Meeting minutes of Long Range Planning Committee Posted

Minutes of LRPC September 16th 2014

Minutes (DRAFT) of LRPC held October 21st, 2014

All documents are subject to change and posted here for your convenience only.  Official copies can be found on LIFAC’s county website.

Letter to LIFAC Member Antholt From Marine Engineer/Architect

LIFAC member Chuck Antholt continues to help gather information about potential future options for a replacement ferry. Here is an email exchange he had recently with marine engineer L. Paul Zankich who wrote the most recent report on a survey of the Chief’s hull condition to Public Works. First shown is Chuck’s emailed questions, and Paul’s reply follows.

On 9/23/2014 10:05 AM, Chuck Antholt wrote:

Mr. Zankich.  I am a member of the County’s appointed Lummi Island Ferry Advisory Group.  I read the September 5 report you submitted on the Chief.

We are currently looking at replacing the Chief – someday.  But, that someday seems rather elastic.  Some think the chief should be taken out of service asap, others think that it is sensible to prudently maintain the Chief for a while, say 10 years.   Eventually, however, it will have to be replaced.  Continue reading

Comprehensive Planning for Lummi Island – What role does the ferry play?

Sub Plan Cover

Are those bagpipes I hear down there?

If you want to open a can of worms, then read on, as many from the 2003 ‘Comp Plan’ Committee will attest – “there are as many opinions as there are worms”.  The point of this post is not to preach an outcome, or even to question our personal preferences, but merely to continue a dialog started over 10 years ago by our neighbors who volunteered two years of their time in intensive discussion on this very subject.  The Citizens Committee consisted of 24 islanders from all walks of life who  gathered the communities voice all along the way, debated the issues of the day and influenced the current planning documents that guide us.

Without digging too deeply into our current Sub Area Plan, adopted in 2003 and updated in 2009, it’s important to understand how ‘Preserving our Rural Character’ is based on current land use, zoning, population trends, and  key components of the plan which identifies three main factors that restrict future growth on the island – build-able lots, water resources, and ferry capacity.

The plan discusses the context for growth and its related impacts on the island, identifies
potential strategies and techniques to preserve the rural character and mitigate the impacts
of growth. It concludes by laying out clear policies to guide the implementation steps
necessary to achieve the vision outlined by the community. [Comp Plan 2009]

I encourage you to read, or at least browse the current plan before reading further.

Ben Frerichs and I presented a demographic and land use study to a group of 62 islanders on Sep 24th at the LICA (Lummi Is. Comunity Assn) potluck going back to 1990 and looking forward to 2025.  Several main points emerged about how we have grown in the last 24 years.

  1. We have become much older as a population (from 35 to 55 years old on average).
  2. We have 1/3 fewer families with children (born out by census and declining school enrollments)
  3. We are a wealthier population (growing as much as 40% faster than Whatcom County)
  4. We continue to double our population during the ‘Summer Peak’ season as in the past.
  5. 50% of all lots now have a dwelling unit on them.

All of these indicators point to us becoming a retirement/tourist community with fewer working families and  a likelihood of continuing that until the constraints on growth dominate that trend.  Those constraining variables were well described in the Comp Plan and continue to play the dominant force in how we will evolve.

  1. Maximum build-out on existing lots has reached the midpoint of development under current zoning laws.
  2. With a current population of about 1,000, and double that in the summer, we are approaching the maximum ability of our current water supply [aquifer and surface water] during peak periods of demand.
  3. Our current 20 car ferry (Whatcom Chief) and crew continue to provide excellent service to islanders during off-peak times of the year and continues to struggle to meet demand during summer peaks, when population doubles.

The long and the short of all this discussion is setting the stage for both LIFAC Subcommittees to produce recommendations for how Whatcom County deals with replacing the Whatcom Chief sometime in the future.  I’ll stop here for today, but would like to provoke some additional discussion on how you view the ferry as one of those ‘limiting’ factors in the list given above.  I’m sure some would be happy to have Lummi stay just the way it is, or even was in past years, and probably an equal number would be just as happy returning to a younger more diverse population of just 20 years ago.

Some additional food for thought here could focus on how you think additional unknowns will play out.  These will likely include, but not be limited to the following:

  • Climate Change ‘Refugees’ coming from a dryer Southwest, and flood prone Eastern Seaboard.
  • Immigration from abroad and more Canadian ownership of island properties (currently less than 10%)
  • Effects of Baby Boomers retiring to Lummi Island over the next 20 years

Where do you think Lummi Island will be in 20-40 years and is that a good or bad thing?

LIFAC Technical Ferry Issues Subcommittee Meeting 2014-09-18

The second meeting of LIFAC’s technical ferry issues submitting occurred 2014-09-18 at the library.  Below is the information I’ve copied from posts that were shared with those islanders who subscribe to the “Ferry Tales and the Art of the Possible”, a subgroup of NextDoor Lummi Island, which is a private social media site that is restricted to people with  a Lummi Island address.

Meeting notice

Ferry Technical Issues Sub-Committee Meeting 16 Sep

Jim Dickinson from Lummi Island 

Continue reading

2014 Dry Dock Inspection & Work Report on Whatcom Chief

Here’s a summary of the 2014 dry dock ‘inspection and work done’ report for the Whatcom Chief, ferry to Lummi Island, that was sent out on 9/18/2014 by Mike McKenzie, LIFAC Chair, via Paul Davis’ Brown Betty email alert service. It’s great that the whole inspection report will apparently be posted soon, perhaps on the Public Works ferry site or LIFAC webpage.  Thanks to Rob Ney of Public Works for providing this summary so promptly, in response to LIFAC’s request for the information.  Thanks, too, to LIFAC for making the request.


From Mike McKenzie
Public Works ferry operations manager Rob Ney responded to a request by the Lummi Island Ferry Advisory Committee for dry-dock inspection results, and the LIFAC received a response today that included a Certificate of Inspection that passed a four-person team of the U.S. Coast Guard, representing the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Continue reading

Lummi Island Ferry Finances 2006-2014

Diane Harper submitted a (draft) 1-page summary of Lummi Island ferry finances from 2006-2014 to the long-range planning committee of the county’s Lummi Island Ferry Advisory Committee (LIFAC) for their Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014.  The draft summary includes detailed  charts and tables of costs and revenues and how they relate to each other. (note:  If the final document changes, I will update it.) Continue reading

Special LIFAC – Public Works Meeting on Ferry Operations and Funds Wed 9/10/2014

This is a required public meetings announcement from LIFAC about a special work session. The public can attend, but as a work session LIFAC can determine the level of public participation, from ‘just listening’ to interrupting speakers with questions. Generally work sessions – because they are for getting work done — limit public participation to some degree.  The special meeting was set up because part of LIFAC’s scope of work is to review and consider ferry operations and funding issues.  In particular, learning about current funding and operations issues now is important to the efforts of LIFAC’s long range planning committee.


—–Forwarded Message—–
From: Mike McKenzie <>
Sent: Sep 9, 2014 10:10 AM
To: Chief Whatcom <>
Subject: LIFAC Special Meeting — Media Notice

The Lummi Island Ferry Committee (LIFAC) will hold a special work session Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2014, to hear a presentation from the Ferry Operations Administration about specific ferry operations, especially the management of the Ferry Fund.
The meeting takes place at 10 a.m. in the Lummi Island Public Library, 2144 S Nugent Rd. (located just across the street from the ferry landing).

Submitted by:

Mike McKenzie, Chair
Lummi Island 98262

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