FERNDALE, Wash. — A meeting with the City of Ferndale Hearing Examiner Michael Bobbink last week, December 30th, resulted in the announcement that a conditional use permit would be approved for a new business located at the former Sawarne Lumber planning mill site, 5530 Nordic Place.
The new business, 360 Modular Building Systems, plans to hire up to 80 staff company Vice-president Robert Dale said during the meeting. The company constructs modular building components at their facility and then ships them to customers’ sites where they will be assembled into buildings.
The City required a conditional use permit since manufacturing is not explicitly allowed in a General Business zone but staff recommended approval since this is a low-impact operation like what is occurring on adjacent properties. City of Ferndale Planning Director Haylie Miller said the new use is expected to be “less intrusive in nature than the previous use on the site.”
Dale said modular construction lends itself to multifamily residential construction and is expected to benefit the community by providing low-cost high-efficiency buildings. He added the company’s core business will be large structures rather than single-family residential units.
Sawarne Lumber is a partner in the business according to Dale.
General Manager Amanda Zender told My Ferndale News that Whatcom County recently contracted with 360 Modular Building Systems to provide 50 8-foot-square modular “individual shelter structures” to serve as temporary emergency weather shelters.
Zender said more typical projects are composed of boxes built at the facility that are then stacked “like Legos” to be assembled into a structure. Electrical and plumbing are already completed and ready to be connected she said.
Box dimensions can be up to 80-feet long and width is limited only by transportation constraints according to Zender.
Dale said they are currently working with Dawson Construction on a project that will be shipped to Alaska.