14 Dec Commission Meeting Minutes 11-29-21
PORT COMMISSION OF THE PORT OF EDMONDS MINUTES OF SPECIAL MEETING
November 29, 2021
Angela Harris, President
David Preston, Vice President
Steve Johnston, Secretary
Bob McChesney, Executive Director
Brandon Baker, Marina Manager
Tina Drennan, Finance Manager
Vivian Olson, Edmonds City Council
Bradford Cattle, Port Attorney
CALL TO ORDER
President Harris called the regular meeting to order at 6:30 p.m.
Commissioner Harris announced that the Commission would recess into an Executive Session pursuant to RCW 42.30.110(1)(g) to review the performance of a public employee. She advised that the Executive Session would last approximately 30 minutes, and the Commission would resume the public portion of the meeting after the Executive Session. She further advised that no action would be taken after the Executive Session.
The Executive Session was adjourned at 6:57 p.m., and the business portion of the special meeting was reconvened at 7:00 p.m.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
All those in attendance participated in the Pledge of Allegiance to the American Flag.
COMMISSIONER ORVIS MOVED THAT THE CONSENT AGENDA BE APPROVED TO INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING ITEMS:
A. APPROVAL OF AGENDA
B. APPROVAL OF NOVEMBER 8, 2021 MEETING MINUTES, AS SUBMITTED
C. APPROVAL OF PAYMENTS IN THE AMOUNT OF $653.770.94
D. AUTHORIZATION FOR EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR TO WRITE OFF $9,831.66
E. PERSONNEL POLICY UPDATES
COMMISSIONER FAIRES SECONDED THE MOTION, WHICH CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
Mr. McChesney advised that there was one written comment, which had to do with security issues that would not be appropriate to discuss in a public meeting. A former part-time security guard resigned his position after just two weeks. Following his resignation, he wrote some comments, thanking the Port and sharing comments relative to the Port’s security arrangements.
There were no other public comments.
PUBLIC HEARING ON REDISTRICTING PLAN
Commissioner Harris reviewed the rules and procedures for the hearing and then opened the hearing.
Ms. Drennan advised that the Redistricting Plan has been available on the website since November 9, 2021, and the public hearing was advertised in THE EVERETT HERALD and MY EDMONDS NEWS on November 19th as per Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 29A.76.010. She recalled that the plan was presented to the Commissioners at a previous meeting. As proposed, the plan would adjust the boundaries to make them more equal. If there are no further changes requested by the Commissioners, staff will recommend approval of the plan on December 13th.
Commissioner Orvis asked why a small area along Main Street didn’t have a designation, and Ms. Drennan answered that area is Yost Park where there is no residential development.
There were no public comments, and Commissioner Harris closed the hearing.
HARBOR SQUARE CAPITAL MAINTENANCE
Mr. McChesney reviewed that the Harbor Square Business Park was designed and constructed in the 1980s under a ground lease with a private developer, and the Port took ownership of the buildings in 2006 as settlement from a legal dispute with the original owners. Since that time, the Port has been implementing a capital replacement strategy for worn out and/or obsolete capital equipment, such as HVAC, roofs, and other building systems. He shared photographs of atrium window in three of the buildings that have failing seals causing water intrusion inside tenant-occupied spaces. Port staff has used various methods to repair the problems, but nothing has proven to be a cost-effective solution. The windows are past their useful life and need to be replaced.
Mr. McChesney said staff does not believe it would be cost effective to replace the atrium windows in kind, as it would be expensive and could repeat the same problems. Staff had a preliminary discussion with CG Engineers about the best way to replace the windows and still preserve the architectural character of the buildings. The current proposal is to remove the old windows, frame in the openings, construct a new shed roof over the top (raised-seam metal in a color to match the existing coping), and then install new energy-efficient windows. He said project planning will include a phased replacement schedule and a cost recovery plan.
Commissioner Faires asked if all the tenants have been apprised of the proposed window replacement. Mr. McChesney said two of the groups of windows are located in spaces that are currently unoccupied, and they would be done first. However, some tenants may have to be relocated as the project moves forward. Although the project wasn’t included in the 2022 Budget, he recommended that they move forward with the first phase of the project next year. Commissioner Faires asked if any of the tenants would object to losing the atrium windows, and Mr. McChesney answered no.
Commissioner Preston asked if the business owners who occupy the spaces would be invited to provide input. Mr. McChesney cautioned against getting the tenants involved in project design since there aren’t a lot of design options that don’t require major changes. He expressed his belief that the end result will look nice, and he anticipates the tenants will like it a lot. Once the atrium windows have been replaced, the Port will be caught up in terms of the integrity of the Harbor Square Buildings.
Commissioner Orvis asked if there would be any value in replacing the windows sequentially, using the same contractor. Mr. McChesney agreed that, if it is determined to be practical, they could use one contractor for the entire project and then work with the contractor to come up with a sequencing plan. Commissioner Faires asked if it would be possible to bid the entire project out at one time, with a phasing plan, and Mr. McChesney answered affirmatively and agreed that could make a lot of sense. Ms. Drennan cautioned that the contractor may not want to hold the quote for the later phases because the cost of materials and labor is fluctuating.
Mr. McChesney advised that CG Engineering will do the design work, and permits will be required from the City of Edmonds. He hopes the project will not require Architectural Design Board review. The goal is to move the project forward as expeditiously as possible. He anticipates the greatest challenge will be tenant disruption, but staff will work with tenants to minimize the impacts.
ELECTION OF OFFICERS PRELIMINARY 2022
Mr. McChesney reviewed that the RCW requires that the Port elect its President and a Secretary to serve as officers for the upcoming year, and the Port of Edmonds also elects a Vice President, who will act as president pro-tem in the absence of the elected president. Staff anticipates that the election of 2022 officers will take place at the Commission’s December 13th meeting.
CITY OF EDMONDS REPORT
Council Member Olson announced that the City Council only has one committee report meeting and one regular meeting remaining in 2021.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S REPORT
Mr. McChesney noted that the Port is decorating its facilities for the holidays, and preparations are being made for the Edmonds Yacht Club’s Holiday on the Docks Event.
COMMISSIONER’S COMMENTS AND COMMITTEE REPORTS
Commissioner Preston reported that he attended roundtable events sponsored by the Washington Public Port Association (WPPA) and the Economic Alliance of Snohomish County (EASC). At the WPPA event, Senator Mullet and Representative Ryu talked about infrastructure items and economic development. He appreciated Senator Mullet’s comment that the state cannot fix the housing problem. The problem is too complex, and the government can only be part of the problem-solving mechanism.
Commissioner Preston reported that he accompanied Joe Scordino to view coho and chum salmon in the creek he used to fish in, walking from Caspers Street down to the salt water. He used polarized glasses to see into the water better. He recalled that there was no salmon in the creek for many years until they started doing the pens and a commercial fisherman released salmon into the creek in the early 80s.
Commissioner Orvis reminded the Commissioners of a letter from the WPPA, seeking feedback on legislative priorities for 2022. He said he chose infrastructure, funding for ports, small works contracts and transportation funding and package. He advised there is a piece of legislation related to public hearing requirements using technology during public meetings where the board and attendees are all remote and how to get the public involved. He expressed his belief that the Port is way ahead of the curve.
Commissioner Orvis said he also attended the WPPA meeting where Representative Ryu and Senator Mullet spoke, and he agreed with the comments made earlier by Commissioner Preston. The state has put a lot of money into housing, yet it seems to have created more problems than those being resolved. Transportation will be a major focus of the legislature in 2022. The big crisis items are culverts, deferred maintenance and the ferry system. Broadband will be funded at $50 million to match federal money.
Commissioner Orvis commented that, at the State of the Station (Navy) Address, it was reported that business at the Port of Everett has increased. With its new cranes, the port can handle 53-foot containers and panamax ships. These are being looked at to take some pressure off of freight mobility, but other problems with rail cars, etc. will persist. Everett has been designated a strategic sea port, one of only 11 in the country, because it has a shipyard that is growing, a Navy base, large cranes that can handle shipping containers, and rail cars. In the long term, the carrier will not return, but the first of the Constellation Class frigates is going to come in 2026. Everett will be the home port for the squadron and maybe the commissioning port, which will lead to additional housing problems. Commissioner Preston asked how many new residents are anticipated as a result of the new frigate that will come to Everett in 2026, and Commissioner Orvis answered about 2,000. Commissioner Johnston asked how many destroyers and frigates will be based in Everett at full component, and Commissioner Orvis answered about 12 (6 destroyers and 6 frigates).
Commissioner Orvis said that he also attended the State of the Schools event, where the focus of discussion was on staff shortages. It was reported that 51% of the support staff did not return in September.
Commissioner Faires observed that government is inefficient and suffers from the inability to do long-range planning. They do things to patch up and keep things going in the short term, but they are not good for the long-term.
Commissioner Johnston advised that he would participate in the EASC’s November 30th Coffee Chat on transit planning.
Commissioner Johnston referred to Commissioner Orvis’ earlier comment about culverts being a topic of legislative discussion and recalled that the project is anticipated to cost $4 billion. He also agreed with Commissioner Orvis that the Port is well ahead of the curve when it comes to conducting public meetings, particularly public hearings. It is much more difficult for the smaller ports to conduct public meetings virtually.
Commissioner Harris announced that she would attend the WPPA’s Annual Meeting later in the week. She suggested the Commission have a discussion at some point in the near future about when to transition their meetings to a hybrid format that allows both Zoom and in-person attendance options.
The Commission meeting was adjourned at 8:01 p.m.
Port Commission Secretary