Hickory, Dickory, Docketing…Yet Another Spot Rezone

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Mon, Sep 22, 2014, 5:07 am  //  Dick Conoboy

The bar for getting the city to consider rezone proposals [docketing] is set so low that if docketing were comparable to getting a driver's license, a dead drunk would easily pass the test.  So it was last Thursday when the Planning Commission voted unanimously (with two absences) to recommend to the City Council to docket the rezone of the property at 801 Samish (lot just south [left] of area 8 on Samish Neighborhood Land Use map, above,)  from Residential Single to Commercial Planned (non-retail).  Our readers may remember my piece on an earlier attempt by the property owner and its representatives to docket this rezone without following the Type VI process required by the Bellingham Municipal Code (BMC).  The council, upon receiving tremendous negative blowback from its venture into precipitous action that ignored the public, reversed its decision and asked the applicant to resubmit the rezone request under the docketing rules.  You can read more about this folderol in my article entitled Planning Commission and Samish Neighbors Bypassed on Rezone Docketing.  Material regarding this ill-advised rezone, including the current application and staff comments, can be found here at the city's website.

No matter that the City Council and city management are lamenting the prior creation of a patchwork of zoning throughout Bellingham, the Planning Commission blithely decided that consideration of yet another rezone of a single parcel in the middle of a residentially zoned neighborhood would be just hunky-dory.  The acreage is owned by the Church of Christ which operates the church under a conditional use permit.  The group interested in purchasing the property, Pacific Harbor Holding, LLC, is the legal rubric for a group psychology practice now located on Bellwether Way.  Unfortunately for the group, medical offices are not a conditional use under the BMC in Single Family zoned areas, so the only path for legal use is to change the zoning to Commerical Planned.  The actual application for rezone states Commercial Planned (non-retail).  This designation was designed to attenuate criticism from the neighborhood by limiting the possible uses.  The problem is that there is no guarantee, in spite of claims to the contrary by the psychology group, that they will be there in perpetuity.  Their motives may be noble, but as is said, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.  So once rezoned, the single family neighbors around the site could be confronted with a number of problematic uses to include... a recycling center!  Ain't that just ducky?

For its part, the psychology group just loves the area.  Trees, grass, single family homes, a church across the street, the Elks Club.  What could be more idyllic and comforting?  The problem is that the properties between the Elks Club  and the Community Baptist Church opposite 801 Samish are also up for a spot rezone (Area 9 on Samish Neighborhood Land Use map above) from Commercial Planned (non-retail) to Commercial Planned that allows retail AND associated apartment buildings.  Ironically, this possibility was disconcerting enough that an official of the Church of Christ (our seller of 801 Samish) came to an earlier neighborhood meeting on the rezone of these parcels out of concern that apartments and associated retail may be disturbing to his congregation and render difficult quiet contemplation.  If these two rezones happen to be approved, the Community Baptist Church and the Elks Club (on either side of Area 9) will suddenly become much more interesting as potential commerical property than the present residential single designation of those parcels.  The prospect of further commerical development by rezoning the Baptist church and the Elks property would likely make these parcels more valuable and exert pressure for these entities to sell their properties at an elevated price.  Bye-bye idyll and comfort.

The City Council will be considering the docketing of 801 Samish at its 13 October meeting.  Perhaps common sense will prevail and this rezone will be sent to the dust bin.

 

Hickory, Dickory, Docketing…Yet Another Spot Rezone

Mon, Sep 22, 2014, 5:07 am  //  Dick Conoboy

Last Thursday, the Planning Commission voted to recommend the docketing of the spot rezone of 801 Samish from Residential Single to Commerical Planned (non-retail)

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Councilmember Murphy’s Proposed Rental Ordinance Is Deeply Flawed

Fri, Aug 01, 2014, 8:00 am  //  Dick Conoboy

Councilmember Murphy's proposal is based on a complaint-based rental ordinance from Tacoma, demonstrated to do little for the health and safety of tenants.

11 comments; last on Sep 21, 2014

Village Books

In historic Fairhaven. Take Exit 250 from I-5.

Plan Commission & Samish Neighbors Bypassed on Rezone Docketing

Thu, Jul 24, 2014, 7:52 am  //  Dick Conoboy

In contravention of the Bellingham Municipal Code, the City Council will consider on 4 August a last minute docketing request that ignores the Planning Commission and Samish Neighborhood.

1 comments; last on Jul 30, 2014

Intrado Not to Intrude in Bellingham

Tue, Jul 08, 2014, 8:20 am  //  Dick Conoboy

The city council "persuades" the city administration to withdraw a request for an intrusive police threat warning system

2 comments; last on Jul 08, 2014

DOJ Grant Brings Confusion and Anger to City Council Meeting

Tue, Jun 24, 2014, 10:24 am  //  Dick Conoboy

The Bellingham Police Department wants to purchase "threat assessment" software with federal monies. Citizen comments were vehement and negative. City Council confused.

5 comments; last on Jul 03, 2014

Fireworks Ban in Bellingham in Effect as of 18 June

Tue, Jun 17, 2014, 7:53 am  //  Dick Conoboy

The possession and use of consumer fireworks are no longer permitted within the city limits.

1 comments; last on Jun 19, 2014

Planning or Development Commission?

Mon, Apr 28, 2014, 6:28 am  //  Dick Conoboy

Every Bellingham Planning Commission member has ties to development or development-related businesses.

4 comments; last on Apr 30, 2014

Anatomy of a Development Part XII - Citizens Win Against University Ridge

Wed, Apr 02, 2014, 6:00 am  //  Dick Conoboy

Ambling University Development Group pulls out. University Ridge will not be built.

12 comments; last on Apr 06, 2014

Is ALEC Jr. Coming to Whatcom County or Bellingham Soon?

Wed, Mar 12, 2014, 8:28 am  //  Dick Conoboy

The infamous American Legislative Exchange Council plans to send its spawn to cities and counties throughout the U.S.

1 comments; last on Mar 24, 2014

Panem et Circenses - Why I Did Not Watch “The Super Bowl”

Mon, Feb 03, 2014, 6:30 am  //  Dick Conoboy

Professional and even college sports have morphed into a circus of corporate greed and the fleecing of the public.

3 comments; last on Mar 01, 2014

Anatomy of a Development Part XI - The Doldrums at University Ridge

Mon, Jan 20, 2014, 6:14 am  //  Dick Conoboy

The developers of University Ridge have been silent since shortly after the hearing examiner's decision on 23 October last year. Will they walk?

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The Bellingham “Riot” - Let’s Expand the Conversation

Thu, Dec 05, 2013, 6:00 am  //  Dick Conoboy

The post "riot" conversation is terribly lacking in several areas. We must expand the discussion or risk learning little from the experience.

3 comments; last on Dec 15, 2013

Walmart and McDonald’s - Partners in Institutionalized Cluelessness

Wed, Nov 20, 2013, 6:03 am  //  Dick Conoboy

The advice coming from Walmart and McDonald's to its low paid employees becomes more and more bizarre and inane.

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Anatomy of a Development - Part X Appeals of the Hearing Examiner’s Decision

Tue, Nov 19, 2013, 6:35 am  //  Dick Conoboy

Ambling's motion to the hearing examiner for reconsideration was definitively rejected. The developer has not met the deadline for an appeal to the Superior Court

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Puget Neighborhood Likely New Home for 1,300 Students

Tue, Nov 12, 2013, 6:16 am  //  Dick Conoboy

Puget Neighborhood will likely have in the immediate future 1,300 new rental units that will be marketed primarily to the student population.

0 comments

Health Insurance Scams - Washington Not Spared

Mon, Nov 04, 2013, 10:55 am  //  Dick Conoboy

The call of the dollar speaks more loudly to health insurance companies than does the voice and well-being of the consumer, even here in Washington.

8 comments; last on Nov 06, 2013

Anatomy of a Development - Part IX BMC Rule of Three Thwarts Plans

Thu, Oct 31, 2013, 11:19 am  //  Dick Conoboy

Four bedroom dorm rooms have been nixed by the hearing examiner. University Ridge may be in trouble as a cash cow for Ambling Development of Georgia

3 comments; last on Nov 04, 2013

Dick’s Picks for City Council - Burr and Petree

Mon, Oct 28, 2013, 1:00 am  //  Dick Conoboy

Independent voters are for independent thinkers on the city council. Vote for Burr and Petree.

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Anatomy of a Development Proposal - Part VIII The 12 October Riot and University Ridge

Tue, Oct 15, 2013, 4:16 pm  //  Dick Conoboy

The development of University Ridge will replicate the student ghetto that fueled the riot on 12 October.

6 comments; last on Oct 25, 2013

Anatomy of a Development Proposal - Part VII The Hearing on University Ridge

Fri, Sep 20, 2013, 8:09 am  //  Dick Conoboy

Hearing held on 11 September. Comment period extended 10 days. Effects on home owners already manifest.

8 comments; last on Sep 22, 2013

Anatomy of a Development Proposal - Part VI Hearing Examiner Date Set - A Broken Process

Mon, Aug 26, 2013, 5:00 am  //  Dick Conoboy

The University Ridge process works only to the benefit of the developers. The public is offered tight deadlines and insufficient information.

1 comments; last on Sep 21, 2013

Anatomy of a Development Proposal - Part V The SEPA Determination

Fri, Aug 16, 2013, 5:00 am  //  Dick Conoboy

The University Ridge dormitory development approval process is broken. The City Council should act.

1 comments; last on Aug 17, 2013

Charter Schools Redux - Primary Election for School Board upon Us

Tue, Jul 23, 2013, 11:22 am  //  Dick Conoboy

Candidates for the Bellingham School Board need to let us know where they stand on charter schools.

3 comments; last on Aug 05, 2013

Anatomy of a Development Proposal - Part I The Variance

Wed, Jun 26, 2013, 8:04 pm  //  Dick Conoboy

A variance request without merit is the centerpiece of a development proposal to construct a complex of four dormitory-style buildings among single family homes in the Puget Neighborhood

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D-Day 6 June 2013

Thu, Jun 06, 2013, 6:30 pm  //  Dick Conoboy

D-Day forgotten.

0 comments

Skip the Fireworks - Send Money to Support Our Troops

Mon, May 20, 2013, 12:48 pm  //  Dick Conoboy

You can give your money, normally dished out to fireworks manufacturers and distributors, to organizations that help our disabled veterans. Change the way we celebrate Independence Day.

0 comments

University Ridge Dormitory, The Infill Tool Kit and Our Neighborhoods

Mon, May 13, 2013, 3:50 am  //  Dick Conoboy

Some very important issues with respect to the University Ridge private dormitory project in the Puget Neighborhood will not be considered in the approval process.

10 comments; last on Jun 30, 2013

Update on University Ridge Student Dormitory Development

Wed, May 08, 2013, 9:53 am  //  Dick Conoboy

Ambling University Development has proposed building private, off-campus dormitory buildings in the Puget Neighborhood. Their revised proposal was submitted on 29 April.

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Status of the Move to Ban Fireworks in Bellingham

Sat, Apr 06, 2013, 3:59 pm  //  Dick Conoboy

Dangerous fireworks likely to continue being sold in Bellingham for this 4th of July

1 comments; last on Apr 06, 2013

Is That Apple Hard Drive Really Yours?

Thu, Apr 04, 2013, 12:48 pm  //  Dick Conoboy

It seems that for Apple products, you do not really own that hard drive... as a journalist recently discovered.

2 comments; last on Apr 13, 2013

University Ridge Height Variance Hearing Postponed

Tue, Mar 12, 2013, 11:50 am  //  Dick Conoboy

Several complaints to the city seem to have occasioned a postponement of a height variance hearing until a complete development proposal is submitted.

1 comments; last on Mar 12, 2013

Obamacare and the Coming (Not Again?) Wealth Transfer

Wed, Mar 06, 2013, 11:05 am  //  Dick Conoboy

You are not likely to escape the coming transfer of $billions from your pocket to the health insurance industry. You will get little, if anything, in return.

4 comments; last on Apr 05, 2013

Support our Troops - Ban Fireworks

Sun, Mar 03, 2013, 5:17 pm  //  Dick Conoboy

Do we need to recreate the sounds and sights of the battlefield when doing so brings pain and suffering to our combat veterans?

0 comments

University Ridge Student Housing - What is it?

Mon, Feb 25, 2013, 7:54 pm  //  Dick Conoboy

There is a private sector development proposal to house approximately 600 students in the Puget Neighborhood on 11 acres to the east of Nevada St.

5 comments; last on Feb 27, 2013

Behind the Charter Schools Initiative

Fri, Oct 19, 2012, 2:24 pm  //  Dick Conoboy

Washington voters have wisely turned down three attempts to create charter schools in this state. They should replicate these defeats in 2012.

1 comments; last on Oct 23, 2012

Petition Drive to Ban Consumer Fireworks Underway

Thu, May 24, 2012, 9:22 am  //  Dick Conoboy

A case for eliminating consumer fireworks in Bellingham city limits

3 comments; last on May 26, 2012

Padden Trails.  It Is Not About Infill; It Is About Profits

Sat, Apr 07, 2012, 2:05 pm  //  Dick Conoboy

The issue is not sprawl or infill, but the money to be made by the type of infill and its placement

7 comments; last on Apr 09, 2012

2012-2013 Priorities from City Council

Sun, Mar 11, 2012, 11:20 am  //  Dick Conoboy

The City Council outlines their agenda for the coming year

2 comments; last on Mar 12, 2012

Padden Trails Rezone – You Should Be Worried

Tue, Nov 15, 2011, 11:43 am  //  Dick Conoboy

The Padden Trails rezone effort is a misuse of the Infill Tool Kit on the outskirts of Bellingham.

8 comments; last on Nov 16, 2011

Bellingham Bank of America hires security guard

Wed, Nov 02, 2011, 4:00 pm  //  Dick Conoboy

Occupy Bellingham is already creating jobs for the 99% - but this raises some interesting questions.

8 comments; last on Nov 04, 2011

Status of Rental Licensing and Inspections in Bellingham

Thu, Jun 02, 2011, 9:32 pm  //  Dick Conoboy

Updates on Rental Licensing in Bellingham

15 comments; last on Jun 25, 2011

Fireworks in Bellingham

Mon, Jan 17, 2011, 5:22 pm  //  Dick Conoboy

Why a ban on fireworks in Bellingham is needed, and a look at the politics of the issue.

31 comments; last on Jan 25, 2011

 

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