Commission Meeting Minutes 3-8-21

Commission Meeting Minutes 3-8-21

(Via Zoom)      March 8, 2021

Angela Harris, President
David Preston, Vice President
Steve Johnston, Secretary
Bruce Faires
Jim Orvis

Bob McChesney, Executive Director
Brandon Baker, Marina Manager
Tina Drennan, Finance Manager
Brittany Williams, Manager of Properties and Marketing

Bradford Cattle, Port Attorney


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



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








There were no public comments.



Mr. McChesney introduced Katerina Prochaska and Meghan Craig, architects with Jackson/Main Architecture, who were present to answer questions regarding their proposed scope of work, budget and proposal for design work and project coordination for the new Administration and Maintenance Building. He reviewed that the scope of work includes the project definition (completed), pre-application meeting with the City of Edmonds (completed), design review meeting and approval (May 2021), final design, specifications, bid documents, and sub-consultant coordination. Sub-consultants will include civil and structural engineering, landscape architecture, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, fire protection, and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certification, which is still an open question and option. It is anticipated that most sub-consultants will contract directly with the Port, as necessary, instead of going under the contract with Jackson/Main Architecture.

Mr. McChesney recommended the Commission approve the general scope of work and authorize him to enter into a contract with Jackson/Main Architecture in the amount of $127,766 to provide design and permitting services necessary to construct a new Administration/Maintenance Building.

Commissioner Faires asked about the present status of the building design. Mr. McChesney reviewed that the building had been previously designed under a different concept, and the project had achieved a Shoreline Permit and gone through State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) review. The building was never constructed, but a lot of the work associated with the Shoreline Permit and SEPA review is still valid. Thanks to help from the City of Edmonds Planning Department, they were able to re-instate the Shoreline permit. He explained that only about 15% to 20% of the civil engineering necessary to go to construction was done to support the Shoreline Permit, and they are just getting started with other aspects such as the mechanical and structural elements. All of the elements must come together with the architectural element, and that is what Jackson/Main Architects has been asked to do.

Ms. Prochaska added that the pre-schematic design can be carried over from the previous project, and they have been working with staff on fitting the needs of the Port’s administrative and maintenance programs into the footprint of the building that was previously planned. They will utilize the information that was put together for the original design review and Shoreline Permit.

Commissioner Faires said he appreciates the detailed schedule that was provided by Jackson/Main Architects, which allows them to track the progress in detail.

Mr. McChesney summarized that there will be plenty of opportunities to discuss the project as they move forward, and he would like to schedule an in-person retreat with the Commission for late April or early May. At that time, Jackson/Main Architects will be invited to lead a more detailed discussion about the design particulars.


Commissioner Harris commented that she is looking forward to having a more in-depth discussion at the upcoming retreat about opportunities to design the building to include LEED Certification. Ms. Prochaska suggested that a decision regarding LEED Certification should be made early in the design process. She voiced concern about waiting until the Commission’s retreat in late April or early May to have this discussion. It is more costly to introduce these elements later in the design.

Commissioner Preston asked if the Port could save some money if the project was designed to meet all of the criteria and benchmarks associated with LEED, but not pursue the actual certification.

Commissioner Faires asked if it would be consistent with the schedule for the Commission to have this discussion and make a decision at the March 29th meeting. Mr. McChesney observed that everyone universally accepts the notion that green buildings and LEED Certification are worthy goals to achieve, but they need more information from the consultants related to how incorporating these elements will impact design and construction. He suggested they table the discussion for now, and bring the issue back to the next meeting for a fuller discussion and possible decision.

Commissioner Orvis said that, even if the Commission postpones a decision until the next meeting, they should at least have a philosophical discussion now over whether or not the Commission wants to pursue a building design that meets LEED standards, whether they pursue actual LEED Certification or not.

Mr. McChesney advised that much of what can be accomplished through an official LEED Certification can be done by following the local building codes and the Washington State Energy Code and the Public Utility District is a terrific resource on energy efficiency. He summarized his belief that there is a path to get to a green building that doesn’t get full LEED Certification.

Commissioner Harris asked about the added benefit of going through LEED Certification. Ms. Prochaska explained that LEED is a green building sustainable program that covers the energy efficiency of the building, indoor air quality, types of materials, water usage and water quality, landscaping, stormwater, etc. She said she would be interested in learning about the Port’s sustainability initiatives and how the project might tie into those long-term goals. She explained that the Washington State Energy Code is focused on primarily energy and is one of the most stringent in the nation. There are different tiers in the energy code: a prescriptive path to meet the energy code or component paths that allow developers to avail themselves to energy modeling to obtain energy-efficient credits. The cost in the proposal for LEED Certification includes energy modeling, which would be necessary regardless of whether the Port pursues LEED Certification or just wants to optimize the energy performance of the building.

Ms. Prochaska commented that she doesn’t know if the design team can produce a building that is a little above the Washington State Energy Code in terms of efficiency without some added costs. The real question is where the sweet spot for this project should be. She suggested that internal conversations with the green building consultants might be helpful.

Commissioner Johnston observed that the Port of Edmonds has a very good environmental record and is proud of its ability to maintain a high environmental standard. He felt they should do so with the new building, too, and perhaps go a step beyond what is required by the regulations and building codes. However, given the scope and size of the project, he is not locked into LEED Certification. He felt they could produce a very green building that is a nice amenity to the waterfront and public without incurring the extra cost of LEED Certification. He emphasized that the Commission also has an obligation to manage costs judiciously on behalf of the public. He summarized that LEED may be overkill for the building, but the Port could certainly move past standard construction.

Commissioner Faires agreed that having LEED Certification has limited value. He asked if the Port could meet all of the material requirements of LEED without pursuing official LEED Certification. He also asked if there would be any future impacts associated with a building that is LEED certified versus a building that is LEED-like. Ms. Prochaska said her understanding is that LEED requires buildings to be recertified over time. She explained that the optimal goal of the upfront cost of LEED Certification is that the Port would benefit from the long-term energy cost savings.

Mr. McChesney asked what part the green building consultant would have in the design process. Ms. Prochaska said the LEED consultant would assist the design team, mechanical engineer, architect, etc. to make design decisions that move the project towards success in terms of meeting all of the LEED requirements. The consultant would also do the energy model, which will give an idea of the building’s performance before it is built. In addition, the consultant would work with the contractor and design team during construction to make sure the planned components are implemented correctly. If the scope of work were to include LEED Certification, the green building consultant would also manage all of the required documentation.

Commissioner Faires asked if the size of the proposed building would have an impact on the Port’s decision about whether or not to pursue LEED Certification. Ms. Prochaska answered that, in most cases, the size of a building does not play into the conversation.

If the Commission’s goal is to construct a building that is as efficient as possible, Commissioner Harris asked why the Port wouldn’t follow the path that is already laid out (LEED). While there would be an additional cost, she felt it would be better to pursue LEED Certification.

After learning more about the LEED process, Commissioner Orvis said it appears that the required elements will be integrated into the actual building design and construction, and the green building consultant will be responsible for ensuring that the building is certifiable when finished. If that is the case, he felt the Port should pursue the actual certification, as well. He commented that the community considers sustainability to be very important. While the Commission must consider costs, they must also respond to what the community wants and is willing to pay for. He felt the cost of certification would be worthwhile in terms of energy efficiency and sustainability.

Commissioner Faires asked how comfortable the consultant is that the design can incorporate all of the values that LEED Certification might require. Ms. Prochaska said she is very comfortable taking projects through LEED, working with the green building consultant. She commented that once more information and a presentation is made at the retreat, the Commission will have a better understanding of the environmental components and their anticipated return on investment. At that point, the Commission can decide whether to pursue full LEED Certification or simply pursue certain environmental components are part of the design without certification.

Commissioner Johnston agreed that it would make sense to pursue LEED Certification if the Port Commission decides to complete all of the requirements necessary. His earlier comment was based on the Port incorporating many, but not all, of the required components.

Commissioner Preston asked why the consultant is suggesting the Port pursue Silver Certification rather than Gold or Bronze Certification. Ms. Prochaska answered that the higher the certification level, the more complex and costly a project becomes. Oftentimes, a target is set and, as a project moves forward, it comes to light that achieving Gold Certification would be a simple next step. At that point, the team could work with the Port to make the changes necessary. The intent is to consider the Port’s budget and sustainability goals to set something that is achievable. Commissioner Preston asked if Ms. Prochaska has seen projects that meet all of the criteria for LEED Certification, but the developer decided not to pay for it. Ms. Prochaska answered affirmatively, but said it doesn’t occur often any more now that people are becoming more familiar with LEED. Commissioner Preston said he would be interested to learn the difference in cost associated with the levels of LEED Certification. Ms. Prochaska suggested a sound process would be to start down the path of LEED Certification. As more information about the building and its design comes to light, the Commission could make other decisions, as necessary.

Commissioner Harris said that, at some point, she would like to also discuss the potential for solar panel installation as part of the project. Commissioner Faires asked what level of LEED Certification would receive points for solar energy retention. Ms. Prochaska answered that the points are based on the percentage of energy efficiency compared to a baseline building. Sometimes, adding solar can increase the energy efficiency above baseline to a large degree, and other times, not so much. She said it is good to know the Commission’s interest in solar early in the design process, as the consultant team can evaluate the benefits it might bring to the project, as well as how adding solar panels on a roof might impact the building’s design.

Commissioner Preston noted recent news that slave labor out of China is being used to make solar panels. If the City wants to be sustainable and equitable, they will need to know where the panels will come from and how they are created. Ms. Prochaska agreed that where materials are sourced is an important component of the entire project.

Mr. McChesney advised that staff would present a proposal for the Commission’s review at the next meeting. There appears to be a general consensus to move towards LEED Certification.



Mr. McChesney advised that he hasn’t take any action under the Delegation of Authority.

Port Attorney Cattle recalled that, at the last meeting, there was some discussion about terminating Resolution 20-03, and the Commission agreed to table the discussion until the March 8th meeting. Since that time, he reviewed the status of general circumstances relating to the pandemic, including Governor Inslee’s proclamations and Resolution 20-03. He concluded that general circumstances indicate movement towards a distinct trend of more predictability. Therefore, there is no strong requirement to keep the resolution in place. On the other hand, there is no urgency to terminate it, either. At this time, the Commission could decide to stay the course while additional vaccination occurs and a bit more predictability emerges. If they are satisfied there is sufficient predictability emerging, he can prepare a new resolution that would terminate Resolution 20-03.

Commissioner Faires said he would prefer to leave the resolution in place for the time being. While being more nearly in hand, the pandemic is not over yet. He suspects there will be some additional surprises down the road. Secondly, he expressed his belief that eliminating the Delegation of Authority may send the signal that the emergency is over when it is not. The Commissioners agreed to leave Resolution 20-03 in place for now and revisit the issue at the last meeting in April.



Mr. McChesney said that, in addition to the items covered during the previous discussion, a decision will have to be made about the type of building. One alternative is to go with a pre-fabricated metal building and another alternative is a standard stick-frame building. At this time, staff doesn’t have any reliable cost estimates to share with the Commission to guide their decision. Ms. Prochaska said the consultant team would like the Commission to make this decision within the next two to three weeks so the design can move forward.

Commissioner Faires asked how soon the Commission would have cost information on the two types of buildings, as this is necessary for the Commission to make a decision. Ms. Prochaska answered that the design team will work together to prepare cost information for each of the alternatives, as well as a recommendation for which building type will work better for this application. She agreed to provide the needed information soon so that the Commission can make a decision at their March 29th meeting.

Mr. McChesney said the original plan was to have all of the sub-consulting work done under Jackson/Main Architect’s umbrella, but the Port later decided to disaggregate and solicit proposals directly from the sub-consultants, with the exception of the landscape architect and the green building consultant.

Commissioner Harris said she still has some questions about the solar concept and would like to have some discussion with staff to help her better understand the options. Mr. McChesney said staff will be meeting with the Snohomish County Public Utility District to talk about how the project might wrap into the community solar initiative.



Ms. Williams announced that the bore-hole drilling started this morning in two locations near Arnies Restaurant and the Edmonds Yacht Club. DHA Surveyors turned in the topographic survey, which will be passed along to the consultants.

Commissioner Faires requested more information about the drilling work on the land side of the seawall. Mr. McChesney said it is a standard geotechnical exercise to sample the soils and identify their loading characteristics. The report is very necessary to guide the engineering aspects of the project.

Ms. Williams reported that Port staff (Mr. McChesney, Mr. Baker, Mr. Menard, and Ms. Williams) and members of the consultant team (Landau Associates, Makers, CG Engineering) met with staff from the City of Edmonds in a pre-application meeting. They reviewed the codes that would impact the project and talked about the design specifics. The area’s Shoreline Environment Designation is Urban Mixed Zone II and Aquatic II. The aspects of the Shoreline Master Plan (SMP) that apply to the project is the Shoreline Stabilization, Recreation Development, and Shoreline Conditional Use Criteria. They advised that a Type III Permit would be required, which would be subject to design review by the Architectural Design Board (ADB) in the form of a public meeting, but without public comment. The ADB will forward a recommendation to the Hearing Examiner. The focus of the design review will be on the pedestrian and landscaping elements of the project.

Ms. Williams advised that the City’s Planning Division will direct which land use and environmental permits will be needed, relying on feedback from the Corps of Engineers Joint Aquatic Resource Permit Application (JARPA). The Engineering Department will provide site and street-related permits. One main building permit for the project will be required, as well as a separate plumbing permit. The electrical permit will be through the Department of Labor and Industry, and the Port will also be required to submit an energy compliance form for the exterior lighting.

Ms. Williams said City staff anticipates that 50% of the boardwalk will have to be light transparent, and special inspections will likely be required for soils and structural elements. The site lies within the 100-year-flood zone, but that won’t likely impact the project since no building is being proposed. A critical area determination will be required as part of the application. The project will also require State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) review, and the Port will act as the lead agency.

Ms. Williams said staff from the Engineering Department shared their experience with the Waterfront Center, which they felt might be applicable to the Port’s project. About $200,000 was spent removing contaminated soil and addressing contaminated ground water. They used a trash pump to get rid of the sizeable amount of ground water they encountered. During that process, they also encountered a lot of City water lines that were there without easements that required mitigation. They learned that the planned pile driving could impact nearby structures, so they had to conduct a survey on neighboring buildings first. They ended up using a vibrating hammer for the pilings. To account for sea level rise, the applicant was required to build two feet higher than the existing structure and actually opted for three feet higher.

Ms. Williams also said City staff advised that the timeline for a Type III Permit is about three to four months to get through the City process, with an additional month for the Department of Ecology to do their work. They provided a list of the fees associated with the permit process.

Ms. Williams advised that a design kick-off meeting with the consultants is scheduled for March 11th. Landau Associates has started field work and will provide some preliminary information and reports in April. The 30% coordination review meeting is scheduled for May 13th, and the bi-monthly coordination meetings with CG Engineering will continue on Monday mornings.

Commissioner Faires asked if raising the Portwalk three rather than two feet to account for sea level rise would have any impact on the base line height of the parking lot between the Administration Building and Arnies Restaurant. Mr. McChesney pointed out that the concrete portion of the boardwalk south of M/N Dock is already about two feet higher than the wooden portion of the boardwalk, which is proposed to be replaced. They could raise the height of the new Portwalk to match the existing concrete boardwalk. There will be a marginal impact on the final grading for the parking lot, but from an engineering and construction standpoint, it won’t be a significant problem.

Commissioner Faires voiced concern that it would be difficult to raise the elevation of the parking lot. Mr. McChesney responded that they do not intend to raise the elevation of the parking lot, but there will need to be some transition between the finished grade of the boardwalk and the parking lot. He added that, as they go through the JARPA process, there is no doubt that the Corps of Engineers, in anticipation of climate change and sea level rise, will require the new boardwalk to be elevated. They won’t know how much until they get further into the process. However, he doesn’t anticipate it will be a serious engineering or design problem because they can get to two feet just by matching the elevation of the existing concrete boardwalk south of M/N Dock. Commissioner Faires asked if a transition of one to two feet would be required between the walkway and the parking lot. Mr. McChesney said there would be some type of transition, but he doesn’t yet know what that will be.



Mr. McChesney reported that he and Commissioner Johnston attended the virtual Washington Public Port Association’s (WPPAs) Marina Committee meeting on February 26th, where the featured topic was the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNRs) Derelict Vessel Removal Program. The Port has considerable experience with the program, and it was interesting to hear experiences from other ports. The program generally has funding of about $2 million over two years, and they usually run out of money well before the end of the two-year period. So far, Ms. Drennan has managed the Port’s situations well, and they have been successful obtaining reimbursement for the vessels that have been demolished. There was also a report on discussions with National Marine Fisheries Services over mitigation and how it is calculated. This is an open topic that has direct applicability to the Port’s current project. He agreed to forward a copy of the meeting report to interested Commissioners upon request. Commissioner Harris indicated she wanted to receive the information.

Commissioner Faires asked what, if any, issues the Port of Edmonds has with regard to derelict vessels. Mr. McChesney said they just got rid of a two, and there isn’t any right now. They show up randomly, and it isn’t possible to plan for them. Ms. Drennan said the Port recently submitted two reimbursement requests. She has been advised that the Port would probably get reimbursed, but not until June. While the Port destroys the derelict vessels, many marinas do not. They sell them at a low cost and they often end up at another marina. Commissioner Orvis advised that there isn’t a pot of money in the reimbursement fund. Instead, they send money out as it comes in.

Mr. McChesney announced that the Edmonds City Council presented a proclamation in honor of former Port Commissioner Mary Lou Block. It was nicely done, but it is hard to have a memorial via Zoom. It is still in the Port’s plan to have a memorial and dedication service this next summer at the Public Plaza. Ms. Williams is working on a plaque to present, and they will echo many of the comments that were noted at the City’s presentation, but in person. No date has been set yet. Commissioner Faires said he could forward Commissioners a copy of the City’s proclamation upon request.

Mr. McChesney reviewed the pandemic contingencies the Port has been operating under for the past year. Operations have gone very well throughout the pandemic, and they have been able to take care of customers and keep the employees safe. He noted that the pedestrian bridge and public restrooms have been closed for the past year, and people are becoming increasingly impatient. Staff is planning to unlock the gate to the pedestrian bridge on April 1st. However, they are recommending the restrooms remain closed to the public until Memorial Day weekend, subject to conditions. He summarized that the nation has made good progress in recent months, and things seem to have improved locally. People want to be outside and active, and he believes the Port is in a position to make some judgments about what is safe, reasonable and practical.

With the different pinch points along the walkway, Commissioner Harris asked if opening the pedestrian bridge right now would add any more risk. Mr. McChesney said he doesn’t think it would hurt to open it tomorrow. Because the bridge is so narrow, the theory was that it would be impossible to maintain a social distance of six feet and people tend to bunch up. While this concern remains, the Port doesn’t have any way to measure the risk exposure if the bridge is opened or closed and the April 1st timeline is somewhat arbitrary and an attempt to be cautious. Commissioner Orvis pointed out that an April 1st opening would give the Port an opportunity to announce it. He suggested they could also post signs that politely remind people to keep moving as they cross the bridge. Commissioner Preston said he would support opening the bridge as soon as signs could be posted to remind people to keep moving. Mr. McChesney summarized that staff would keep April 1st as the target and work on communication and signage.



Commissioner Preston reported that he attended two Economic Alliance of Snohomish County (EASC) meetings last week, and he is looking forward to the EASC’s Coffee Chat on March 9th where the president of the University of Washington will present.

Commissioner Johnston said he has also attended the EASC’s Coffee Chats and meetings, and he is looking forward to the March 9th chat that will focus on transportation and infrastructure. He also reported that he attended the Washington Public Port Association’s (WPPAs) Marina Committee meeting where they discussed the National Marine Fisheries Services’ mitigation requirements and how they are calculated. He commented that they have become a real impediment in permitting over the last two to three years, and the WPPA is working hard with Washington State’s United States Representatives to resolve the issues.

Commissioner Johnston said he was recently received a request asking if the Port would be interested in working with others who are interested in placing a memorial on Port or City property for Bill Anderson, a marsh photograph who recently passed away. He agreed to bring the request forward to the Commission for consideration and said he would also be interested in working personally to assist in that endeavor.

Commissioner Faires announced that he would attend the next Edmonds Economic Development Commission (EDC) meeting on March 17th and provide a report at the next Commission meeting.

Commissioner Orvis reported that he attended the WPPA Legislative Committee meeting earlier in the day. The revenue forecast is due on March 17th. Transportation is a major issue because they can’t work on the budget yet. They are anticipating two grants from the Federal Government ($500 million) and they expect the revenue forecast to be much better than anticipated. Three carbon proposals have a lot of backing: carbon tax on fuel, low carbon fuel standard, and a version of cap and trade. Although the latter two would also raise the price of fuel, sometimes dramatically, the money would not go into transportation funding. Funding from the carbon tax on fuel would be earmarked solely for transportation projects.

Commissioner Orvis noted that the EASC’s Coffee Chat on March 9th and the WPPA’s roundtable on March 11th will both focus on transportation. He continued that the WPPA Legislative Committee also reported on tax increment financing legislation, and it’s a lot more complicated than they thought. Expanding broadband is still a major discussion, and port’s going into the retail business of selling the access is a major point of contention. There are proposals related to the Growth Management Act (GMA) that would have some negative consequences. The cut off for new bills in March 9th.

Commissioner Orvis recalled that Governor Inslee froze some transportation projects, but he rescinded his decision after getting a lot of backlash from his own party. The reality is that replacing the salmon culverts in the roadways will require a significant amount of transportation funding.

Commissioner Harris advised that she would participate in the Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) meeting on March 11th, where transportation will be the topic of discussion. They had a great GMA discussion on Vision 2050 on March 4th, where they brought together the findings from the surveys, housing inventories, etc. It was reported that between 2020 and 2050 the region will need 810,000 additional housing units, and Snohomish County will need 187,000. More diverse housing is needed, as well. She also announced that she would participate in the EASC Coffee Chat this week. She reminded the Commissioners of the virtual WPPA Conference that is scheduled for May, as well.

Commissioner Harris thanked staff for all of their hard work moving large projects forward.

Council Member Olsen referred to the City Council’s minutes of February 23rd, where there was a discussion about solar panels. Two different companies supplied the solar panels on the Frances Anderson Center. One batch did not make it and the other batch is still going strong. She felt this might be worthwhile information for the Port to consider as they think about solar options for the new Administration/Maintenance Building.

Council Member Olsen reminded the Commissioners that the bike lanes are currently being designed. She encouraged them to pay attention to this process and provide input, as appropriate. It is important that they get it right. There is also a survey, accessible on the City’s website, to provide input on the national search for a new police chief.

Commissioner Orvis asked if staff is looking for grants to fund the North Portwalk and Seawall Project, and Mr. McChesney answered affirmatively. He said the Port has hired grant-writing consultant, Graham Anderson, and he is currently preparing a matrix that outlines the various grant venues the project may qualify for. He will also help prepare the applications.

Council Member Olsen announced that the City Council recently placed a moratorium on cutting trees that are 24 inches or larger at breast height. The moratorium is intended to remain in place until the new tree code is adopted.


The Commission meeting was adjourned at 8:40 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Steve Johnston,   Port Commission Secretary