On his personal blog, former City Councilman John Watts has written a column entitled, “Chuckanut Ridge: Land Supply Implications” in which he concludes, “without a reasonable level of build-out on Chuckanut Ridge – now being called ‘Fairhaven Highlands’ – the city will need considerably more additional space for its projected new population growth than any estimate that assumes build out of CR.”
[Before I respectfully disagree, I’d like to publicly offer my condolensces for the loss of John’s cat, Giddy Gato. John and Joan, I hope you received our sympathy card.]
OK, here’s why I respectfully disagree: The city’s land supply analysis - which is designed to accommodate its projected population growth - fully anticipates that a certain amount of developable land within city limits will be preserved as parks. It does not, however, specifically identify which land will be preserved. As far as the land supply analysis (LSA) is concerned, it does not matter whether Chuckanut Ridge is preserved or whether a similar parcel in any other neighborhood is preserved. The LSA specifically includes a reduction of the city’s population capacity by 14,197 people due to the preservation of 891 acres of developable land for parks. In other words, the LSA already accounts for the fact that parcels like Chuckanut Ridge may be preserved and not developed.
Contrary to John’s claim, there is absolutely no need to add land because these 891 parkland acres, which can easily include Chuckanut Ridge, will be preserved. Further, the preservation of Chuckanut Ridge – or any other parkland for that matter – has absolutely no impact on the requirement for Urban Centers, waterfront redevelopment, downtown high-rises, or further upzones in city neighborhoods. All of these factors have already been accounted for in the city’s land supply analysis
For anyone who needs confirmation of these facts, I suggest you contact Bellingham GIS specialist Chris Behee who prepared the land supply analysis.