Commission Meeting Minutes 9-30-19

Commission Meeting Minutes 9-30-19


Steve Johnston, President
Jim Orvis, Vice President
Angela Harris, Secretary (by phone)
Bruce Faires
David Preston

Bob McChesney, Executive Director
Marla Kempf, Deputy Director
Tina Drennan, Finance Manager

Bradford Cattle, Port Attorney
Karin Noyes, Recorder


President Johnson 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.


Ms. Kempf reviewed that there are currently 12 in-water Charter and Business Moorages with a combined total of 19 boats at the Port of Edmonds. The businesses provide opportunities for fishing, crabbing, diving, observing wildlife and recreational boating, and they contribute to tourism and the economic vitality of the community. She advised that the Freedom Boat Club (FBC) is one of these businesses. It is a members-only boat club with locations spanning coast-to-coast in the United States, Canada and France. The company was founded in Sarasota, Florida in 1989. Through franchising, the club has grown to 190 locations and 2,000 plus boats with roughly 18,000 members. They offer unlimited access to boats ranging from 20 to 25’. In Washington State, they now have fleets in Bremerton, Kirkland, Olympia, Seattle, Tacoma, Edmonds and Anacortes.

Ms. Kempf introduced Nick Hooge, the owner of the Freedom Boat Club, moved to the Seattle area three years ago to start an FBC franchise at the Elliott Bay Marina. Together with his team of people, he has expanded to Kirkland, Edmonds and soon to Anacortes and is now providing opportunities for people who may never have entertained the idea of owning a boat to experience all that boating in the Pacific Northwest has to offer. She reviewed that FBC moved into the Port of Edmonds in March of this year, and their offices are headquartered in the upstairs of the Edmonds Yacht Club. Currently, they lease four slips from the Port on P Dock and dry storage space where they perform minor maintenance on the boats in their fleet.

Nick Hooge, Freedom Boat Club, commented that the FBC model is fantastic and successful at getting more families out on the water. It provides an alternative to boat ownership that is much different than renting or chartering a boat for the day or a week. It offers families and individuals a boating lifestyle that is second to none. He provided folders of information related to his specific franchise, as well as information about all of the locations and member benefits associated with club membership. He said he is thrilled to see the success of their Edmonds location so far. Over 100 families have accessed the water via the Port to date. Since they opened for business in April, 479 trips have been taken from the Port of Edmonds by over 100 club members. Club members have purchased fuel from the Port over 200 times for a conservative estimate of 3,000 gallons sold.

Mr. Hooge said he has submitted a request for four additional slips in the Edmonds Marina so he can grow the fleet. He advised that Brunswick Boat Group recently acquired the Freedom Boat Club, which means FBC’s members will have access to even more prestigious boat brands. He said it is exciting how the sharing economy has taken off as it pertains to the marine industry. They are finding a lot of people are joining the club that never intended to buy boats. Millennials, in particular, want to enjoy the experience but not own their own boats. The club provides each of its members with four hours of training. He recalled that when he first came to Seattle, it was difficult to get people to recognize that sharing is the future. People are now seeing clubs like FBC as a major player in the industry, and other marinas are now seeking him out to discuss expansion opportunities. He said he is very excited to see the concept expanding. He reported that his three locations had 748 boat trips in the month of August, which is an increase of 200 trips. Growth is tremendous, and he is excited to offer the opportunity for people to enjoy boating.

Commissioner Orvis asked if members can use boats at all of FBC’s locations, and Mr. Hooge answered that members can use boats at any of the club’s locations throughout the country.

Commissioner Faires asked if Mr. Hooge has an estimate of how many trips end up going to the San Juans or further. Mr. Hooge answered that they have a 50-mile insurance radius, which extends just north of Deception Pass. However, when the Anacortes location comes on line next April, the radius will increase further north. He commented that the majority of members are new boaters who don’t have the resources to purchase boats of their own. They usually stay around Kingston, Blake Island and Poulsbo.

Commissioner Faires asked how many of the members are young families with children and how many are older people. Mr. Hooge answered that about 70% of their members are young people with families, and about 30% are retirees.

Commissioner Preston asked how many of the club members who took out boats were young people with families. Mr. Hooge said he doesn’t have the breakdown. However, there were 458 trips from the Edmonds Marina by 100 members. Commissioner Preston asked how many members registered and joined the club in Edmonds, and Mr. Hooge answered 35. He explained that the membership in Edmonds is nearly maximized, given that they only have four boats in the marina at this time, and they strive for a 10:1 ratio. He reminded them that he has requested additional slips in the marina.

Commissioner Preston asked if Mr. Hooge had any plans to provide larger boats as part of the program. Mr. Hooge responded that he is experimenting with a 29-foot boat, but their bread and butter is boats between 20 and 25 feet, which is the size that someone new to boating can use after one day of training. He said he was the first in the nation to start the cruiser class of 29 feet, which is available on a pay per use fee for only $129 per day. He created this offer based on the cruising lifestyle that is popular in the Puget Sound area.

Commissioner Faires asked if the club limits the duration of time an individual can take a boat out, and Mr. Hooge answered that there is a 4-day limit. He explained that about 95% of the trips are day trips, but there is an opportunity to go up to 4 days and 3 nights for the smaller boats. The large cruiser vessel has a limit of 7 days and 7 nights.

Commissioner Johnston asked if FBC provides any outfitting services. Mr. Hooge answered that they currently provide outriggers, line pullers, etc.

Mr. McChesney advised that FBC has an agreement with the Port to utilize the Port’s boat maintenance facilities on a pay-per-use basis. Mr. Hooge said FBC uses the dry storage area for some maintenance, and they have also partnered with Puget Sound Yacht Repair and Jacobsen Marine for their maintenance needs. He summarized that, not only are they generating economic vitality in Edmonds and getting more people involved in boating, the dollars stay in the community. The only down side is that the Edmonds marina is not closer to his other locations. Everything is done so well at the Port of Edmonds, with its full-service marina, that he would like it to become his flagship location where the majority of his boats are moored. It is simply a matter of sales, and his goal is to hire a standalone Edmonds sales person to develop the Edmonds customer base.

Commissioner Faires asked if Mr. Hooge plans to leave his boats in the water year-round, and Mr. Hooge answered affirmatively. He is one customer paying six moorage bills. Over time, he would eventually like to have 20 to 30 boats at the marina.

Ms. Kempf pointed out that the ideal boat size for FBC is 20 to 25 foot, which is the same size that the Port typically has vacancies for during the winter months. Mr. Hooge has requested four more slips. As slips open up in the area FBC is located in, the Port’s intent is to grant FBC’s request for 4 more slips next year which gives the Port year round revenue. It works for the Port and FBC, and the Port loves having FBC at the marina.


Mr. McChesney reviewed that the Commission was previously briefed on maintenance issues and the need to replace aging HVAC units on buildings at Harbor Square. Twelve units were scheduled for replacement in the 2019 budget and $160,000 was allocated. The project was put out to public bid on April 5th for 12 units on Building 2, and the Commission directed staff to enter into a contract with the low bidder, D.K. Systems, Inc., for $123,504 plus sales tax on May 13th. The project was substantially completed on July 23rd and the final inspection was completed on September 5th. Staff worked with the contractor to minimize the disruption to tenants during installation and is now recommending that the Commission approve the contract with D.K. Systems, Inc., as complete.


Commissioner Preston asked how many more HVAC units needed to be replaced at Harbor Square. Ms. Drennan reviewed that they have been replacing the units at approximately 12 per year, and roughly 60 have been done so far. The remaining units will be replaced over the next two years.



Mr. McChesney advised that the Port just purchased a new Wiggins Forklift, which is now up and running and working fine. The plan is to use the Hoist Forklift as a backup while they address issues with the Taylor Forklift. He explained that the Taylor Forklift is scheduled for a mast chain replacement and rebuild of the rear hydraulic cylinder. Leavitt Machinery has quoted the parts for $9,418.97 pretax and freight, and Everett Engineering has been tasked with conducting the repairs for an estimated cost of $7,000. The functional, safe working condition of the Taylor Forklift is critical to the Port’s operation and the repairs are recommended right away. He recommended the Commission approve the repairs to the Dry Storage Taylor Forklift with Everett Engineering with parts provided by Leavitt Machinery. He advised that, once the repairs are done to the Taylor Forklift, the Port will have two fully-functional forklifts, and the Hoist Forklift will be surplused and sold.



Mr. McChesney reported that staff conducted a coordination meeting with the two consulting engineers working on different aspects of the Harbor Square Building 3 project, and notes from the meeting were attached to the Staff Report, as well as a proforma project schedule. If everything goes as planned, the project should be finished by the end of June 2020. In the meantime, the engineering work needs to be completed, and the Port needs to submit building permit applications, which could take up to 8 weeks to process. The building permit process will require review and approval from the Architectural Design Board, but no separate submittal will be required for that review. The goal is to have the project out to bid by the end of October and then it will move forward as outlined on the schedule. He advised that it is difficult to tell how extensive the damage is until they take the building down to the sheeting.

Commissioner Johnston asked if Mr. McChesney foresees any delays associated with the building permit. Mr. McChesney answered that he does not think so. The engineers have been in contact with the City’s Building Official and have been advised that the turnaround time for the permit is about 8 weeks. There are no critical areas involved nor will a Shoreline Permit be required. He said he expects full cooperation and an expeditious review process.

Commissioner Preston questioned how they reached the point where 70 to 80% of the building’s windows were leaking without noticing there was a problem. Mr. McChesney responded that you can see drip stains if you look closely, but it was never enough to cause great concern. It appeared to be just normal wear and tear.

Commissioner Johnston asked if staff has any reason to believe that the construction or configuration of Building 3 is unique and they won’t have significant issues with other buildings, as well. Mr. McChesney said they can expect to find more on one or two of the other buildings. Stucco over stick frame is not ideal for northwest conditions. Building 5 is a concrete tilt-up building, but it is also showing some issues that need to be addressed. He summarized that the facility is aging and the construction methods and materials used by the original developer were not the best.

Commissioner Orvis stressed the importance of doing everything necessary to ensure that the building will last for years into the future without any other major work. In addition, the project offers an opportunity to improve energy efficiency. He commented that the Public Utility District may have some programs to improve energy efficiency as part of the project. Mr. McChesney pointed out that the new windows would be more energy efficient, and insulation can be upgraded when the stucco siding is replaced. Solar options can be explored, too. He agreed it would be a good opportunity to improve the building’s efficiency as part of the upgrades, and options will be considered as part of the review process.

Mr. McChesney expressed concern that parking and tenant relations will be a particular concern during the construction process. The parking at Harbor Square is already over-subscribed, and it is likely that 15 parking stalls will be lost during construction. They will have to be agile and work with the tenants to manage the parking and minimize disruptions and impacts throughout construction.

Commissioner Orvis asked if Mr. McChesney believes the City will identify all of the major requirements early in the permitting process to avoid surprises later on. Mr. McChesney responded that the Port has a good relationship with the City’s Building Official, and he doesn’t anticipate there will be unforeseen requirements. Neither environmental mitigation nor a Shoreline permit will be required, but the project will have to meet all of the City’s code requirements. He said he doesn’t expect anything other than a routine building permit review, which should take about 8 weeks to complete.

Commissioner Preston suggested that the project offers a great opportunity for the Port to change the color scheme for the buildings at Harbor Square.


Mr. McChesney reported that he and Commissioners Harris and Johnston met with Greg Urban, President and CEO of the Edmonds Chamber of Commerce, on September 16th to discuss a co-work proposal. While the concept seems good, the fatal flaw is that the Port doesn’t have space for them at this point.

Mr. McChesney reported that he sat in for Commissioner Faires at the Edmonds Economic Development Commission meeting, where the Commission decided to ask the City Council to make a small change in the Waterfront Commercial Zone to add “lodging” as an allowed use. The intent is to allow boutique type hotels. While the proposed change doesn’t have a direct application now for the Port of Edmonds, he indicated support for the proposal, recognizing there may be opportunities to do lodging on Port property at some point in the future.

Mr. McChesney advised that the Public Access Plan was put on hold to allow for the public survey to be expanded. The survey was offered to attendees at the Port’s Family Day and at the Arts Festival and received some good results. The committee met last week with the consultant to figure out how to wrap it up with a deliverable to present to the Commission. Staff is recommending that the plan focus first on what can be accomplished quickly. For example, space at the public plaza is limited during the Port’s Christmas and Family Day events, and staff talked about potential changes to make it better for Port events, as well as Sea Jazz performances. Other short-term projects will likely include lighting, guardrails, landscaping and trash receptacles. He said he hopes to present the Public Access Plan to the Commission in late October.

Commissioner Faires suggested that the Public Access Plan should include both short-term and long-term projects, and he agreed that improving the public plaza would be a great place to start. He encouraged the staff and consultant to also look at how the north marina walkway can be brought to the same standard as the south marina. Commissioner Preston added that signage should also be part of the plan.

Mr. McChesney announced that the Finance Committee would meet on October 1st to talk about the Cash Flow Model assumptions and how to do be a better job of making sure the Commissioners all understand what the assumptions are and why they are important for the budget.

Ms. Kempf reported that the Edmonds Coho Derby was held the weekend after Labor Day, and participation was down. Only 147 fish were weighed during the event, and the largest was 8.75 pounds. The Everett Coho Derby was held on September 21st and 22nd, with much greater participation. Because there was a lot going on at the Port of Everett and Area 8 was closed, participants had to fish in Areas 9 and 10. The Port launched 80 boats for the Edmonds derby and 103 for the Everett derby. They sold parking to 92 participants for the Edmonds derby and 103 for the Everett derby. The Edmonds derby resulted in 84 guest moorage rentals and the Everett derby resulted in 148. It was a challenging and busy weekend for staff during a time when there are typically fewer loan-a-slip spaces available. There were 930 fish weighed during the Everett derby, and the largest was 11.25 pounds.

Ms. Kempf announced that the Foul Weather Bluff race will take place this next weekend, and the guest moorage area will be full of sailboats. She also announced that an OceanGate submersible vessel will be coming into guest moorage next week, too.


Commissioner Faires thanked Mr. McChesney for attending the Edmonds Economic Development Commission meeting on his behalf. He advised that Gary Haakenson, former Edmonds Mayor, and others have requested that the Port get involved with the new Edmonds Community Center Project that will replace the old Senior Center. When he was asked why the Port hasn’t contributed, he explained that the Port is primarily an economic vitality engine for the Port District, City of Edmonds and Town of Woodway. Their purpose is to be involved directly in Economic Development activities and not so much community and cultural related activities. While the new center will be good for the community, it is not something the Port would typically provide funding for.

Commissioner Preston reported on his attendance at the Washington Public Port Association (WPPA) Environmental Seminar where he learned that other marinas are using oyster shells to filter stormwater. He said the concept of using rooftop space for solar panels was also discussed. He asked staff to look into whether or not it would be viable for the port to lease space for this use. Mr. McChesney said Port staff has discussed this option with a variety of solar vendors, but it has never gotten any traction given structural issues, etc.

Commissioner Preston observed that the Rotary-sponsored Oktoberfest that took place on September 20th and 21st in lieu of the Edmonds Waterfront Festival went well. Rather than being a tourist attraction, the attendees were mostly local citizens. He heard from boaters who are pleased with the new event rather than the Waterfront Festival, which had a greater impact on their ability to access their slips.

Commissioner Preston announced that he would attend the Northwest Marine Trade Association (NMTA) annual conference. He also advised that he stopped by the public open house where the consultant, Windward Environmental, presented the Baseline Monitoring Study of the Edmonds Marsh for public feedback. The consultant will make a final presentation to the City Council on October 1st. Lastly, he noted that the Economic Alliance of Snohomish County (EASC) changed the date of the Public Official Reception. It will be held on October 10th.

Commissioner Harris said she will try to attend the PCC Semi-Annual Conference meeting on October 9th. She also reported that she attended the WPPA Environmental Conference, which was a good event with a lot of helpful conversation. Lastly, she reported that a representative from the Interfaith Climate Action Committee reached out to her regarding the solar panel concept, and she and Commissioner Johnston will meet with them next week.

Commissioner Johnston advised that he would attend the Orca Recovery Task Force meeting on October 7th. He also reported on his attendance at the WPPA Trustees Meeting where they unanimously selected James Thompson as the new Executive Director of the WPPA. Representatives from 45 ports, both large and small, attended the meeting and weighed in on the issues. This was a good reminder of how widespread ports are in the Sate and what they do to benefit communities.

Commissioner Johnston reported that he also attended the WPPA Environmental Seminar where he was relieved that the Port of Edmonds is not an industrial port. The regulation cascade that industrial ports must deal with every day is incredible and getting worse. The newest requirements are related to greenhouse gas and the State Environmental Policy Act. No one has figured out what the new requirements mean yet. In the meantime, good projects that represent significant reductions to greenhouse gases are not going forward because they still involve some fossil fuels.

Commissioner Johnston said he would represent the Port of Edmonds at the annual fall conference of the Pacific Coast Congress (PCC) of Harbor Masters and Port Managers. He noted that Ms. Kempf would be spotlighted at the event as an outstanding professional in the area of port operations and management. He congratulated her for the recognition. He said he also plans to attend the EASC Elected Officials Reception.

Commissioner Johnston observed that maintaining a good relationship with the Tribes is critical for both Ports and local communities going forward. His dealings with various tribes as a member of the Orca Recovery Task Force has been generally positive. Most recently, the Intertribal Council wrote a letter listing the salmon recovery projects in place and stressing the need to find resources to implement them.

Commissioner Johnston reported that he and Commissioner Harris participated in a whale watching excursion at the invitation of Puget Sound Express. The event was attended by members of the Senate Committee on Natural Resources, a number of senators from throughout the State, and others from whale watching organizations. They learned that humpback whale activity in the Salish Sea is the greatest it has been for a long time. The bad news is that no one knows it because the word on the street is that there is no whale watching because the Orcas are endangered. Activity in the whale watching business is down 15 to 20% this year, yet it is the best whale watching season ever. The vessel operators are very diligent in maintaining the required stand-off distance and not encroaching into the whales’ space.

Commissioner Faires asked if the 15 to 20% decline in whale watching business has impacted Puget Sound Express, too, and Commissioner Johnston answered affirmatively. They still consider it a good year, but activity is down from previous years.


The Commission meeting was adjourned at 8:15 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Angela Harris, Port Commission Secretary