Commission Meeting Minutes 2-13-23

Commission Meeting Minutes 2-13-23

(Via Zoom, Hybrid Meeting)February 13, 2023

Steve Johnston, President
Jim Orvis, Vice President
Jay Grant, Secretary
Angela Harris
David Preston

Bob McChesney, Executive Director
Brandon Baker, Director of Marina Operations
Tina Drennan, Manager of Finance and Accounting
Brittany Williams, Manager of Properties and Economic Development

Jordan Stephens, Port Attorney
Dave Teitzel, Edmonds City Council


President Johnston called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.


All those in attendance participated in the Pledge of Allegiance to the American Flag.






Joe Scordino, Edmonds, said he is more than impressed with the Port’s employees. He launches his boat each year at the hoist, and the operating staff is the best ever. They go out of their way to serve customers. He referred to a letter he sent in November 2022, asking that the Port consider taking over the fishing pier. He suggested the Port could do a much better job managing the fishing pier, making it a vibrant place for both tourists and people who fish. Lastly, he said he was present to hear the presentation about the Dayton Street Pump Station. He reminded them that he has been leading a restoration project on SR-104, opening up the freshwater connection into the marsh. His project is directly connected to the flooding issue, and there is more to it than just getting the water flowing into the marsh. The area has been influenced from years of water flowing north to Dayton Street, and opening the channel isn’t sufficient during heavy rain. He tried walking through the area in the summer and sank to his knees in wet mud, which means it is really holding water. More technical measures must be taken to get the water flowing through the culverts. He has been working with the Washington State Department of Transportation for two years to get the culverts fully open, and they are still promising to take a look at it. He said he would be happy to provide a briefing to the Commission upon request.

Mr. McChesney said the Port has noticed the fine work that Mr. Scordino has done on SR-104. He said the Port would take his request regarding the fishing pier under advisement but explained that it isn’t currently under Port ownership or included the Port’s Comprehensive Scheme of Harbor Improvements. Lastly, he thanked him for his comments regarding the service provided by Port staff.


Mr. McChesney advised that representatives from the City of Edmonds were present to discuss the operations and engineering of the Dayton Street Stormwater Pump Station, which has caused some amount of concern and confusion since the last storm event. He introduced Oscar Antillon, Public Works Director; Rob English, City Engineer; and Mike De Lilla, Senior Utilities Engineer and shared information on each of their education, work experience and current responsibilities.

Mr. De Lilla shared the timeline for the Dayton Pump Station Project, which started with a generic basin study that covered Shellebarger Creek, Dayton Pump Station Basin, Willow Creek, and some of the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) pipes that bisect the marsh. This was followed by a more specific pump station design and study, with a focus on solving as many issues as possible within the limits of the basin. From there, plans were drafted and the project went out to bid in January 2020. Construction of the pump station was completed in July 2021.

Mr. De Lilla shared a map outlining the study recommendations, which included the Dayton Street Pump Station and adding connections from both Salish Crossing and Harbor Square to the Dayton Street System. The ferry holding lanes were originally designed to drain towards to the Edmonds Marsh, which ended up short-circuiting how the marsh behaves. A portion of the water from the marsh now heads to the north, even during dry times of the year. They are currently seeking approval from WSDOT to berm off this outfall so the ferry holding lanes north of Dayton Street discharge into the system. They are also seeking approval from WSDOT to excavate where the culverts cross SR-104 so that water can flow more freely. The study recommended a number of actions related to the marsh to address the culverts and discharge from Harbor Square, as well as daylighting Willow Creek. There were also recommendations to build berms along the north end of the marsh so that water would not spill to the north and into the pump station.

Mr. De Lilla explained that the big issue now is that water from the marsh spills to the north and into the pump station. While the pump can handle some of this flow, it cannot handle it all, especially if the tide is super high. The study included a few other recommendations that would help for a short period of time, but the work would have to be undone to accommodate the future marsh project. These short-term projects are not currently being pursued.

Mr. De Lilla shared photographs and anecdotal evidence from the December 27th storm showing water gurgling out of catch basins due to high tide, low atmospheric pressure, a large storm event in a short period of time, and saturated ground conditions. Water from all basins drained towards the pump station, which was operational and could have handled the water from the intended basins. However, the water couldn’t properly drain because the Sound overtopped the system. He said he thinks of this situation as a first test of sea level rise, and they need to start thinking about having higher walls. Because the outfalls are gravity fed, the pipes will fill up and not discharge when the sea level is high. A pump station would be needed at every outfall to address these extreme circumstances.

Mr. De Lilla said National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicted tides of 12.5 feet for December 27th, and the actual tides were between 15 and 17 feet. All of the City’s systems are designed for a maximum 15-foot tide, which means the tides were above the level of the seawalls. A regional low pressure caused localized water levels to increase and wave action headed towards the shore. About 0.6 inches of rain fell on December 27th between 6:45 a.m. and 7:30 a.m., and the ground was already saturated due to melting snow and ice so the rainfall instantly became runoff. Again, he said both pumps at the station operated continuously, but the system could not keep up.

Mr. McChesney asked if a larger pump would address the issue. Mr. De Lilla said a large enough pump could be built, but once the Sound starts coming in, it would simply recycle the water. Even if they built a larger pump, a lot more pressure head would be needed to make it function properly and not burn out. If you build a pump big enough to handle extreme situations, it will throw the water out quickly during low flows and then turn off. This would be repeated over and over until the engine is burned out. He recalled that the system was designed to be underground, and any larger pump would need to be located above ground in a very large building. Even if they were to build a large pump, they would also need a large amount of storage (reservoir) to get the water into the pump. The current piping system is only so big.

Mr. McChesney commented that Mr. De Lilla’s explanation dispels the notion that the pump isn’t big enough. As noted by Mr. De Lilla, Mr. Antillon said the pump was designed to address stormwater from a few areas. They must consider the fact that the sea level is rising. In addition, he pointed out that the marsh is not functioning properly as a natural marsh. Rather than filling and draining quickly during a high tide, the marsh fills and drains slowly due to restrictions. Rather than flowing into the marsh, the water flows into the Dayton Street System. Mr. De Lilla cautioned against building a larger pump to address future problem, noting that the water is supposed to drain into the marsh. Allowing the marsh to dry up would be completely opposite of what they want to do.

Commissioner Grant asked if climate change was considered as part of the original parameters of the study, and Mr. De Lilla answered yes, it was based of the current Best Available Science (BAS) in 2015. Commissioner Grant said he sits on the National Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Stakeholders Group in Law Enforcement, which has been working with the current administration for more than two years to address climate change. He asked when the study was conducted, and Mr. De Lilla answered that it ended in 2016. Commissioner Grant commented that, since that time, FEMA has added a number of new requirements related to flooding that impacted the Puget Sound significantly. He asked if the City is familiar with these changes. Mr. Antillon said he has looked at the FEMA maps and models that have been done for Puget Sound, but there aren’t any for the Edmonds area yet.

Commissioner Grant pointed out that the flood shut down at least one business at Harbor Square for the day. He questioned how this might impact the ability to obtain insurance. He noted that the water went all the way to the railroad ties and asked how the City anticipates the problem will eventually be resolved. Mr. Antillon responded that the railroad tracks currently serve as a berm for the water. The work being done by Mr. Scordino and his group has resulted in better flow, but silt in the marsh results in significant flow restriction. Mr. De Lilla reminded the Commission that the City has dealt with the things it can control. Raising the berms, cleaning the outfalls, etc. must happen as part of a full plan and will require coordination with WSDOT, Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) and others.

Commissioner Grant asked if the issue would be addressed as part of the Comprehensive Waterfront Plan, which the City is currently working to update. Mr. De Lilla responded that because much of the work must be coordinated with WSDOT, BNSF and others, he doesn’t see how a specific plan could be included because a lot of items are outside of the City’s control. He said the City is doing its best to call WSDOT’s attention to the problem, recognizing that they are also dealing with flooding issues in areas outside of Edmonds. Mr. Antillon added that WSDOT has a vested interest to address the problem, as the flooding blocks the ferry holding lanes. Any help the Port can provide will be important.

Commissioner Grant observed that there have recently been a lot of fires with electric cars due to flooding in Florida. He said it would have been very difficult for someone with an electric car to get through the water on the roadway to access the ferry. He reminded them that the goal is that 30% of the cars sold in the United States will be electric by 2030.

Commissioner Preston asked where the berms would be located. Mr. De Lilla shared potential locations for the berms based on best available data, but he emphasized they haven’t done actual surveys yet. He also pointed out where special tide gates might be located.

Commissioner Preston pointed out that, in addition to the storm, there were a number of other events that collided at one time. He asked the odds of that happening again in his lifetime, and Mr. De Lilla said the odds are good that it will. The odds are also good that it will happen in the winter when the earth is closer to the sun and the tides tend to be higher.
Commissioner Preston pointed out that all of the paved areas, from the ferry holding lanes and up the hill, are causing part of the problem. Mr. De Lilla agreed but added that the groundwater in the bowl area is super high, 1 to 2 feet below grade, depending on the time of year.

Commissioner Johnston summarized that they can expect several more events like this over the next few years. Mr. De Lilla agreed that is possible. Prior to the pump station being operational, the Public Works Department was responding to flooding from Dayton Street every high tide. For the more frequent storms, the situation has improved due to the pump station.

Mr. Scordino said he pointed out to WSDOT that there is a new crack across SR-104 that is between their two pipes. During the recent storm event, the water was all the way up to the top of the pipes but not going over. The increased flow tore out the sediment along the pipe, undercutting the highway. He thought they might react to the crack in the road, but that wasn’t the case.

Mr. McChesney thanked Mr. Antillon, Mr. De Lilla and Mr. English for their presentation and offered the Port’s assistance in future collaboration to come up with solutions.


Ms. Drennan reported that she has been working with Snohomish County staff to obtain a $250,000 grant from the Coronavirus Recovery Fund since May of 2022. She noted that the Federal Government issued a notice of availability prior to identifying eligibility, and a lot of review was required to ensure that the Port was in compliance with the terms and conditions. She had specific concern about the item pertaining to lobbying, but she was able to verify that the Port would be required to submit the certification regarding lobbying and agree that the $250,000 received from Snohomish County would not be used for lobbying. The Port would use the $250,000 to reimburse for staffing and related benefits to support the Port’s public purpose. She summarized that the Port Attorney has reviewed the Interlocal Agreement and approved to form only. The documentation is now ready for the Commission to approve, and then staff will work to get it signed.

Mr. McChesney asked if Commission approval of the Interlocal Agreement would provide assurance that the Port would receive the grant funds or if the agreement is just another step along the path. Ms. Drennan said her understanding is that the money has been allocated to the Port and it is now a matter of getting the agreement signed, followed by staff filling out and submitting the reimbursement forms and other required documentation.

Commissioner Preston asked if the Interlocal Agreement would pertain to this one event only, and Ms. Drennan answered affirmatively.

Mr. McChesney commented that Ms. Drennan has been working very hard on the grant application over the last several months. He commended her for her work. The Commissioners concurred.



Ms. Drennan presented the Preliminary 2022 Annual Report, noting that all major transactions that staff is aware of have been recorded. She explained that, occasionally in the process of preparing the final annual report in the Budgeting, Accounting and Reporting (BARS) format in the next couple of months, other transactions that need to be adjusted or recorded come up. If there are any changes, staff will notify the Commission when the 2022 Annual Report is presented.

Ms. Drennan advised that revenues generally trended upward to a high of $11.5 million in 2022, and expenses ranged from $6.5 million to $8.2 million. She noted that this is a bit misleading as in 2020 the Port recorded a negative pension expense of $233,000, and in 2021 it recorded a negative pension expense of $638,000 and a negative other post-employment benefits expense of $309,000. In 2022, there was a negative pension expense of $275,000 and a negative post-employment benefit expense of $253,000. These negative expenses are book-only transactions and do not really reflect the Port’s revenues, expenses or net income for 2022. They are simply Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) requirements that are supposed to make financial statements look more transparent. The Port did not experience a reduction in outgoing cash of $528,000 in 2022, and it didn’t have any control or influence on either of those transactions. She summarized that, without the negative expenses, the Port’s expenses would be $7 million, $7.4 million and $8.2 million over the past three years. She noted that the cost of fuel was also high in 2022, creating an additional $512,000 in revenue and $536,000 in expenses.

As inflation has dramatically increased since 2021, Ms. Drennan provided a graph showing the Port’s revenues and net income as adjusted by CPI, using 2018 as the base period. Adjusted by CPI, revenues averaged $9.7 million, and expenses averaged $6.7 million. She reported that net income ranged between $2.6 million and $4 million. Without the negative expenses, the Port’s net income for 2020, 2021 and 2022 would be $2.6 million, $3.0 million and $2.8 million respectively. As adjusted for CPI, net income ranged from $2.6 million to $3.7 million. Revenues were $846,000 greater than budget and expenses were $239,000 greater than budget. Without the negative expense, 2022 expenses were $767,000 greater than budget. Gross profit for the 12-month period was $9.4 million or $620,000 greater than budget. Net income for the same period was $3.3 million. Without the negative expense, net income was $2.8 million. She highlighted the following:

Marina Operations Revenue
• Net Fuel Sales revenue was $302,712 and the budget was $231,000. The variance was about $72,000 or 31% greater than budget.
• Net Guest Moorage revenue was $237,884 and the budget was $194,000, resulting in a positive variance of $43,884 or 23%.
• Permanent Moorage revenue was $4,196,383 and the budget was $4,120,000, which is a variance of $76,383 or 2% greater than budget.
• Passenger Fee revenue was $60,950 and the budget was $48,000. This resulted in a positive variance of $12,950 or 27%.
• Dry Storage revenue was $892,356 and the budget was $800,000 so the variance was $92,356 positive or 12% over budget.
• Parking revenue was $165,111 and the budget was $99,000. This resulted in a positive variance of $66,111 or 67%. This is primarily due to the increase in fees and activity for Puget Sound Express.
• Travelift revenue was $165,032 and the budget was $140,000, which equates to a positive variance of $25,032 or 18%.
• Workyard revenue was $174,278 and the budget was $128,000, resulting in a positive variance of $46,278 or 36%.
• Permanent Moorage financial occupancy was budgeted at 98% and they actually achieved nearly 100%. Dry Storage financial occupancy was 97% compared to a budgeted amount of 87%. This is partly due to the pay-per-move policy.

Rental Properties Revenue Actual to Budget
• Total Rental Property revenue was $2,846,121 and the budget was $2,670,000 million, equating to a positive variance of $176,121 or 7%.

Operating Expenses Actual to Budget
• Operating expenses before depreciation for the 12-month period were $4.9 million, which was $552,000 or 27% less than budget. Without the negative expenses, operating expenses were $4.7 million or $413,000 (10%) less than budget.
• Claims and Damage actual was $27,448 and the budget was $10,000, resulting in a negative variance of $17,448.
• GASB 68 Pension expenses were negative $275,718 and Other Post-Employment Benefit expenses were $252,660. These items are not budgeted because they cannot be calculated or estimated until year end and they fluctuate wildly.
• Office expenses were $85,607 and the budget was $127,000, which equates to a positive variance of $41,399 or 33%.
• Professional Services were $149,237 and the budget was $105,000, which is a negative variance of $44,237 or 42%.
• Repair and Maintenance expenses were $439,889 and the budget was $385,000, which is a negative variance of $54,889 or 14%.
• Supplies were $261,850 and the budget was $326,000, which is a positive variance of $64,150 or 20%.

Non-Operating Items
• Change in Fair Value of Investments was a loss of $818,590. This loss will not be recognized unless the Port sells the bonds today. Interest rates are going up, so the fair market value is going down. Investments must be reported at fair market value at the end of the financial year, assuming that is what they could be sold for at year end.
• Interest Income was $380,748 and the budget was $151,000, which is a positive variance of $229,748 or 152%.
• Net income for the 12-months ending December 31, 2022 was $3.3 million, which is about $600,000 greater than budget. The primary reasons for this difference: gross profit was $620,000 greater than budget, negative pension expenses and negative OPEB expenses, and the change in fair market of investments.

Marina Actual to Budget

Ms. Drennan advised that marina revenues generally trended upwards to $8.4 million in 2022. Expenses ranged from $4.4 million to $6.2 million. Net income ranged between $1.3 million and $2.6 million.

• Operating revenues were $8,385,000 and the budget was $7,131,000, which is a positive variance of $1,254,000 or 18%. This was primarily due to the cost of fuel.
• Operating expenses before depreciation and overhead were $3,072,000 and the budget was $3,098,000, which is a negative variance of $26,000.
• Net income was $2,186,000 and the budget was $1,669,000 for a variance of $517,000.

Rental Property Actual to Budget

Ms. Drennan advised that revenues ranged from $2.6 million to $2.8 million, and expenses ranged from $1.3 million to $1.7 million. Net income ranged from $1.1 million to $1.3 million.

• Operating revenues were $2,846,000 compared to a budget of $2,670,000 which is a positive variance of $176,000.
• Operating expenses before depreciation and overhead were $833,000 compared to a budget of $723,000, which is a variance of $110,000.
• Net income was $1,123,000 compared to a budget of $1,032,640, which is a variance of $90,360.

Net income is put into the Capital Reserve for replacement items.

¬Capital Budget to Actual

Ms. Drennan reported that the Port’s 2022 Capital Budget was $7,643,000 and actual expenditures were $3,177,924. Details are on the spreadsheet attached to the Staff Report.

Investing Summary

Ms. Drennan reviewed that Investing Summary, highlighting the following:

• The Port had 22 long-term investments at the end of 2022. The goal is to move from $500,000 ladder rungs to $1 million ladder rungs.
• The details of the Port’s bond maturity and bonds purchased were attached to the report. Only one bond matured in November 2022.
• The Capital Replacement Reserve is currently at $15,849,000, with part of the reserve in cash and part invested long term.
• The Environmental Reserve is currently $1,063,000, with part in cash and part invested long term.
• As bonds were called or matured in 2021, the Port retained the funds as cash to pay for the new Administration/Maintenance Building. That goal has been reached so the Port will continue the investment ladder program, whereby a portion of the Port’s investments mature quarterly.
• As the Port constructs the Administration/Maintenance Building, it will draw down the Capital Replacement Reserve.

Commissioner Grant asked if the Port normally forecasts its liabilities each year, and Ms. Drennan responded that the liabilities in the report are those that have already been earned by the contractors. Anticipated future projects and major repairs and maintenance are all identified in the Cash Flow Model. The final report that will be submitted to the state will show the major contracts that are outstanding. Commissioner Grant asked if projects are identified in the Cash Flow Model once a contract has been signed. Ms. Drennan explained that the Cash Flow Model is more generic. Commissioner Grant said it is important to be clear that the Port’s policy of increasing moorage and dry storage rates based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) plus 1% is based on anticipated expenses for the year, as well as expenses that are expected to occur in the future.


Ms. Williams presented the 2022 Marketing Report, highlighting the following:

• Port Marketing Approach. The Port’s mission is economic development, public access, tourism, and environmental stewardship. The Port accomplishes its mission by operating the marina and commercial spaces, providing excellent customer service, maintaining public access for public enjoyment, focusing on community partnerships, projects and programs, providing regular and varied communications, and hosting community events.

• Communications and Social Media. The Port’s communications are purposeful, focusing on attracting, retaining and nurturing both tenants and the public. Two public mailers were sent out this year. The Current Tidings mailer was sent out in the summer, and a holiday postcard was sent out at the end of November, listing all of the holiday events. Both mailers were sent to about 27,000 people in both Woodway and Edmonds. Press releases were done to announce appropriate events and/or information. Often the press releases are done locally through My Edmonds News and The Edmonds Beacon, but sometimes they are passed along to The Everett Herald and/or the Washington Public Port Association (WPPA). In 2022, circulation of the Port’s newsletter was just over 1,400, and the open rate is 63%.

Google is a great resource for people to obtain basic information about the Port and also view photographs and reviews. The Port has experienced a steady increase in receiving reviews and bringing up its rating. This is good since it is often the first thing people see when they google the Port of Edmonds. The Facebook page following also increased from 1,154 in 2021 to just over 1,600 now. Facebook has proven to be a wonderful advertising portal for the Port.

• Advertising. The Port continues to do both traditional and digital advertising. Since they don’t have specific services or occupancy that needs to be filled, the focus is often on events or the Port as a whole in publications such as the Edmonds Community Resource Guide and Northwest Boat Travel. She shared examples of both traditional and digital advertising that was done in 2022. She noted that the advertising spend has gone down over the years due to other opportunities like Facebook, which is such a good value compared to traditional types of advertising. Commissioner Preston asked if the Port advertises in the Wagner Cruising Guide, and Ms. Williams answered no. She explained that an ad in the Wagner Cruising Guide costs about $1,000, versus a $30 ad in Facebook over 15 days to promote the Holiday Night at the Marina. The reach of the Facebook ad was 3,700, and there were 175 responses. That equates to about $0.17 per response, which is an excellent rate. Facebook ads can also be narrowly targeted to people within a 30-mile radius of the Port.

• Events. Annie Crawley’s group completed two marina cleanup dives in April and October. The Sea Notes Program was expanded to offer more than just jazz music. New offerings included Song Writer Sunday and Friday Night Jam Sessions. Commissioner Preston commented that the program was awesome, but it was somewhat confusing to figure out the dates and times for the events. Ms. Williams agreed that scheduling is difficult, and they are working on ideas to make it easier in 2023. Commissioner Preston suggested they use a digital calendar in addition to the posters. Ms. Williams agreed that would be helpful and noted that performance dates and times for the week were also announced on the “Events” page of the Port’s website. The QR code on the posters was also linked to that page. Commissioner Preston recalled that a City group talked about doing a calendar of all of the music events in Edmonds. Ms. Williams responded that the Port’s events are included on the City’s Arts Calendar.

Two public tours were offered in July and October, led by different Commissioners and staff. Turnout was great, and the tours were a good way to connect with the public, answer questions, and share various Port operations. The Golden Shovel Groundbreaking Event for the New Administration/Maintenance Building was in July, and she is impressed with the progress that has been made over the past seven months.

The Port was able to offer a full slate of holiday fun in December, featuring Holiday on the Docks, a food drive, and Holiday Night at the Marina. Thirteen boats participated in Holiday on the Docks, which was sponsored by the Edmonds Yacht Club. The Port partnered with the Edmonds foodbank, offering two collection locations at Harbor Square and Marina Operations. Holiday Night at the Marina included a band and Santa, and Puget Sound Express provided an open boat opportunity. Commissioners Johnston and Harris commented on what a great event it was.

Partnerships. The Port continues its support a variety of community events, including the Coho Derby, Puget Sound Birdfest and the Edmonds Arts Festival. She and Mr. Baker also provide Port representation in a variety of organizations, including the Edmonds Creative District, Chamber of Commerce, Seattle North Country and Northwest Marine Trade Association.

• Tourism. The Destination Port of Edmonds Program was changed following the pandemic. Instead of a coupon book, they do a personalized, by-the-season letter, welcoming people to the Port. The letter features places where people can eat, drink and shop that are accessible via walking or the Port shuttle. It also provides information about local parks, museums and special events. The letter has worked well because it can be adjusted based on the season. The letter is placed in a bag with a little gift and given to people staying in Guest Moorage.

• Plans for 2023. Following a staff presentation at the end of November, the Commission authorized staff to move forward with rebranding the Port, and staff is currently working on a Request for Proposals. This will be the big marketing and communications focus for 2023. The Sea Notes Program and marina cleanup dives will continue in 2023, and she anticipates a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Administration/Maintenance Building sometime in the fall. They are also planning to continue the holiday events and two public mailers.

Mr. Baker shared the following promotions that are planned for 2023:

• The fuel rewards promotion offers tenants rewards for various services when a certain number of gallons have been purchased.
• The Sixth Launch Free promotion offers a free launch after a customer purchases five. Ms. Williams said 2022 was the highest year for free launches.
• The Tenant Discount for Travelift promotion offers tenants a 25% discount on haul-out services. Twenty-two tenants took advantage of this promotion in 2022.

Ms. Williams thanked the staff who were involved in the events. She also thanked the Commissioners for being such a supportive group over the past year.


Councilmember Teitzel said he sent an email to the Commissioners regarding the Waterfront Study, but the PowerPoint presentation that was attached did not go through. He provided a copy of the presentation to Commissioner Grant on a thumb drive that could be loaded on the Port’s system and sent to the Commissioners. He noted that the Port was consulted on the study, and he encouraged the Commissioners to review it carefully to make sure what is included in the study is consistent with the input provided by the Port. He asked that they contact him with any concerns. He reminded them that the study will become part of the City’s Comprehensive Plan, which must be updated by December 2024.

Councilmember Teitzel announced that House Bill (HB) 1110, which is currently in committee, is a proposal to upzone all cities in the State with populations of 25,000 or more by removing single-family zoning. There is a companion Senate Bill (SB) 5910 that was cosponsored by Senator Liais. Because of recent feedback, a substitute bill was proposed that every single-family lot must accommodate at least two units unless within a half mile of transit, and then it would have to accommodate four units per lot. The City Council is not in favor of the bill, as it would supersede their ability to legislate locally. They believe a better approach would be for the State to revise the Growth Management Act (GMA) targets around growth and housing and then let cities figure out how to best accommodate the growth. Councilmembers Tibbott, Nann and Chen will meet with legislators in Olympia on Thursday to give them the message that the Edmonds City Council doesn’t support the legislation, and other Cities are doing the same.

To clarify for Commissioner Preston, Councilmember Teitzel said that the bill would not require that single-family homes to be replaced with duplexes, but it would allow duplexes and fourplexes in single-family zones. The goal is to create more housing, as the Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) forecasts that another 1.5 million people will move into the Puget Sound region by 2050. The City of Edmonds must absorb its fair share of the growth. Again, he emphasized that the bill would eliminate single-family zoning in Edmonds.

Commissioner Grant reported that the Woodway Town Council also discussed HB 1110, but they aren’t sure if it would impact their town based on population. Councilmember Teitzel said there is a provision in the bill that says cities that are adjacent to an urban growth area of 200,000 people or more would be included. Commissioner Grant pointed out that Representatives Pedersen and Ryu are some of the main proponents of the bill, and there appears to be a lot of bipartisan support. Councilmember Teitzel agreed there is a need for more housing, but the City Council’s position is that they should be allowed to determine how that housing happens in the City rather than a blanket upzone. He encouraged people to contact their legislators to let their views be known.

Councilmember Teitzel reported that the City is embarking on an expansive code update project. There is a lot of antiquated code that needs to be cleaned up, and the project will be significant. The Council budgeted $300,000 in 2023 to accelerate the effort, and the intent is to contract help to get the project started. Development Services is working on the Edmonds Community Development Code (ECDC) and the City Attorney will be working on the Edmonds City Code (ECC). Commissioner Preston asked what happened with the money that was budgeted for code updates in previous years. Councilmember Teitzel said the City contracted with Makers who did some cleanup, but the project didn’t get very far. This year, they are serious about making meaningful progress.


Mr. McChesney reported that the Planning Committee met on January 31st to talk about a variety of issues and how to frame them for a strategic planning retreat sometime later this year. He also reported that he made a presentation to the Kiwanis Club that was well received.

Mr. McChesney reported that the submittal deadline for lobbyist proposals was February 8th and three good proposals were received. A staff committee have reviewed the proposals and will interview two potential lobbyists on February 17th.


Commissioner Grant reported that he attended a recent Woodway Town Council Meeting, where housing was a topic of discussion. They also talked about the potential annexation of Point Wells. Currently, the property is owned by two parties who are now suing each other. The Town Council wants to be clear that, if the property is annexed, there would be no ownership change. It is just a matter of which jurisdictions has control. Currently, the only way to access the property is through King County, and the contractor would only be able to develop 24 houses without providing a new access point through Woodway.

Commissioner Grant reported that he attended the Washington Public Port Association’s (WPPA) Port Day in Olympia and was able to meet with one legislator. There was no doubt that the housing issue is a high priority. He also reported that he met briefly with Edmonds City Council President Tibbott, focusing on how to improve the relationship between the Port and the City. This year, five Councilmembers will be up for election in November.

Commissioner Grant said he felt a little uncomfortable last week in the selection of the lights for the new Portwalk, as he made it very clear he didn’t like the design or the color. He voiced concern that, sometimes, the Commission is presented with proposals without sufficient time to really review them before taking action. Mr. McChesney explained that it is very challenging to design projects of this magnitude by committee. Usually, staff is delegated with the responsibility to work with the design team to perfect the design concepts. The concepts are then brought back to the Commission for affirmation. Staff wants to know if a Commissioner has objections to design particulars, and they can take it back to the design team to try and address the concerns. He reminded them of the time imperative to get the design decisions finalized so they could proceed through the Shoreline Master Program permitting process, in particular the Architectural Design Review Board. Staff doesn’t typically ask the Commission to participate in the design, itself. It just becomes unwieldy and not very practical. The Commission delegates this responsibility to staff, and staff keeps the Commission informed and solicits input as the process unfolds. Commissioner Harris suggested that there was confusion because the Commission voted on the design, which it didn’t actually need to do. The discussion was more about soliciting the Commissioners’ opinions, thoughts and concerns.

Commissioner Grant said he was also uncomfortable with the Commission’s recent motion to appropriate money for the lobbyist ahead of time. He felt that the minimum amount that was originally proposed wouldn’t be enough. He said he assumed the Commissioners would be part of the selection process. When you hire a lobbying a firm, you must look at their talent, connections and past work. He felt it would be appropriate for the Commission to review the proposals before a contract is awarded. Port Attorney Stephens reviewed that the motion from the last meeting was to allow a committee to move forward with the lobbyist contract. Mr. McChesney briefly reviewed the process for approving professional contracts and reminded the Commissioners that they were trying to respond to a time imperative, and the motion was as follows:


He summarized that the motion passed by a vote of 4-1, with Commissioner Harris voting in opposition. Staff never anticipated bringing back the proposals for further discussion or final approval. Commissioner Grant said that, based on this clarification, he would have voted against the motion.

Commissioner Harris thanked Ms. Drennan for pursuing the grant funding from the Snohomish County Coronavirus Recovery Fund. Judging by the documents attached to the Staff Report, she can only imagine how much time it took to provide all of the information necessary to meet the requirements.

Commissioner Harris said she also attended the WPPA’s Port Day in Olympia. The major topics of interest this year are affordable housing, how to bring people into ports, and education paths other than the traditional. Another thing that popped for her is the need for planning. The Port has major projects now and more coming up, and she is excited for the retreat discussion about how they will all layer together and how they can be funded. It made her think about the importance of having a clear picture of what they want to do over the next 2, 5, 10 and 20 years. This planning can then be mapped over to funding opportunities that might be available. They had a brief but good conversation with Senator Liais, giving him an overview of the projects at the Port and emphasizing their funding needs.

Commissioner Harris said she met with Councilmember Teitzel to talk about the Waterfront Study and access to the waterfront. While this topic will likely stay quiet during this election year, it is something they need to talk about again at some point. She will be curious to review the PowerPoint presentation on the Waterfront Study that was provided by Councilmember Teitzel. She stressed the need for the Port to be part of the discussion and requested ideas for how that might occur. Mr. McChesney explained that the City is the lead with the Waterfront Study, and they have been very gracious to invite input from the Port as a key stakeholder. While it sometimes seems like they don’t incorporate the Port’s concerns, the last time they provided input, the City was very responsive. He expressed his belief that the Port could look forward to being more active as the City’s study starts to gain more traction. Commissioner Harris agreed that the Port should be a good, strong voice at the table given that the Port owns a large part of the waterfront.

Commissioner Preston thanked Commissioner Harris for pointing out that the Port is the other player at the waterfront. To not be invited to participate in the discussions from the beginning is appalling.

Regarding Commissioner Grant’s concerns, Commissioner Preston said he would feel more comfortable if staff provided options early in the process before presenting a preferred design to the Commission. Mr. McChesney said he feels staff abided by that throughout the process by having relatively regular briefings to the Commission on various aspects of the North Portwalk and Seawall Project. The point he was trying to make earlier is that the design process is already very arduous and complicated, and it was never anticipated that the Commissioners would be actively involved, but it is staff’s responsibility and obligation to keep the Commissioners fully informed and to solicit input. Commissioner Preston agreed that staff has done a good job, but he asked that they try to do a little bit more.

Commissioner Preston reported that he attended the Seattle Boat Show. While there weren’t a lot of people on Tuesday afternoon, it appeared that people were buying boats. He also attended Hank Landau’s talk about his boat adventure. It was great to see someone who was very active in the Port and quite a storyteller.

Commissioner Preston said he would attend an Economic Alliance of Snohomish County (EASC) Coffee Chat on February 14 talking about the Thomas Eddy Restoration Project that was done at the Port of Everett. He also plans to attend the Edmonds Economic Development Commission meeting on February 15th. Commissioner Johnston observed that the Blue Heron Slough Project at the Port of Everett is over 300 acres and includes a number of observation areas. It is a fantastic example of mitigation banking that is good for the entire region. Mr. McChesney said it is the Port’s intent, as part of the mitigation for the North Portwalk and Seawall Project, to actually purchase mitigation credits from that bank.

Commissioner Johnston reported that he attended the inaugural meeting of the Strategic Planning Committee on January 31st. They teed up planning for the retreat that will be scheduled in April or May after the new Executive Director is on board. They have a lot of layers of planning ahead of them, some immediate and others longer range. After the retreat, they should have a game plan for moving forward with assessing the different probabilities.

Commissioner Johnston said he had the honor of serving as a judge for the 5th straight year at the American Council of Engineering Companies of Washington Division of the Engineering Excellence Awards, which also includes environmental awards. Only one port-related project was brought forward, the SeaTac International Arrivals Facility, and it won a number of awards. In particular, it won the Platinum Award, which means it will move forward into national competition where Washington State has a great record. He briefly described some of the attributes of the project.


The Commission meeting was adjourned at 9:03 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Jay Grant
Port Commission Secretary