You can’t fight city hall: city hall doesn’t fight fairPermalink +
Fri, Aug 22, 2014, 2:06 pm // Guest writer
Pat McKee guest writes this. He is a resident of Sunnyland and was a leader in their seven year planning effort.
The future look of Bellingham's distinctive single family neighborhoods will soon be on display in Sub Area 8 of the Sunnyland Neighborhood. Sub Area 8 is located between Sunset Dr. and Illinois St, adjacent to the blue dome of St Sophia Church. The four acre area is commonly referred to as "the DOT site."
The Bellingham Planning Department staff took extraordinary, unprecedented steps, so you can see what they're going to do to your neighborhood in the near future. The planning staff amended the infamous "Infill Toolkit Code" Chapter 20.28.020.A by simply adding the words "and in Area 8 of the Sunnyland Neighborhood." For the first time, in a "residential single-detached" zoning area, all infill housing forms can now be constructed in Sub Area 8. Everything from courtyard apartment buildings, townhouses, triplexes, cottage houses, carriage houses, and detached ADU's are permitted. Normally, amending city code requires 30 days public notice, followed by Planning Commission and Bellingham City Council public hearings. Letters are sent and public testimony is recorded. None of the above was done in this case.
Mayor Linville and her staff are planning to insert tool kit housing forms into older center-city neighborhoods. The mayor no longer uses the term "infill housing." The mayor and Council Committee Chairman Weiss are working on ways to locate "innovative housing" in areas where infrastructure, and transit are in place. Translated, that means the distinctive, older single family neighborhoods we know and love, will be in-filled.
In 2007, the Sunnyland Neighborhood Association (SNA) held large neighborhood meetings, distributed questionnaires, and conducted neighborhood surveys. There was a strong consensus in the neighborhood that Sub Area 8 should be rezoned similar to the surrounding single family zoned areas. SNA drew up an amendment and rezone proposal for Sub Area 8. The zoning was "Residential Single, Detached." Density was described in dwelling units per square foot. Lot sizes were flexible. This was intended to make the most efficient use of the land available. SNA estimated that lot sizes would range from 3600sf. to 5000sf. Seven dwelling units per acre, or a total of 28 dwelling units would be permitted on the site. Craftsman-style home design standards were required. The plan offered a possible future option of two unit, owner occupied townhouses fronting on Sunset Dr. In 2008, Bellingham Planning Director Tim Steward stated that the SNA Sub Area 8 amendment and rezone proposal met all of his criteria, and he docketed the proposal for consideration by the City Council.
Ever since 2008, planning dept staff have wanted to use Sunnyland's Sub Area 8 as a stage on which to display infill housing forms. The SNA Sub Area 8 rezone plan was largely a traditional single family zoning proposal, and did not fit in with planning staff goals. City staff tried to discredit, and block the SNA proposal. From 2007 to 2014, the Bellingham Planning Department never scheduled a City Council public hearing for the SNA rezone proposal.The planning department pulled every trick in the book to block or delay the SNA proposal from consideration by the City Council. In February 2010, after waiting for two years on the city docket, the planning dept dropped the SNA proposal from the docket. SNA was given no notification or explanation. In July 2012, the City Council put the SNA proposal on the annual docket for the second time. The planning department delayed a City Council public hearing for two more years.
In July 2014, the City Council held a public hearing to consider the SNA DOT Site rezone proposal. At the hearing, planning staff submitted a completely new alternative rezone proposal for the council to consider. The City Council rejected the staff proposal, and referred the SNA proposal to the Council Planning Committee. The next Council Planning Committee meeting on August 4th was supposed to discuss the SNA rezone, but once again the planning department staff brought another alternative proposal. The planning department proposal permits townhouses, cottage houses, carriage houses, detached ADU's, and small detached houses. The plan allows 35 primary dwelling units. ADU's will likely bring the actual dwelling unit count to over 40 units. The zoning is "Residential-single-detached/mixed." The use of the "mixed" qualifier permits attached housing like townhouses and leaves open the possibility for multi-family housing with future Sub Area 8 code changes. This time the council committee dropped the SNA proposal, and accepted the planning staff rezone proposal.
On August 11th, the full City Council approved a planning staff amendment and rezone of Sub Area 8 in Sunnyland by a 5-1 vote. The well paid, full time city staff made certain that the hundreds of hours of volunteer citizen work that went into Sunnyland's proposal was never considered by City Council.
YOU CAN'T FIGHT CITY HALL. YOU HAVE TO ELECT A CITY COUNCIL, WHO WILL FIGHT FOR YOU.
Fri, Aug 22, 2014, 2:06 pm // Guest writerPatrick McKee of the Sunnyland Neighborhood guest-writes about the August 11 City Council slap-dash zoning changes.
2 comments; last on Aug 23, 2014
Sat, Aug 16, 2014, 3:48 pm // Guest writerJudith Green of the Sunnyland Neighborhood guest writes this brief summary of what went wrong with the planning last week.
1 comments; last on Aug 22, 2014
Mon, Jul 21, 2014, 5:30 am // Guest writerLandlords are so caught up opposing a licensing and inspection ordinance, they cannot see the upside for them in ridding the city of bad rentals.
19 comments; last on Aug 01, 2014
Fri, Jul 18, 2014, 1:24 pm // Guest writerJudith Green explains how the Bellingham Planning Department is trying to cram their plan onto a neighborhood.
5 comments; last on Jul 21, 2014
Tue, May 13, 2014, 5:04 pm // Wendy HarrisBellingham's annual water quality report indicates that city hall's propoganda machine is going strong
1 comments; last on May 14, 2014
Sun, Jan 19, 2014, 9:39 pm // John ServaisSuper Bowl ... Weed Bowl ... This bud's for you ... Bong Bowl ... Marijuana Bowl ... whatever. It is on!
1 comments; last on Jan 20, 2014
Fri, Dec 27, 2013, 5:00 am // Guest writerGuest writer Barbara Perry writes about Bellingham Parks refusal to allow motorized wheel chairs to recharge at public electrical outlets.
6 comments; last on Jan 03, 2014
Wed, Mar 06, 2013, 11:05 am // Dick ConoboyYou 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
Tue, Feb 26, 2013, 7:39 am // Riley SweeneyRiley details upcoming merger between PeaceHealth and a much more conservative entity
1 comments; last on Feb 26, 2013
Wed, Feb 08, 2012, 10:14 am // Guest writerThere’s no profit in searching for causes, and we know there's no real cure. But there's big money in the detection and treatment of breast cancer.
2 comments; last on Feb 11, 2012
Mon, Oct 31, 2011, 4:07 pm // Guest writerBob Ferris of Re-Sources takes a values based perspective on our community and a possible coal port.
9 comments; last on Nov 02, 2011
Mon, Nov 29, 2010, 6:16 am // Riley SweeneyRiley Sweeney examines facts vs beliefs and comprehensive sex education
4 comments; last on Dec 01, 2010
Sat, Mar 27, 2010, 6:45 am // Craig MayberrySome questions on health care reform to our Congressional delegation.
Wed, Mar 10, 2010, 9:42 pm // Kamalla Rose KaurMaybe NOAA knows the truth about our waterfront. Our Port of Bellingham pretends it is not toxic. But it is criminally toxic.
2 comments; last on Mar 16, 2010
Sat, Feb 27, 2010, 8:22 pm // Guest writerBy guest writer Nanette Davis, Ph.D. Elder care is a growing crisis nationally and locally.
1 comments; last on Mar 02, 2010
Wed, Jan 13, 2010, 6:59 am // Ham HayesWhat will New York's proposed salt reduction laws do for us?
Thu, Dec 31, 2009, 7:15 pm // Tip JohnsonTip writes a letter to President Obama about Health Care and about his concerns that Obama has sold us short.
8 comments; last on Jan 04, 2010
Fri, Nov 27, 2009, 10:00 pm // Craig MayberryThis is a reprint of one of my earlier posts on health care. The issue is more timely now and I thought I would re-enter it into the…
4 comments; last on Dec 13, 2009
Wed, Sep 23, 2009, 11:38 pm // Craig MayberryOne of the underlying currents of the recent discussions around health care is the role of the federal government. I thought it would be interesting to see how…
3 comments; last on Sep 25, 2009
Tue, Sep 15, 2009, 9:00 am // Craig MayberryMuch has been made of czars in the current administration; however, one czar in particular should have people from both political sides a little nervous. In a case…
4 comments; last on Sep 17, 2009
Wed, Aug 19, 2009, 1:18 am // Craig MayberryThere is an increasingly wide divide in the health care debate that at its source comes down to a fundamental disconnect between the opposing sides. While the Democrats…
4 comments; last on Aug 20, 2009
Mon, Aug 10, 2009, 10:40 pm // Craig MayberryThe health care debate seems to center on fixing two important problems. The first is the people who do not have any insurance, and the second is the…
2 comments; last on Aug 11, 2009
Fri, Aug 07, 2009, 12:11 am // Craig Mayberry(sent to email@example.com seeking clarification before I report on people providing erroneous information on health care reform)
How are we suppose to know what is erroneous information abou
4 comments; last on Aug 07, 2009
Wed, Jul 15, 2009, 6:56 pm // Craig MayberryThe big debate in Congress is now the health care. A number of months ago I posted another option and will repost that again in the next few…
7 comments; last on Jul 20, 2009
Thu, Nov 27, 2008, 3:55 pm // John ServaisI just want anyone who comes by this site today to see a few positive and thankful words. My first thoughts were that my feelings lately are not…
1 comments; last on Nov 27, 2008
Thu, Nov 22, 2007, 4:35 pm // John ServaisThis from Lois Garlick
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.
And thank you. Your support in my campaign for County Executive was tremendous. I had no comprehension
Tue, Jun 12, 2007, 8:03 pm // Site ManagementArmed Service veterans are twice as likely to commit suicide as civilians. Just another intangible cost of the insane war in Iraq. (It applies to all male vets…
Wed, Oct 19, 2005, 4:28 pm // John ServaisGot your attention? Time magazine has an article this week about our Bellingham fight over whether or not to put fluoride in our drinking water. It is worth…
Sat, Jul 02, 2005, 5:18 pm // Site ManagementThe link to No Forced Fluoride in Bellingham is posted to the right. The pro-fluoride initiative backers - financed by Seattle powers with well-laundered money passed along to…
Wed, Jun 22, 2005, 5:28 pm // Site ManagementWe found the nerve endings. The fluoride proponents don't like the word "medicine" as used in the June 16 post below. Of course fluoride in water is just…
Thu, Jun 16, 2005, 5:32 pm // Site ManagementThe fluoride proponents don't have a clue. They don't get it. When I open my water tap, I want clean water to come out, not medicine.
These well-meaning folks…
Fri, Jun 27, 2003, 5:59 pm // John ServaisThe carpenters' strike at St. Joe's Hospital continues. They are also striking several other construction sites around Bellingham. The dispute is over the construction industry association reducing th
Tue, Dec 24, 2002, 11:39 pm // John ServaisOur annual holiday greetings to readers
Election InfoCounty Candidate Filings
State Elections Website
Whatcom County Elections
Coal, Oil & TrainsCoal Stop
Community Wise Bellingham
Powder River Basin R. C.
Local Blogs & NewsBellingham Herald
Bham Herald Politics Blog
Bham Politics & Economics
Bhm Biz Journal
Friends of Whatcom
Get Whatcom Planning
League of Women Voters
Western Front - WWU
Local CausesChuckanut Community Forest
City Club of Bellingham
Futurewise - Whatcom
Lummi Island Quarry
N. Cascades Audubon
NW Holocaust Center
Salish Sea Org.
Save the Granary Building
WA Conservation Voters
Whatcom Peace & Justice
Port of Bellingham
State Elections Website
US - The White House
WA State Access
WA State Elections
WA State Legislature
Weather & ClimateCliff Mass Weather Blog
Nat Hurricane Center
Two day forecast
Watts Up With That? - climate
Edge of Sports
Famous Internet Skiers
Good Web SitesAl-Jazeera online
Change The Mascot
Foreign Policy in Focus
Innocence Project, The
Intrnational Herald Tribune
Julia Ioffe/New Republic
Middle East Times
New American Century
Paul Krugman - economics
Personal bio info
Portland Indy Media
Project Vote Smart
Stand for the Troops
Talking Points Memo
The Crisis Papers
War and Piece
NwCitizen 1995 - 2007Early Northwest Citizen
Quiet, Offline or DeadBellingham Police Activity
Citizens of Bellingham
Cordata & Meridian
Facebook Port Reform
N. Sound Conservancy
No Leaky Buckets
Protect Bellingham Parks
The American Telegraph