Devil In the Details

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Sat, Aug 16, 2014, 3:48 pm  //  Guest writer

On Saturday, Aug 16, Sunnyland residents gathered to make a photo appeal to Bellingham city hall.

What is the problem?  Why are the Sunnyland neighbors unhappy with the outcome of the recent City Council decision that calls for single- family zoning for the DOT property?  Here’s why.

Though single-family in name, it is in fact, left open to multi-family development because the language, “mixed-use” leaves a loophole open to interpretation, or in other words, “big enough to drive a truck through.” And the developer, with his lawyer and land use consultant, are allowed to petition the council on a yearly basis, with changes, such as requesting that multi-family forms such as apartment buildings, be allowed to be built.

Here is what happened. The neighborhood plan called for 28 single-family homes. The Planning Department co-opted our plan and submitted one of their own, calling for the Tool Kit to be used. Although a previous council decided the tool kit could only be used in areas zoned multi-family, they decided some forms, compatible with single-family development would be allowed on the DOT lot.  Because townhouses, which are essentially duplexes with two attached units, could be individually owned, they were included. This is why the term “mixed-usage” is in the descriptive language.

Several of us requested that the council adjust the language to reflect and refine the intent of the council calling it Single-Family, but instead they chose to change the definition of single- family and make changes to the code.  This will serve as a model and have ramifications for other neighborhoods in the city, particularly the older neighborhoods.

The neighborhood requests fell on deaf ears. The city planners met with the developer and his representatives, but never with anyone from the neighborhood. The reason we supported using the Tool Kit was because it includes design standards, that regular single-family housing does not. None of us will be surprised if the developers also ask that the design standards be changed or dropped. 

The council members are admonishing us to be nice to our new phantom neighbors, and seem to feel we should be grateful for their thoughtful decision to still call Sunnyland a single-family neighborhood. We have nothing against renters, and council members are obfuscating the point by trying to make that the issue. We hope that our fellow citizens are paying attention.  There will be one more meeting before this is finalized. Perhaps they would hear us if they received a lot of letters, phone calls, and people making requests at the public comment period that there be safeguards in the language which would keep single-family zoning in actuality and not just in name.

Devil In the Details

Sat, Aug 16, 2014, 3:48 pm  //  Guest writer

Judith Green of the Sunnyland Neighborhood guest writes this brief summary of what went wrong with the planning last week.

0 comments

Reliable Prosperity

Thu, Aug 14, 2014, 3:13 pm  //  Guest writer

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Wed, Jul 23, 2014, 10:47 pm  //  Guest writer

Guest writer Mike Rostron explains how Bellingham city planners played loose and illegal with planning processes.

0 comments

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Mon, Jul 21, 2014, 5:30 am  //  Guest writer

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Fri, Jul 18, 2014, 1:24 pm  //  Guest writer

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Mon, Jul 07, 2014, 5:04 am  //  Guest writer

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Fri, Jul 04, 2014, 5:00 am  //  Guest writer

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Fri, Jun 27, 2014, 9:01 pm  //  Guest writer

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Sun, Jun 01, 2014, 12:39 am  //  Guest writer

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Wed, May 28, 2014, 3:15 pm  //  Guest writer

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Thu, May 22, 2014, 12:10 am  //  Guest writer

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Thu, May 01, 2014, 10:21 pm  //  Guest writer

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Sun, Apr 06, 2014, 4:29 pm  //  Guest writer

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Wed, Jan 29, 2014, 7:18 am  //  Guest writer

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Tue, Jan 14, 2014, 3:19 pm  //  Guest writer

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Fri, Dec 27, 2013, 5:00 am  //  Guest writer

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Mon, Dec 09, 2013, 1:24 pm  //  Guest writer

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Mon, Nov 18, 2013, 3:18 pm  //  Guest writer

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Mon, Jul 15, 2013, 9:08 am  //  Guest writer

The proposed development ought not proceed without a more extensive geological assessment and a thorough evaluation of the impacts on the Lincoln Creek watershed.

0 comments

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Mon, Jul 08, 2013, 1:30 pm  //  Guest writer

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Wed, Jul 03, 2013, 12:02 pm  //  Guest writer

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2 comments; last on Jul 04, 2013

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Fri, May 31, 2013, 12:01 am  //  Guest writer

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Fri, May 24, 2013, 1:18 am  //  Guest writer

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Wed, May 22, 2013, 11:12 am  //  Guest writer

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7 comments; last on May 26, 2013

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Mon, May 06, 2013, 2:40 am  //  Guest writer

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Sat, May 04, 2013, 1:09 pm  //  Guest writer

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Mon, Mar 11, 2013, 7:37 am  //  Guest writer

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1 comments; last on Mar 11, 2013

Again, we must “vote for the forest”.........or should we?

Fri, Mar 08, 2013, 1:54 am  //  Guest writer

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16 comments; last on Mar 12, 2013

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Sun, Feb 03, 2013, 4:05 pm  //  Guest writer

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11 comments; last on Feb 06, 2013

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Fri, Feb 01, 2013, 4:16 pm  //  Guest writer

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Thu, Jan 31, 2013, 1:36 pm  //  Guest writer

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Thu, Jan 31, 2013, 1:26 am  //  Guest writer

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Tue, Jan 29, 2013, 6:25 pm  //  Guest writer

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Sat, Jan 26, 2013, 9:18 pm  //  Guest writer

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Sat, Jan 26, 2013, 12:49 pm  //  Guest writer

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Thu, Jan 24, 2013, 10:49 am  //  Guest writer

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Tue, Oct 02, 2012, 12:07 am  //  Guest writer

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Fri, Sep 28, 2012, 9:45 am  //  Guest writer

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18 comments; last on Dec 02, 2012

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Mon, Aug 20, 2012, 7:24 pm  //  Guest writer

David Maas, a retired college prof, asks why the city of Bellingham is supposedly powerless to stop the development of a private project that will reshape our community?

5 comments; last on Aug 26, 2012

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Fri, Aug 17, 2012, 10:21 am  //  Guest writer

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2 comments; last on Aug 22, 2012

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Tue, Apr 24, 2012, 1:02 am  //  Guest writer

Developers are gaming the system with help from the county government - and big changes are made in multiple small changes.

1 comments; last on Apr 27, 2012

Growth, Sprawl & Infill:  Padden Trails Project

Fri, Apr 06, 2012, 8:16 am  //  Guest writer

Ken Mann writes a guest article of his personal support for the Padden Trails development inside the Bellingham city limits.

3 comments; last on Apr 07, 2012

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Mon, Mar 19, 2012, 1:07 am  //  Guest writer

Guest writer Bill Geyer, who is the consultant for the Padden Trails Development, presents facts and perspective on the development.

34 comments; last on Apr 16, 2012

Sunnyland neighborhood asks for support

Thu, Mar 15, 2012, 2:11 pm  //  Guest writer

By guest writer Mike Rostron. Sunnyland residents support infill but not overfill. The old Department of Transportation site on Sunset is the development site.

40 comments; last on Mar 19, 2012

Padden Trails is Chuckanut Ridge Lite

Wed, Feb 22, 2012, 2:04 am  //  Guest writer

Yet another neighborhood wants the Planning Department to protect public health, safety, and general welfare

6 comments; last on Feb 24, 2012

Squalicum Mountain development gets favors from county

Sat, Feb 18, 2012, 4:03 pm  //  Guest writer

No EIS - no real county planning concern about developing Squalicum Mountain and degrading Lake Whatcom water even further.

0 comments

The Big Business of Breast Cancer

Wed, Feb 08, 2012, 10:14 am  //  Guest writer

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2 comments; last on Feb 11, 2012

CameraGate:  Red-light safety or city revenue?

Mon, Nov 21, 2011, 2:00 am  //  Guest writer

With budget woes, Bellingham passes on safety in favor of cash. Starting in 2008, Bellingham officials were coached by ATS on how to get Red Light cameras through…

26 comments; last on Nov 30, 2011

Snail Pace Counting: Cost, Speed, or Accuracy. Pick two.

Sun, Nov 13, 2011, 4:45 pm  //  Guest writer

Guest writer, Stephen K. Schuck, a citizen elections observer, explains the processes and problems with vote counting

4 comments; last on Nov 14, 2011

Bad Idea, Wrong Place, and Wrong Time

Mon, Oct 31, 2011, 4:07 pm  //  Guest writer

Bob Ferris of Re-Sources takes a values based perspective on our community and a possible coal port.

9 comments; last on Nov 02, 2011

Something Wiccan This Way Comes

Thu, Oct 27, 2011, 8:19 am  //  Guest writer

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1 comments; last on Nov 02, 2011

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Wed, Oct 19, 2011, 1:23 pm  //  Guest writer

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16 comments; last on Oct 23, 2011

Is this Dan Pike’s campaign strategy?

Mon, Sep 12, 2011, 4:10 pm  //  Guest writer

Guest writer Doug Starcher weighs in on the mayoral campaign.

4 comments; last on Sep 15, 2011

Let the citizens decide on Red Light Cameras

Mon, Aug 01, 2011, 4:01 pm  //  Guest writer

Johnny Weaver has a guest article about his initiative to ban Red Light Cameras in Bellingham.

4 comments; last on Aug 03, 2011

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Wed, Jun 01, 2011, 5:32 pm  //  Guest writer

Guest writer Mark Flanders' call to action for June 1 flash mob at coal port meeting

7 comments; last on Jun 09, 2011

State Blocks Protesters from Capitol

Tue, Apr 19, 2011, 1:15 am  //  Guest writer

Citizens are denied access to the budget debate and evicted from the capitol while the media is blocked from the building

0 comments

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Wed, Mar 30, 2011, 10:44 am  //  Guest writer

Elisabeth Marshall explains that Washington is one of several states looking at the advantages of a state-owned Public Bank

1 comments; last on Apr 03, 2011

Clayton Petree announces for Mayor of Bellingham

Fri, Mar 18, 2011, 10:00 am  //  Guest writer

Clayton announces "unconventional" campaign, and promises bold new ideas from a new generation of leadership.

1 comments; last on Mar 19, 2011

The (political) world according to Karp

Sat, Mar 05, 2011, 6:20 pm  //  Guest writer

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9 comments; last on Mar 09, 2011

Port punts on commercial moorage rates

Thu, Feb 17, 2011, 7:30 pm  //  Guest writer

Guest writer Doug Karlberg follows up with report from Tuesday's Port Commission meeting

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