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Ferndale City Council members list their current and long-term priorities

FERNDALE, Wash. — The 7 members of the Ferndale City Council met Wednesday, January 20th for the first part of a 2-part annual retreat. This year, the retreat was held online with attendees participating via video conferencing from remote locations.

City staff were also in attendance and the first part involved break-out sessions between staff and councilmembers focusing on communication.

Following the breakout sessions was a reading of each councilmember’s, and the Mayor’s, list of current and long-term priorities for Ferndale. Priorities presented have been paraphrased as follows and in no particular order.

Herb Porter

  • streets, road and sidewalk improvements
  • update the City’s Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan
  • attract new business to the city
  • add community events to depict the diversity of the community
  • ensure the police department is adequately staffed and equipped
  • encourage further development of senior and disabled housing
  • ensure all residents have internet access
  • begin working with other municipalities and the County about UGA and Comprehensive Plan updates to avoid replication of effort

Erin Gunter

  • continue to keep working together for our community
  • reaching out to our different directors and staff members when we need help on issues or understanding things
  • have community driven events where we can listen to the citizens’ concerns in a safe environment – not Facebook – so that their voices get heard and we listen
  • want to attract more businesses to Ferndale and help them thrive
  • keep supporting the Ferndale Police Department
  • address that the school resource officer position has been discontinued in the Ferndale School District

Kate Bishop

  • affordable housing is the biggest priority this year since we didn’t get a chance to run the housing levy last year and hope to do that this year
  • working with the Planning Commission to plan for manufactured housing communities
  • develop more of a plan for the courthouse even if spending money is not in this year’s budget
  • develop a better solution for improving and maintaining roads
  • continue COF support of nonprofits and do a lot more of this year
  • start working with community groups more to be more connected with community
  • send the new Equity Advisory Board some stuff to work on and act on their suggestions
  • focus on parks and trails to make sure they are nice, usable and good places for people to gather

Paul Shuey

  • do inexpensive things to make parks look better
  • address disorganized city boundaries such as the boat launch that is on half City and half County property
  • finish road improvements projects such as Ferndale Terrace that have been pending for decades
  • work on getting rid of over-regulation of homeowners in some zones
  • try to get businesses in town
  • develop better recreational fishing
    • talk with the Tribes about not fishing the river commercially

Ali Hawkinson

  • get the new Equity Advisory Board launched in a way that benefits the community, City staff and the council
  • improve communication with the citizens and between council and City staff
  • develop plan for fixing roads
  • help businesses any way we can – we need them to survive so we have a city people want to come to
  • emergency management planning
  • housing and affordable housing
  • develop plan for city hall and courthouse
  • market Ferndale to businesses
    • how to make Ferndale more approachable to business
  • bring community events back when possible

Maralise Fegan

  • update the City’s Emergency Management Plan
  • work on some long-range planning tied into discussions regarding the comprehensive plan
    • facilities planning for the city
    • working on zoning to position business areas that encourage business development
      • is downtown the best location to focus on given the expense of running a business in the floodplain
  • address improving parks, sidewalks and roads

Ryan O’Larey

  • address COF’s unstable growth pattern now – do not wait for next comprehensive plan update
    • taxes associated with new residential developments do not pay for the ongoing upkeep of associated roads and infrastructure
    • fixing this has a side benefits of
      • improving the housing crisis
      • improving the City’s environmental impacts
      • reducing the tax burden being shifted to future generations
  • 10 action items to accomplish this
    1. stop saying growth pays for growth because it doesn’t
    2. update zoning so planned growth occurs in areas with existing utility infrastructure
    3. prioritize private streets over public in new developments
    4. allow up to 4-plex residences in single-family residential zoned areas
    5. allow for mixed-use / commercial development along arterials
    6. allow for mixed-use / commercial development on corner lots in residential areas
    7. do not expand into new urban growth areas
    8. fund the street fund as if it were a utility
    9. stop deferring street maintenance
    10. eliminate minimum parking requirements citywide

Greg Hansen (Mayor)

  • continuing progress towards new city hall / municipal court facility
  • figure out the downtown vitalization puzzle
    • find more reasons to be downtown
    • talk about a Catalyst 2.0 program once the initial program participants have completed their projects within the deadlines
    • continue to incentivize development in the downtown core

The retreat will continue Wednesday, January 27th. Scheduled Council Committee meetings for that day are canceled as a result.


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