29 Dec Commission Meeting Minutes 12-14-20
PORT COMMISSION OF THE PORT OF EDMONDS MINUTES OF MEETING
(Via Zoom) December 14, 2020
Jim Orvis, President
Angela Harris, Vice President
David Preston, Secretary
Bob McChesney, Executive Director
Brandon Baker, Marina Manager
Tina Drennan, Finance Manager
Brittany Williams, Manager of Properties and Marketing
Bradford Cattle, Port Attorney
CALL TO ORDER
President Orvis called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
All those in attendance participated in the Pledge of Allegiance to the American Flag.
COMMISSIONER FAIRES MOVED THAT THE CONSENT AGENDA BE APPROVED TO INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING ITEMS:
A. APPROVAL OF AGENDA
B. APPROVAL OF NOVEMBER 30, 2020 MEETING MINUTES
C. APPROVAL OF PAYMENTS IN THE AMOUNT OF $279,800.13
D. 2021 ELECTION OF OFFICERS
COMMISSIONER PRESTON SECONDED THE MOTION, WHICH CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
Susan Paine, Edmonds City Council, reported that Mayor Nelson has selected an outsider to be the City’s new Chief of Police. She explained that both candidates were strong, but she preferred Mr. Pruitt’s very human approach to policing. He answered questions better from a community standpoint than did the incumbent. She also reported that the City Council has put together the 2020 budget and will adopt the updated Capital Facilities and Capital Improvement Plans on December 15th. The legislative agenda for the next session will include Highway 99, the Edmonds Marsh, and more transportation projects for the City. On December 15th, the City Council will also discuss allowing restaurants in the downtown to establish streateries via conditional use permits.
Commissioner Faires requested an update on the proposed Comprehensive Plan amendments. Council Member Paine answered that all of the proposed amendments (3) were adopted. The Stormwater Master Plan and the Parks, Recreation and Open Space (PROS) Plan will be updated in 2021, and the City Council has also allocated money to update the Comprehensive Plan with a view to environment and equity aspects. Commissioner Faires asked if sea level rise would be addressed as part of the 2021 Comprehensive Plan update. Council Member Paine said the City will do a gap analysis for the environmental piece, and sea level rise will be included. However, she isn’t sure what will be included in the Stormwater Master Plan update. She summarized that stormwater, watersheds, and urban conservation are significant issues for all cities, particularly those near water.
Commissioner Preston asked if staff received any written comments prior to the meeting, and Mr. McChesney responded no.
CONTINUATION OF RESOLUTION NO. 20-03 DECLARING LOCAL EMERGENCY AND DELEGATION OF AUTHORITY
Mr. McChesney reported that there has been no action taken by the Executive Director under the special emergency delegation of authority to date.
2021 COMMISSION MEETING SCHEDULE – TO BE APPROVED AT JANUARY 11TH MEETING
Mr. McChesney referred to the 2021 Meeting Schedule, which was attached to the Staff Report. He advised that the schedule would be presented for final approval via resolution on January 11th. Commissioner Orvis noted that, once approved, the agenda could be modified throughout the year, as needed.
Commissioner Harris asked if the Commission plans to hold a retreat in 2021. Mr. McChesney responded that the Commission typically holds its retreat during the 1st quarter of each year. However, no date has been specified yet, nor has an agenda been prepared. Staff will work with the Commission President early next year to schedule the retreat and prepare an agenda. Commissioner Orvis invited the Commissioners to forward their suggested agenda items to staff as soon as possible.
Commissioner Preston suggested that they try to hold the retreat in person, following all of the current pandemic rules. The meeting could be available to the public via Zoom.
2021 COMMITTEE ASSIGNMENTS – TO BE APPROVED AT JANUARY 11TH MEETING
Mr. McChesney referred to the proposed 2021 Committee Assignments, which was attached to the Staff Report. He invited the Commissioners to share their suggestions, noting that the assignments would be presented for final approval on January 11th.
Commissioner Orvis pointed out that, traditionally, the Washington Public Port Association (WPPA) Trustee has been the Commission President. As proposed, the Commission President (Commissioner Harris) would serve as the alternate and he would serve as the trustee, which works fine for him.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S REPORT
Mr. McChesney provided a status report on the North Promenade and Seawall Reconstruction Project that is in the process of being refined. A group of consultants are getting ready to work on the project, and CG Engineering will be the lead consultant responsible for project coordination, project schedule, subconsultant coordination, topographical site feature map, bathymetry below the existing bulkhead, structural design, civil design and permits. Makers is the architect doing the Port Walk layout, security gates, garbage and recycling, and lighting and handrail. Landau Associates will do the geotechnical investigation, the biological investigation, Joint Aquatic Resource Permit Application (JARPA) coordination and submittal, and a mitigation plan, if required. Harbor Power will do the electrical upgrades and plumbing.
Mr. McChesney reported that he is happy with the progress that the consultants have made in terms of their respective scopes of work. Staff met with them last week to get a better handle on what the parameters of the promenade will be, since this will have a significant impact on engineering, as well. They don’t want to design something that cannot be permitted or that requires an extended process. There has been some general discussion about modifying the look of the promenade to include a few bump outs, similar to those at the south end. However, they have been advised by Landau Associates and other consultants that it would be a risky proposition and it would be better for the Port to stay with the plan-view layout as it exists without any modifications. He cautioned that even minor modifications would put the project in a different permit loop that would take more time and cost a lot more money. A collective decision has been made to maintain the current layout of the promenade and address the project as a reconstruction.
Commissioner Orvis said he can understand not having bump outs over the water, but he asked if changes could be made to the upland side to address gate interruptions, etc. Mr. McChesney expressed his belief that the Port would likely have a lot of latitude to make changes on the upland side with the gates, railing and lighting. However, the consultants are cautioning against changing the footprint to encroach further into the aquatic environment. The intent is to design a new railing system and gates. He explained that the issue with the current gates has to do with the electrical infrastructure. The transformers and switchgear are located inside the gates and that is why the gates have to protrude into the walkway, itself. The proposed conceptual strategy is to relocate the electrical service to the upland side, thereby relieving the need to have the gates protrude into the walking surface. He summarized that a lot can be done from a design standpoint without changing the footprint.
Commissioner Faires said he understands the reasoning for not changing the plan view over the marine environment. However, one of the problems that needs to be overcome is the narrowing of the walkway in the areas of the bump outs at the ends of the docks. He asked if one possible solution would be to make the north marina walkway something other than just straight. Perhaps it could bump out on the upland side into the parking lot to avoid the narrowing of the walkway. Mr. McChesney responded that, as long as they don’t create any additional coverage over the water, the Port can do what it wants on the upland side, but one design constraint is the parking lot. One idea is to relocate the transformer and switchgear to the parking lot, in the same area as the trash and recycling. However, he cautioned that the more you do in the parking lot, the less parking will be available to tenants. He concluded that these design issues are yet to be discovered, but the main point is that the footprint of anything that reaches out over the water needs to stay the same. Otherwise, it will create real problems from a permitting standpoint.
Commissioner Faires asked staff to challenge the designers to not only maintain the existing protrusion over the marine environment, but also make the resulting walkway close to the same width, even if it isn’t straight. Mr. McChesney responded that the resulting walkway would not be any narrower than it is right now. In fact, in some places it would be wider by eliminating the gates that reach out into the promenade. He felt the width issue could be adequately addressed during the design process.
Commissioner Johnston said he strongly applauds the approach recommended by the consultants to avoid any modifications that would extend the footprint of the promenade further out over the water. It makes a lot of sense from a permitting standpoint. He observed that Makers has a lot of experience designing very attractive elements in fairly confined spaces. The new promenade will be a great amenity. It will look a lot difference even though there will be no additional encroachment over the water, which he supports as a strategic direction.
Mr. McChesney shared the preliminary schedule for the project. Rather than lump everything under one contract, staff’s intent is to do each one separately so there is more control. This approach will also save the Port money. Staff expects to present a scope of work and budget for each of the contracts to the Commission for approval on January 11th. The goal is to have a 30% design drawing ready by early May 2021, and a JARPA application submitted to the Corps of Engineers by July. An Endangered Species Act review will also be required to guide the design and mitigation plan.
Mr. McChesney said he expects that the mitigation plan will be fairly straightforward, as long as the footprint isn’t changed. It might be as easy as removing some creosote piling. He said he doesn’t believe that off-site mitigation will be required. However, these requirements can only be discovered as they move through the process.
Mr. McChesney asked for direction from the Commissioners regarding the December 28th meeting. He reminded them that, due to a previous resolution, the Commission is no longer required to conduct a meeting to sign the payment vouchers. The Commissioners agreed to have a special meeting on December 28th at 9 a.m.
COMMISSIONER’S COMMENTS AND COMMITTEE REPORTS
Commissioner Johnston reported that he attended the WPPA Annual Meeting on December 2nd through 4th. Highlights from the event are available on the WPPA’s website. Lieutenant Governor Elect Denny Heck spoke about the upcoming legislative session, which will have a narrow focus, including transportation. Secretary of State Kim Wyman gave a great history lesson about women in government in Washington State. There was a discussion about clean energy opportunities and building equitable economies, too. Overall, the conference was well done.
Commissioner Johnston announced that he would attend the WPPA Roundtable on December 15th where Washington State Secretary of Transportation Roger Millar will talk about the focus of the 2021 legislative session as it pertains to transportation. He also announced that he started judging the Engineering and Environmental Awards for the State of Washington. There were only 16 submittals, which is the lowest ever. Of the 16 submittals, two were related to public ports.
Commissioner Preston reported that he attended the WPPA Annual Meeting. He announced that he would attend the Economic Alliance of Snohomish County’s (EASCs) Coffee Chat on December 15th. He also reported that he attended a very lively and robust City Council Meeting via Zoom on December 8th.
Commissioner Preston commended staff to creating and sending out a great postcard. It got the message out in a short and sweet fashion.
Commissioner Faires said he also attended the WPPA Annual Meeting, which was well done.
Commissioner Harris said she also participated in the WPPA Annual Meeting and was able to take a lot of notes. She commented that she missed attending in person, since she is always able to get a lot of information via conversations with other attendees. She announced that she would attend the WPPA Roundtable on December 15th, too. In addition, she plans to reach out to the WPPA to learn more about other committees the Port might want to become involved in, particularly those related to the environment.
Commissioner Orvis advised that he also attended the WPPA Annual Meeting. He agreed that a lot is missed by not being able to meet together in person, but the WPPA has done a good job of holding virtual meetings that are productive for those who attend. The EASC has done a good job with their coffee chats, too. He said he attended a EASC Coffee Chat where the Chief Executive Officer of Sound Transit provided an update. He learned that riding on mass transit is about like being in a modern office building in downtown from an air-quality and health-safety perspective. He also learned that the Lynnwood light rail link is fully funded for 2024, but all bets are off for anything further north unless additional funding is identified. Light rail service from Northgate will open in September of 2021.
Commissioner Orvis announced that he would attend the EASC’s Coffee Chat on December 15, too.
The Commission meeting was adjourned at 7:40 p.m.
David Preston, Port Commission Secretary