The following is an excerpt from my recent article in the February edition of the Whatcom Watch entitled “Character - The Content of Bellingham’s Neighborhoods” regarding housing and land use issues to be acted upon in 2017. If you thought last year was packed with hearings and work sessions on the city’s Comprehensive Plan, this year is stacking up to be even more full as the council considers codifying land use and housing changes to implement the Comprehensive Plan’s policies.
“Bellingham faces numerous housing and land use problems. Rents and housing prices are soaring while landlords undercut housing availability by buying up affordable houses to rent at prices that lock out families. Vacation rentals are beginning to invade neighborhoods to the detriment of badly needed long-term rentals. Unpermitted dwelling units proliferate while illegal boarding houses wreak havoc on neighborhood character. There is a lot in store for the citizens of Bellingham in 2017 in the realm of housing and land use.
“Last year, in the guise of affordability and sprawl avoidance, the Bellingham City Council gave residents a revised Comprehensive Plan laced with small but potentially powerful time bombs that everyone should know about. These will change forever the character of our neighborhoods but will also not deliver on the stated goals. We are moving toward questionable homogenization of zoning.
“Pay attention ...”
You can read the entire article at the Whatcom Watch website here.