Citizen Journalism: Port of Bellingham Meeting Report for Sept. 4, 2018

In Local Government, News by commonnw

The public meeting was called to order at 3:30 pm and immediately recessed to a closed executive session so board members could discuss potential litigation. The meeting reconvened at 4:30 pm. Board President Ken Bell, Vice President Bobby Briscoe and Secretary Michael Bell were all present. No action was taken during the closed executive session.

Link to Sept. 4th Agenda
Port of Bellingham Full Meeting Video:
Ten items were on the consent agenda. Approvals on a 3-0 vote were the following:
  • An Airport Concession Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (ACDBE) Program statement for the Bellingham International Airport
  • Developing the Draft Cleanup Action Plan at the Central Waterfront Site
  • A change to the Professional Services Agreement with Coffman Engineers for the Fairhaven Marine Industrial Park (FMIP) Sprinkler Systems Replacement project
  • A change to the Professional Services Agreement with Pacific Surveying & Engineering, Inc. for the Extended Sidewalk Mitchell Way project
  • A Modification of Lease between the Port of Bellingham and Seaview Yacht Services Fairhaven, Inc. for premises at the FMIP
  • A Harbor Land Lease between the Port of Bellingham and The Landings at Colony Wharf, LLC for premises at F Street
  • The Airport Industrial Park Lease between the Port of Bellingham and Sofie’s Properties, LLC
  • and a Modification of Conservation Restrictions Agreement on property at the Bellingham International Airport (BLI). Bell said it looks like improvements to FMIP buildings could come in under budget.
Presentations –

AECOM, a multinational engineering firm, gave a presentation on the Bellingham International Airport (BLI) Master Plan. The Master Plan identifies future improvements needed for the airport based on safety, capacity and demand. The Port has been studying and adding recommendations to the plan for the last 18 months. The Master Plan is funded through FAA AIP grant 54 which is 90% eligible for reimbursement to the Port by the FAA. Total cost for the project is approximately $500,000 in which the Port is responsible for $50,000.

Video of the Sept. 4, 2018 Port Commission Meeting: AECOM’s presentation on the BLI Master Plan

Board President Bell briefly closed the public meeting and opened a public hearing on the BLI Master Plan but nobody came up to speak. Bell then closed the hearing and reconvened the public meeting.

Action Items –

First Item: Accept and Approve the BLI Airport Master Plan and Airport Layout Plan as presented by AECOM, and authorize submission of the plan for Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval. Approved 3-0.

Second Item: Authorize the Executive Director to execute a Professional Services Agreement with Mead & Hunt to provide engineering consulting services for the Runway Safety Area at the Bellingham International Airport. The Runway Safety Area is 4,350,000 square feet with approximately 5,000 square feet in the Northeast corner not meeting FAA standards. This area overlaps with the I-5 Right of Way. The potential solutions have been narrowed to an earthen embankment or retaining wall. Director of Aviation, Sunil Harman, said this study would be followed by an environmental review, design process, and then construction. He said it could be a 3-year process. Approved 3-0.

Third Item: Authorize the Executive Director to execute a Professional Services Agreement with K Engineers for the Bellingham Shipping Terminal Re-Power Warehouse 1 & Berth 1 project. This project is the third phase of work to replace overhead power and telecommunication utilities with underground utilities at the Bellingham Shipping Terminal (BST) to improve service. Previous work has installed underground conduit for power and telecommunications. Approved 3-0.

More Presentations –

The board then heard a presentation on the Economic Development Update. Don Goldberg, the Port’s Director of Economic Development, talked about steps they are taking to retain existing businesses and attract new businesses to the area. Ideas included a plan to bring more doctors to the Blaine area, attracting tech companies in niche markets like cyber security and artificial intelligence, bringing broadband internet service to the community, finding industries for Cherry Point that aren’t fossil fuel related, opportunity zones, and attracting more Canadian business partners.

Video of the Sept. 4, 2018 Port Commission Meeting: Economic Development Update presentation

After a 5-min. break the board reconvened the meeting to a public hearing session, but once again nobody got up to speak.

Next was the presentation on the draft Airport Rules and Regulations Update and general aviation update. Aaron Collins said the airport is federally obligated to have updated Rules and Regulations, and the current Rules and Regulations which were approved in 1997 are outdated. He said they have held more than 10 public meetings over the last 10 months taking comments and working on drafts of the update. The 6th draft will be released in a couple weeks.

Video of presentation: Airport Rules and Regulations Update
Other Business –
During other business the Commissioners discussed two ideas:

1) Commissioner Shepard expressed interest in using Port property for a dry stack storage facility for boats. Commissioner Briscoe said the Port doesn’t have much space and dry stack storage does not put very many people to work.

Video of meeting discussion about dry stack storage facilities

2) Commissioner Bell said he would like to see the Port’s logo redesigned and that he didn’t like the “white flags of surrender” on the current logo. Others suggested it could be made part of a broader marketing effort.

Meeting was adjourned at 6:45 pm.

– Submitted by a Citizen Journalist for Common Threads NW