NOOKSACK — The proposed Big Rock plat was tabled again due to the absence of Nooksack Council Member Ryan Steward at the Monday night Nooksack City Council meeting.
Council Member Marshall Judy requested that council not vote on Big Rock until a meeting that all council members attend. He said Steward would want to participate in the vote on the 46-lot development across Gillies Road from Whispering Meadows.
Attending via Zoom, City Planner Rollin Harper of Sehome Planning said council had three options: approve the plat, approve the plat with conditions, or deny the plat with explanations.
Judy asked City Engineer Tony Freeland, as he looked at a plat map via Zoom to confirm elevations for some neighboring properties since he had concerns for potential impacts from groundwater.
These neighbors had both submitted concerns and spoke during public comment at prior council meetings.
Several other action items, which council passed Monday, involved several interlocal agreements between Everson, Sumas and Nooksack.
Nooksack Mayor Kevin Hester said the small cities had not received answers from Whatcom County governmental personnel regarding flooding concerns and chose to form these interlocal agreements.
The first interlocal agreement, containing two task orders, is for flood analysis, mitigation, and protection following the fall 2021 flooding.
One task involves hiring a consultant, from Reichhardt & Ebe Engineering, to attend flood meetings and communicate between the cities and the other flood/river stakeholders.
The second task involves hiring WEST Consultants, Inc. to do flood modeling, mapping, and lidar hydrology of the Nooksack River with a focus on the Everson overflow and new floodways, Hester said.
The cost of each retainer will be shared equally between the three cities. The first consultancy fee involves matching funds from Whatcom County.
Judy spoke favorably of the river measures and to “have a strong voice and impact to join the other cities.”
Hester said Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is looking at increasing the span of the bridge in Everson since the floods impacted the bridge’s footings and the bridge span affects the flow of the river as a “choke point.” WSDOT needs to determine future impacts downstream to Lynden and Ferndale with any changes.
Another interlocal agreement between the three cities relates to certified water inspection, collection, testing and water meter replacement.
Hester said the city of Nooksack recently had a water main break and saw both the need for personnel certification and the significance of the cities pooling resources.
Nooksack’s public works assistant, Josh Clawson, is working on his certification, council said.
The agreement is for three years and can be renewed, Hester said.
Newly-hired City Public Works Director Scott Fox said his first two weeks have been busy.
One thing Fox said he would like to do is to identify and apply for any grants needed for city infrastructure.
He is also speaking to vendors to prune trees in the city park.
Everson Police Chief Dan MacPhee’s report, since Everson and Nooksack share a police department, focused on vandalism which he said appears to be by middle and high school aged kids on street signs and the city’s sewer uptake station.
The department will have additional patrols, MacPhee said. He also said the two cities’ summer festival dates are July 7-8 and planning will resume shortly.
MacPhee serves as the festival’s organizer after the community’s Chamber of Commerce disbanded.
Also Monday, council approved the expenditure of $4,500 for the replacement of weather-proofed city signs.
Nooksack council’s next meeting is at 7 p.m. Monday, April 3 at Nooksack City Hall, 103 W. Madison St.