Bellingham Updating Accessory Dwelling Laws

Sat, Nov 14, 2015, 5:33 pm   //   Guest writer

Guest writer, Shannon Maris, says this about herself.   I am a residential building designer in Bellingham. I am on the front lines of people wanting to build…
Editor's Blog

The Walls Come Tumbling Down

Mon, Nov 23, 2015, 7:28 pm

Today marked a milestone in the site preparation for the Bellingham waterfront redevelopment.  The gigantic hoppers that fed chips to the pulp digesters were toppled to clear the way for demolishing the rest of the digester building.  Demolition should proceed quickly from here.  A reasonable crowd of a hundred or so braved the cold to watch for the eventful moment.

The public should be wary of fugitive dust emissions from the site, as mercury has been seen to saturate building materials in the vicinity of mercury vapor emissions such as occurred from the chlor-alkali production cells.  Similarly, the demolition debris should be tested, since methylation of mercury is known to occur even in environments with high sulfide concentrations.  The sulfide based operation of Georgia-Pacific has often been used to suggest that methylation of mercury should be minimal, but studies elsewhere have shown otherwise.

Tip Johnson

County blocking new senior living home

Wed, Nov 18, 2015, 3:45 pm

Elisabeth Britt over on her Latte Republic website has a new article that raises good questions about our county planning department.  The proposed 'Lincoln Park Retirement Center' for Lincolm Road between Blaine and Birch Bay is being denied by the county.  Why?  Elisabeth explores the issue in her article.  This senior living home would provide senior living residences plus suites for dementia patients.  There is a need for both these types of homes in Whatcom County.  

On my read, it seems the county planning staff just plain do not think this the right place for a senior living facility, even though the planning codes very specifically allow for it.  Maybe not the rule of law.  The article includes an action agenda with contacts to encourage the county to follow its own codes.  

- John Servais


Tue, Nov 17, 2015, 5:13 pm

In 1984, I started Fairhaven Boatworks at Boulevard Park with four dories and a couple sections of wooden floats.  In 1985, I moved to the Port of Bellingham's Fairhaven Terminal.  For all the years I ran the Boatworks, the Port of Bellingham steadfastly refused to post signage for the business or list it in their property catalogue.

Well the times are changing!

Today an observant citizen notified me that a new sign had appeared near the boat launch bathrooms near the Amtrak Station.  It was hard to believe, especially since Fairhaven Boatworks transitioned into the Community Boating Center in 2007.  But a picture is worth a thousand words.

As the saying goes, you shouldn't care what they say as long as they spell the name correctly. 

Oh well.

- Tip Johnson

Peace for Paris

Sat, Nov 14, 2015, 8:32 pm

We support the people of Paris. And hope that Hollande will not be "merciless" in his retaliation, as he said he would. It does become a spiral.  Here is an article on why France and Paris over other countries and cities.  This symbol resonates.

- John Servais

County Stonewalls Restorative Community Coalition

Mon, Nov 02, 2015, 2:01 pm

According to a report from County Executive candidate Joy Gilfilen, the County has - in a classic stonewall - summarily rejected the Restorative Community Coalition’s Request for an Investigation and Notice of Improper Conduct.  This was learned verbally today at the meeting of the Whatcom County Incarceration Prevention and ReductionTask Force, but the response is being processed by mail so details will not be available until after the election.  It is not known if the Task Force or the Ethics Commission actually considered the complaint, or if the County administration rejected it for them.

It appears a similar and expanded complaint filed by the Whatcom Civil Rights Project and sent to the County Prosecutor, State Attorney General and Public Disclosure Commission will also remain without response until after the election - when we can reasonably expect it to be similarly rejected.

The drive to build a regional FEMA-style detention center will resume after the election with or without the passage of the jail tax.  Citizens concerned with over-incarceration in Whatcom County will have to redouble their efforts even after the votes are counted.  Citizen outreach to the officials and agencies above will need to be resounding and substantial funds will likely need to be raised for the matter to be prosecuted in court after it is ignored by the responsible parties.

And who said your vote doesn't count?  Unfortunately it often counts too little and too late.  This is why political philosophers say the first rule is to vote the innies out.  When you've finished, you can start over.

Tip Johnson

Real name required for commenting

Mon, Nov 02, 2015, 1:29 pm

Just approved another 5 people for commenting on NWCitizen. Each provided their actual name - first and last - and how I could contact them for verification.  We welcome local residents to comment.  I have denied commenting to some from other states as this site deals with local issues.  If someone lives elsewhere but has local roots or is temporarily away, we are always open to their commenting.  

But with the controversial postings of late, a lot of new applications will not be enabled.  The supposed real names of these are:  Agorgape, Catmom, 5cher, peonietiger, rj416, Pace, engaged  - and on and on like that.  Tilt.  Back when we first enabled coments, I would try and track down all these folks and see if they wanted to comment using their actual names. I still do that if I have time.

If you do want to comment, we need to know that you are who you say you are. Here is a brief explanation of basic info needed.

Screen Name. Your actual name. Mine is John Servais. It appears with your comments on the computer screen.

Username.  The word you use to login - it can be 5char or Catmom or rj415.

Password.  Up to you.  We cannot see this. Total privacy for you.

Email address.  

Where you live.  Bellingham or Whatcom County or Lummi Island or Deming. Make it real.

Phone number.  So we can contact you to verify your identity if needed. We often do this.

Those are the basics.  We have over 300 registered commenters. All receive our occasional emails with notice of new posts and sometimes other information.  

So, Bobin44, tma1, and others, I think most of you might have not realized that your "screen name" needs to be your real normal name. If you applied and have not been approved, pleae feel free to email me with your real name and I can enable you. I'll know it is you from your email address. Your login and password can stay the same.

- John Servais

Whatcom Civil Rights Project Files Complaint Against County

Sat, Oct 31, 2015, 1:59 pm

The Whatcom Civil Rights Project has filed a complaint against the County.  There could be quite a lot of egg on the faces of folks if their favorite candidates and public officials end up on federal racketeering charges.  Just sayin'.

Tip Johnson

Jail Deal - Call for Investigation

Tue, Oct 27, 2015, 11:42 am

We have done our best to show how the jail tax and jail proposal don't pass the smell test.  We are not alone.

The Restorative Justice Folks have collaborated with other concerned citizens to outline a list of questionable points of public conduct and called for the Whatcom County Ethics Commission and the Incarceration Reduction and Prevention Task Force to investigate.

Their notice is published here.

The document can be seen here.

Tip Johnson

Bellingham Police Guild: Vote No on Jail

Mon, Oct 19, 2015, 6:44 pm

Update in late evening

Also - the Bellingham-Whatcom County Professional Fire Fighters - IAFF Local 106 - have urged voters to reject - vote no - on the jail sales tax proposition.  The two organizations put out a joint statement this afternoon.  

Posted 3:30 pm today

In a bombshell announcement, the Bellingham Police Guild today urged that the jail sales tax proposition be voted NO by citiizens.  The announcement, on the Police Guild website, notes that they supported the 2004 jail tax and that while $31 million has been collected from that, little has been done towards a new jail.  

They also noted that fuzzy language in 2004 allowed those funds to be diverted to other uses than a new jail for the past 10 years, and that the same fuzzy language is in this year's proposition.  

The announcement also notes that other large local law enforcement organizations have not supported this year's proposition.  

- John Servais

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Update on Lincoln Street Student Housing Project

Mon, Nov 23, 2015, 5:41 am  //  Dick Conoboy

The student housing project for 648 individuals called NXNW (North by Northwest) on Lincoln Street is moving forward briskly. This is an update.

4 comments; last on Nov 25, 2015

Tax incentives proposed for Fairhaven apartments - Updated

Mon, Nov 16, 2015, 10:41 pm  //  John Servais

Council to allow three weeks for written comments on tax exemption proposal for high density buildings in quiet Fairhaven neighborhood

9 comments; last on Nov 19, 2015

Accessory Dwelling Units - There Is No Rush

Mon, Nov 16, 2015, 4:30 am  //  Dick Conoboy

There is no reason to rush an updated ordinance on ADUs when we do not even know what the current number is or where existing illegal units are…

7 comments; last on Nov 17, 2015

Bellingham Updating Accessory Dwelling Laws

Sat, Nov 14, 2015, 5:33 pm  //  Guest writer

By Shannon Maris. Detached ADUs - the 'mother in law' mini cottages - are being considered by the city of Bellingham. This impacts every home owner.

3 comments; last on Nov 19, 2015

Veterans Day and Thanking Veterans

Wed, Nov 11, 2015, 4:23 am  //  Dick Conoboy

Some personal thoughts on thanking our veterans for their service

1 comments; last on Nov 11, 2015

Whatcom Co.: Voting and Vote-Counting with Integrity

Sun, Nov 08, 2015, 9:25 pm  //  Guest writer

An overview of Whatcom County's method of processing ballots and counting votes.

2 comments; last on Nov 14, 2015

Final Election Returns: Jail Tax Rejected

Fri, Nov 06, 2015, 4:37 pm  //  John Servais

Satpal Sidhu wins council seat. Virtually all the ballots are now counted. Challenges and a few special are left.

1 comments; last on Nov 06, 2015

Thursday Voting Update

Thu, Nov 05, 2015, 9:17 pm  //  John Servais

Jail sales tax is being rejected - and the NO vote is increasing. Sidhu - Kerschner still undecided. Props 2, 3, 9 and 10 all should pass.

1 comments; last on Nov 06, 2015

Wednesday Vote Changes

Wed, Nov 04, 2015, 6:45 pm  //  John Servais

Second tally of 10,000 more ballots is in. Jail sales tax is now being rejected. Probably 15,000 or more ballots to go.

2 comments; last on Nov 05, 2015

Important Election Issues Undecided

Wed, Nov 04, 2015, 12:05 am  //  John Servais

The first returns - probably 60% of the final vote - shows contradictory propositions passing and most candidate races decided.

7 comments; last on Nov 04, 2015

Growing Veterans

Mon, Nov 02, 2015, 8:04 am  //  Dick Conoboy

Growing Veterans was created to empower military veterans to grow food, communities, and each other.

2 comments; last on Nov 04, 2015

More on Propositions 1 and 9

Sun, Nov 01, 2015, 9:31 am  //  John Servais

Where more substantial evidence is presented against proposition 9 - and why you should vote REJECTED on it.

24 comments; last on Nov 04, 2015

NWCitizen Publisher’s Voting Choices

Sat, Oct 31, 2015, 2:02 am  //  John Servais

As an independent citizen and political junkie, here is how I am voting - with brief reasons for my choices.

8 comments; last on Nov 03, 2015

NAMI Whatcom Opposes Prop 2015-1

Tue, Oct 27, 2015, 6:56 pm  //  Tip Johnson

The latest addition and the issue in review


Dwindling Information Makes Voters Susceptible to Spin

Mon, Oct 26, 2015, 11:39 pm  //  Whatcom Citizen

A perspective on the our changing news system, the consequences, and the challenges for the future. With a suggestion of the solution.

5 comments; last on Oct 28, 2015

Info Slowmo

Mon, Oct 26, 2015, 3:32 pm  //  Tip Johnson

When they feel you just don't need to know

4 comments; last on Oct 28, 2015

The Mysterious State of the Whatcom County Jail

Mon, Oct 26, 2015, 1:57 pm  //  Tip Johnson

Wherein the operative information is $$$ECRET

3 comments; last on Oct 29, 2015

Effort to Stop Bakken Oil Trains

Sat, Oct 24, 2015, 1:26 pm  //  John Servais

Whatcom group plans meeting workshop to submit comments to Washington Dept of Ecology against Skagit/Bakken oil trains.

6 comments; last on Oct 26, 2015

Fairhaven Pharmacy Closes Today - For Real

Tue, Oct 20, 2015, 2:53 pm  //  John Servais

After 126 years in business, Fairhaven Pharmacy closes for the last time at 6 p.m. today. Historic Fairhaven Association to do Halloween photos.

1 comments; last on Oct 20, 2015

Louws Regrets Jail Mailer

Tue, Oct 20, 2015, 9:25 am  //  John Servais

County Executive - and candidate for reelection -Jack Louws has written county officials with his regrets over jail mailer.

8 comments; last on Oct 24, 2015

Let’s not squander the next 30 years

Sun, Oct 18, 2015, 11:37 am  //  John Servais

The jail sales tax proposition is a road to perdition for our county. It is a waste and has been deceptively promoted.

4 comments; last on Oct 20, 2015

Making a Jail: Bamboozle!

Fri, Oct 16, 2015, 4:52 pm  //  Tip Johnson

With a smarmy October Surprise

9 comments; last on Oct 19, 2015

Court: No Radio Towers in Point Roberts

Thu, Oct 08, 2015, 7:14 am  //  John Lesow

A Canadian radio station is trying to install huge radio towers in Point Roberts for a Canadian audience. Citizen movement has fought them.


James King Resigns as Bellingham Parks Director

Sat, Oct 03, 2015, 2:47 pm  //  John Servais

James King to return to Alaska and take job with U.S. Forest Service. Mayor will appoint a new parks director.

1 comments; last on Oct 04, 2015

Just Say No - to the Incarceration-Industrial Complex

Fri, Oct 02, 2015, 10:48 am  //  David Camp

The "... new jail just doesn't pencil out", writes a well qualified accountant. A look at the future costs of the proposed jail.

11 comments; last on Oct 09, 2015

Alternative Jail Proposal for City Center

Tue, Sep 22, 2015, 4:54 pm  //  John Servais

There is a good alternative for a decent jail - but we first must vote down the jail sales tax proposal in November.

5 comments; last on Sep 24, 2015

Wendy DeFreest is Opening a ‘Burger Joint’

Sat, Sep 19, 2015, 3:37 pm  //  John Servais

Wendy DeFreest, of Avenue Bread, will open a new "burger joint" called The Filling Station by late October in Fairhaven. It will not be a sandwich cafe.


That Louwsy Jail Deal

Tue, Sep 15, 2015, 5:26 pm  //  Tip Johnson

FEMA camp or new county seat?

13 comments; last on Oct 15, 2015

A Learning Moment - Hopefully

Sun, Sep 13, 2015, 8:42 am  //  John Servais

Beware walking RR tracks on the Fairhaven waterfront in the event of unexpected encounter with a high speed train

2 comments; last on Sep 18, 2015

Second Water Main Break on Donovan in a Year

Mon, Sep 07, 2015, 8:06 pm  //  Tip Johnson

Mains a' bursting - Avast!


Homeowner to city: Please buy me out

Wed, Aug 26, 2015, 9:17 am  //  John Servais

Padden Creek daylighting project strays far from city promises to homeowner that his property would remain intact.

4 comments; last on Sep 05, 2015

How Our Community Can Welcome Our Troops Home

Mon, Aug 24, 2015, 4:11 am  //  Guest writer

Christopher Brown guest writes how traditional communal warrior reintegration practices could help our returning combat veterans.


Black Lives Matter, Occupy WS & Whatcom Jail

Wed, Aug 19, 2015, 6:55 pm  //  Whatcom Citizen

A Whatcom Citizen writes of protest movements and how our proposed county mega jail is related to them.

15 comments; last on Sep 04, 2015

$15/hr Minimum Wage - Seriously?

Wed, Aug 19, 2015, 4:00 am  //  Dick Conoboy

Moves to set the minimum wage to $15, even if successful, are woefully insufficient. And why aren't people speaking out about abusive work scheduling?

2 comments; last on Sep 17, 2015

Local retired librarian injured by police

Mon, Aug 17, 2015, 11:17 pm  //  Guest writer

Bruce Radtke, a retired Bellingham librarian, reported to be assaulted by police for handing out leaflets

5 comments; last on Aug 27, 2015

Predictive Policing Comes to Bellingham

Sun, Aug 16, 2015, 2:39 pm  //  Guest writer

Is the tail wagging the dog? Edward Alexander guest writes on why predictive software for our police needs basic questions answered before purchase.

1 comments; last on Aug 22, 2015

Gunfight at Cornwall Park on Wednesday

Thu, Aug 13, 2015, 10:29 am  //  John Servais

Nothing in the Herald this morning, so NWCitizen is informing citizens of shootout at Cornwall Park.

1 comments; last on Aug 13, 2015

Whatcom Conservation District Elections

Sun, Aug 09, 2015, 10:52 am  //  Guest writer

Barbara Perry has been researching the secretive election processes of the Whatcom Conservation District. Really secretive. Probably fraudulent.

1 comments; last on Aug 12, 2015

Election Results - Aug 4 Primary

Tue, Aug 04, 2015, 7:09 pm  //  John Servais

9:52 - final post for tonight. A running blog about the election results on this August evening. Feel free to comment.

8 comments; last on Aug 06, 2015

The Hansen’s Giant Rental Megaplex - Part 2

Tue, Aug 04, 2015, 9:14 am  //  Dick Conoboy

While the city deals with permitting on the Hansen rental megaplexes, the council has asked for proposals from staff on design standards for historic areas.

9 comments; last on Aug 07, 2015

Whatcom Co.: 90 Million Gallons of Water a Day

Tue, Jul 21, 2015, 11:42 pm  //  Guest writer

Eric Hirst provides us all with a well researched report on Whatcom County water issues - rights, Lake Whatcom, ground water and more.

10 comments; last on Aug 12, 2015

Electromagnetic Radiation: Who’s Looking Out for You?

Tue, Jul 14, 2015, 3:13 pm  //  John Lesow

The fight to keep Point Roberts from becoming a Radio Tower Farm is not over.

3 comments; last on Jul 22, 2015

Kudos to Our Police

Mon, Jul 13, 2015, 4:38 am  //  Dick Conoboy

Bellingham police are obviously trained to de-escalate armed confrontations. This is the way it should be.

6 comments; last on Jul 14, 2015

Lois Garlick was our hero

Thu, Jul 09, 2015, 7:27 am  //  John Servais

Lois Garlick has died. For many decades, she and George served as environmental stewards and leaders in preserving wildlife and nature.

2 comments; last on Jul 10, 2015

Whatcom County Council adds ballot measure

Wed, Jul 08, 2015, 8:27 am  //  John Servais

Last minute political maneuvering by liberal council seeks to counter conservative review commission ballot proposals.

1 comments; last on Aug 12, 2015

Charter amendments approved

Tue, Jul 07, 2015, 8:13 am  //  John Servais

The Charter Review Commission made Monday evening's meeting their last - and forwarded 8 charter amendments to the County Council

3 comments; last on Jul 08, 2015

Family Home For Rent: $44,000/year

Tue, Jul 07, 2015, 4:34 am  //  Dick Conoboy

For Rent: York neighborhood, new, 7 bedroom single-family home, near WWU. Only $44,000 a year. City planning not paying attention.

6 comments; last on Jul 09, 2015

Charter Commission Tricks

Mon, Jul 06, 2015, 3:30 pm  //  John Servais

Two dirty tricks by the uber-conservative minority on the Charter Review Commission aimed to put their agenda before the council.

3 comments; last on Jul 07, 2015

Drought Tree Emergency!

Thu, Jul 02, 2015, 1:55 pm  //  David Camp

Trees are dying for lack of water! Only citizen action can save them.


Fireworks and Clay Butler

Thu, Jul 02, 2015, 6:47 am  //  Dick Conoboy

If your 4th of July holiday is much more quiet this year, you can thank Clay Bulter who passed away at the end of May.


A Tale of Three Rezones

Mon, Jun 29, 2015, 4:00 am  //  Dick Conoboy

The Samish Neighborhood Plan has been the subject of three undesired rezones in the last year. The city ignores its own guidelines to the detriment of all.


County prosecutor plays cruel games

Thu, Jun 25, 2015, 5:00 pm  //  John Servais

Updated at 6 pm. Our county justice system has spent 6 years trying to teach Luba Pekisheva that she should not defend herself. Justice denied and miscarried.

8 comments; last on Jul 22, 2015

Proposed New County Lockup - Financial Analysis

Mon, Jun 22, 2015, 4:00 pm  //  David Camp

A look at the proposal in historic financial context with projections and several questions for the proponents.

8 comments; last on Jul 10, 2015

Hansen-Iron Street Rental Megaplex Planned for York Neighborhood

Mon, Jun 01, 2015, 2:49 am  //  Dick Conoboy

Three extraordinarily large (7-bedroom) single family home rentals are proposed by developers Dave and Jon Hansen on Iron St. in the York Neighborhood.

7 comments; last on Jun 10, 2015

Chiara D’Angelo comes down from anchor chain

Mon, May 25, 2015, 7:17 pm  //  John Servais

Young Chiara spent 3 nights hanging from the anchor chain of Shell Oil's Arctic Challenger as a protest to arctic oil drilling.


Flash Mob Protests Arctic Drilling

Thu, May 21, 2015, 10:50 pm  //  Tip Johnson

Wherein we ponder the fate of humanity


Joy Gilfilen Declares for County Executive

Mon, May 18, 2015, 10:17 pm  //  John Servais

Joy Gilfilen is challenging incumbent Jack Louws for County Executive.

4 comments; last on May 20, 2015

85 County Single Candidate Elections

Fri, May 15, 2015, 5:10 pm  //  John Servais

Running update of who is filing for office in Whatcom County. Posts during day Friday and final update Friday evening.

4 comments; last on May 17, 2015

Updated:  Ski to Sea Tries to Bully Bellingham

Wed, May 13, 2015, 4:30 pm  //  John Servais

Updated | Ski to Sea race does not need to race through sensitive Chuckanut Community Forest Park for special mountain bike leg. City did not renege.

10 comments; last on May 15, 2015

County proposes free pass for vacation rentals

Sun, Apr 26, 2015, 1:05 pm  //  Guest writer

Tani Sutley writes a second article on the increasing number of vacation rentals - and the County Council bill to let them expand dramatically.

4 comments; last on May 02, 2015


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