Your help is needed to put City Ordinance #10910 before a public review. The ordinance allows for a land exchange between the City and a city employee. The stated purpose of the ordinance is to allow a land exchange which would "enable the efficient connection" of a "vital" link in the City's Greenways trail system. However, the City ironically trades away public property, right-of-ways and access that already amply achieve the stated goal of the ordinance for property that does not allow access.
As part of the land exchange:
The City gives up a beautiful piece of park-like property overlooking Hoag's pond and allows the closure of existing street access to the pond. The land exchange also sets up a situation which threatens the remaining public right-of-ways around the pond.
The City receives in exchange a thin addition to an existing trail corridor that leads over very rough ground and though a swamp.
The city employee benefiting from this land exchange has been in discussion with the City regarding the possibility of Greenway's fund buying his property in the future.
The Mayor, in vetoing the ordinance, pointed out that the land swap did not serve the public's interest and put the public at an incredible disadvantage in future negotiations. Despite objections of the Mayor and the Planning Department, the City Council supported the ordinance/land exchange. Only Louise Bjornson opposed the measure.
Although it is unclear why a Council majority would see fit to give up land it might eventually intend to buy back, it is clear that this is a bad deal for the citizens of Bellingham.
Without your help, it's a done deal!
For a chance to learn more about it, and to judge for yourself, please sign the petition for a Referendum on City Ordinance 10910.
For more information:
Call Tip Johnson at 733-9211. Drop off or pick up petitions and informational materials at Harris Music, 1138 N. State Street. Look up Hoag's Pond at http://www.nwcitizen.com on the Internet. Petitions and informational materials may be downloaded from this web site.
Signed petitions must be sent to Tip Johnson, P.O. Box 4307, Bellingham 98227 or received at Harris Music by January 20. All signatures must be on file with the City Finance Director by January 22.