Ferndale council remains neutral on jail site

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDJune 18, 2013 

FERNDALE - The City Council declined taking a position on whether the new Whatcom County jail should be sited on 40 acres of industrial land on LaBounty Drive.

Council members on Monday, June 17, briefly discussed whether to pass a resolution for or against the jail, or ask Ferndale residents to cast a nonbinding vote on the county's lone option for a new jail site.

By law, a municipality cannot reject an "essential public facility" such as a jail, a solid-waste transfer station or a drug treatment center. Any action taken by the council would have been only a political statement.

The city's Planning Commission is working on rules that would make the jail building fit into its neighborhood, which is a mix of industries and residences.

"We can't stop them from building it," council member Cathy Watson said. "We're pushing back as much as we can push back. I don't think we need a resolution or advisory vote."

Reach Ralph Schwartz at 360-715-2289 or ralph.schwartz@bellinghamherald.com. Read his Politics blog at blogs.bellinghamherald.com/politics or follow him on Twitter at @bhamheraldpolitics.

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