110. Authorize the mayor to award the low bid of $519,790 to Larry Brown Construction of Bellingham for pedestrian safety improvements? The project includes sidewalk installation, curb extensions, pedestrian ADA Ramps, crosswalks, lighting, and storm drainage improvements at the intersection of North State Street and East Laurel Street. The engineer’s estimate was $505,186. The city received two bids, the second bid was $522,378. (AB20874) Approved 7-0

111. Reject the current version of the interlocal agreement with Whatcom County for the proposed Whatcom County Jail? (AB20757) Approved 6-1, Gene Knutson opposed.

112. Ask the administration to renew discussions with the county government based on questions 3-6 of the core principles list? The core principles are: 1) can the city accept the location of the jail as proposed by the county? 2) can the city accept the size of the jail as proposed 3) will prevention and diversion programs be funded under the agreement and implemented with city representation? 4) will there be equitable contributions to the capital project and operation? 5) will operation funds and capital funds be separated? and 6) will the city have continued access to the facility and programs? (AB20757) Approved 6-1, Gene Knutson opposed.

113. Add another core principle to the list to ensure that any agreement made would preserve the city’s ability to meet its own public safety needs? (AB20757) Approved 6-1, Gene Knutson opposed.

114. Add to the core principle discussion list a requirement that there be a more equitable and non-regressive funding source? (AB20757) Approved 5-2. Pinky Vargas and Gene Knutson opposed.

115. Approve the mayor’s appointment of Alena Feeny to the Lake Whatcom Watershed Advisory Board? The board advises the city on the purchase, management, maintenance and use of properties within the Lake Whatcom watershed. Alena Feeny has lived in Bellingham for 15+ years and currently residents in the Columbia neighborhood. She is a graduate student with a master’s in strategic communications. This will be her first term; it will expire on 6/15/2018, at which time she may be reappointed. (AB20870) Approved 7-0

116. Appropriate $5,402,230 for goods and services checks issued from May 22 through June 4, 2015? (AB20871/20872) Approved 7-0

117. Authorize the mayor to award the lowest responsible bid of $178,461 to Northend Truck of Marysville for three dump truck bodies? Bids were received for the fabrication and installation of 2-yard dump bodies for the city’s Public Works fleet. These trucks will be outfitted to handle sander and snow plows for any snow event. The trucks will have the standard dump body for summer work. The city received two bids, Ferrotek Corporation of Ferndale submitted a lower bid but was considered nonresponsive because they did not include hydraulic components for sander and snowplow control. (AB20873) Approved 7-0

118. Adopt the annual six-year (2016-2021) transportation improvement program? (Public hearing held on June 1.) State law requires cities to update their six-year transportation program by July 1 of each year. The program provides a list of capital improvement projects and establishes the city’s eligibility for state and federal funds. Projects funded include street repaving, bridge repair, intersection, sidewalk and crosswalk maintenance, WTA expansion, and other transportation projects. The previous six-year program was adopted by the City Council at the 6/23/2014 meeting, vote #129. AB20847 (Resolution 2015-09) Approved 7-0

119. Acknowledge the contributions of Linda Anderson for her 13 years with the city of Bellingham? Linda handled contracts, deeds, agenda bills, ordinances, and resolutions; has served as the director of operations for all finance department potlucks and barbeques; and has served as secretary to the Police and Fire Pension Boards. She will be retiring this year. AB20858 (Resolution 2010-10) Approved 7-0

120. Implement the Fairhaven Parking Task Force report? The study indicated that the current parking supply in Fairhaven is adequate; however, the core (Zone 1) can be congested at peak times. The task force developed a phased approach to parking management strategies which include education, wayfinding, additional bike facilities, low-cost street improvements and enforced time-limited parking. Long term strategies consider paid parking and exploring construction of off-street facilities. AB20867 (Resolution 2015-11) Approved 7-0

121. Enact an emergency ordinance establishing interim zoning for the cultivation of medical marijuana for personal use and in collective gardens? At the 7/1/2013 meeting, vote #142-143, the council passed an emergency ordinance to impose a moratorium on the establishment of facilities producing, processing and retailing recreational marijuana. It was renewed at the 6/23/2014 meeting, vote #135, the 12/15/2014 meeting, vote #257, and the 1/26/2015 meeting, vote #21. Under new state legislation the entire medical marijuana system will now be under the jurisdiction of the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB), and a state licenses will be required for anyone making retail sales of medical marijuana or growing or processing medical marijuana for retail sale. Staff recommends adopting new emergency interim zoning and imposing the moratorium while the LCB finalizes its rulemaking. AB20869 (Emergency Ordinance 2015-06-022) Approved 7-0

122. Vacate an alley between Samish and 37th Streets south of Consolidation? Compensation will be provided by a trade for land of same or equal value along 37th Street. Vacation of this alley would consolidate properties in preparation for development and would allow widening of 37th Street by ten to eleven feet to improve access to developable land. AB20643 (Ordinance 2015-06-023) Approved 7-0

123. Rezone Area 9 in the Samish neighborhood from commercial, planned, non-retail to commercial, planned? AVT Consulting submitted a request for a site-specific rezone of Area 9 in the Samish Neighborhood on behalf of the property owners, Upside Partnership and the Bellingham Elks Lodge. Area 9 is located on Samish Way, south of the Elks Lodge and north of the Community Baptist Church. The applicant has indicated that developments will be intended to support a future multi-family project. AB20781 (Ordinance 2015-05-024) Approved 7-0

124. Rezone 801 Samish Way from residential, single to commercial, planned, office uses only? Pacific Harbor Holdings, LLC requested amendments to utilize the site’s existing building for a psychology practice. 801 Samish Way comprises approximately 1.9 acres and is located east of Area 9 in the Samish Neighborhood, it is south of the Ridgemont Village Condominiums. This property would become Area 10 of the Samish Neighborhood. The Planning Commission recommend approval of the change with the provision that only office uses be permitted in this area. AB20782 (Ordinance 2015-05-025) Approved 6-1, Terry Bornemann opposed.

125. Create Area 1A in the Samish Neighborhood? Amendments to the Samish Neighborhood Plan and the Bellingham Municipal Code will create a commercial land use designation and a commercial, planned zoning designation in Area 1A. AVT Consulting submitted a request for a comprehensive plan amendment and rezone of the eastern 1.6 acres of Area 1, of the Samish Neighborhood on behalf of the property owner. The Planning Commission recommend approval of the change and allow residential uses to be permitted outright instead of in conjunction with another use. At the 8/4/2014 meeting, vote #160, the council added this item to the 2014-2015 docket of proposed amendments to the Comprehensive Plan. AB20812 (Ordinance 2015-06-026) Approved 7-0

Back to Top of Story