This week's City Council meeting will start at 5:00 p.m. on Monday and will be held remotely via Microsoft Teams. To join the live event, click here: Attendee Link

Members of the public are encouraged to submit written comments to City Clerk Susan Duncan by emailing Comments received prior to 4:30 p.m. on Monday will be included in the meeting record.

Ferndale City Council actions have major impacts on our community. Yet participating in our government isn’t always easy. I am committed to seeking out your input because I firmly believe your voice adds value. Please read my current position and let me know if you agree, disagree, or have a better idea. It is essential that you know that my position can be influenced by your responses. I will combine this information with all other information available to me (public comments at the Council meeting, City Staff input, etc.) before I make my final decision. Thank you!

Ryan O'Larey - Ferndale City Council Position 5

A few ground rules before you get started:

1. Be kind, be respectful, be honest, and be concise.
2. Do not participate if you are a Ferndale City Council member.
3. I will not create surveys for quasi-judicial issues (for legal reasons).
4. Survey responses may be subject to FOIA requests, but will otherwise remain anonymous.

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* 1. I live: (Select the best option for your situation.)

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* 2. Ferndale Skate Park Fund (link pg 14):

Ferndale proposed a Skate Park to the State for funding. Our City staff and local State Representatives in 2021 delivered on getting that approved with a huge portion (85%) of the funds coming from the State's Recreation and Conservation Office. This project was part of a state-wide competitive process where different project applications are rated and funds are awarded only to the top rated projects. The remaining 15% will come from local donors and Park Impact fees. Park Impact fees are charged to developments and are "use it or lose it" with the requirement that they are used on park projects. They cannot be transferred to non-park projects or the general fund. I'm very excited to say that the City will begin design in 2021 and construct the park in 2021. The "Metalworks Skate Park" will be located near the baseball fields at Pioneer Park and will give the youth of Ferndale an great place to work on their skateboard, rollerblade, scooter, and bike skills. 

The City Council already previously voted at approve going forward with this project. The action that we are voting on is simply to create a separate fund in our financial records to track these project costs in one place. This allows for easier auditing and transparency for this project work and its associated costs, which I think is an excellent practice for responsible City governance. I am in favor of creating a separate fund for the Metalworks Skate Park.

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* 3. Ferndale/Bellingham Water Intertie Design Contract (link pg 16):

Ferndale does not currently have any emergency connections to surrounding community water systems capable of meeting demands of Ferndale (household water use, fire protection, etc.) in the event of a supply interruption. This is a risk that has been identified and evaluated for a number of years. As Bellingham expands northward, it has created an opportunity for Ferndale to tie into that Bellingham system which is capable of providing Ferndale with emergency water service. The two cities have entered into an interlocal agreement that would allow the connection to occur.

What we are voting on is an approval of the design and engineering contract work with Wilson Engineering. This work will include development of 100% bid-ready plans, construction cost estimates, a geotechnical report, and a final project report. The cost of the work is $308k (with contingency built in). This leaves ~$900k for construction out of the already budgeted $1.2M plan. This work was already forecasted and was included in the current water rates.

Since this is work that was already forecasted, budgeted for, and is an excellent opportunity to protect Ferndale in the case of an emergency loss of local water service, I am in favor of approving this contract.

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* 4. Shoreline Master Program Update (link):

The City Staff and the Ferndale Planning Commission have been working on updates to the Shoreline Master Program (SMP) which has a state deadline of June 30, 2021. This program sets standards for development within 200 feet of State-designated water bodies. In our case, this is the Nooksack river and a variety of streams and wetlands within the 100-year floodplain that are hydraulically connected to the Nooksack river.

The original SMP was written 15 years ago and there are several updates that are necessary. There are also some elective updates that Planning Commission is recommending. The necessary updates include things like incorporating the current Ecology requirements, updating our zoning to match updated information, and reducing the amount of developable area from 20% to 10% in conservancy zones. Elective changes include formatting updates, eliminating the 200' buffer around wetlands (which are potential wetlands not actual wetlands), doubling the developable area on non-conservancy zoned areas, and eliminating the reduced building height limitations in the shoreline area.

All of these changes have been pre-approved by Ecology and are supported by the Planning Commission. There is a lot more detail in the link above if you're interested. I find these changed to be rational and appropriate. Therefore I am in favor of the updates, but I will take into account any testimony at the public hearing on this topic on Monday.

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* 5. Old Settlers Picnic Fireworks Permit (link):

The Old Settlers have requested a permit to allow a professional fireworks display as part of the Old Settlers Picnic on July 24, 2021. The Old Settlers have submitted a valid application and the groups responsible for reviewing the application have completed their review and recommend approval including the Fire Marshal and City Staff. 

The location of the firework display is in the open grass area southwest of the baseball fields at Pioneer Park. This location is far from any privately owned structure but is still viewable from the Pioneer park area (and probably a lot of the city). Additionally, the pyrotechnics company has provided evidence of liability insurance.

The City Council is essentially limited to approval or remanding it back to the review groups if we find an error in the application. I am not aware of any errors and therefore I am in favor of approval.

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* 6. Please let me know if you have any other comments. I encourage you to be respectful.

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* 7. If you did not receive a survey via email, but would like to receive future surveys via email, please add your contact information below. I strongly suggest doing this so that you will automatically receive the survey rather than having to search it out. An additional benefit to signing up is that you will receive an after-Council email that summarizes the Council vote(s) and survey responses. If you have signed up but did not receive this survey in your email, please let me know (and also check to see if it went to your junk/spam inbox).

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