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Objection to Planning Process

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Handed to Commission members in first minute of meeting.

To: Bellingham Planning Commission Jan 11, 2001
Fr: John Servais, 1609 Mill Ave., Bellingham

I have two issues for this commission’s immediate consideration.

1. I object to this so called “work session” even taking place. Work sessions are routinely held after the public hearings are concluded and are intended to allow a commission to work without interruption by the public in their deliberations. This session is an exception to this practice.

- By allowing selective testimony at this work session, and before the legally mandated public hearing, the commission is violating the spirit and possibly the letter of the law regarding public participation in planning activities, especially as required by the state GMA. By allowing only proponent presentations you are giving unfair advantage to WWU and their desires the components of the IMP.

- What citizens decide to say at a public hearing is partially based on what they hear the proponents say. By allowing the proponents to privately present their case you deny the citizens the right to hear them. No amount of shilly shallying around saying anyone can attend a work session will make this fact go away.

- You are setting a dangerous precedent. Having separate hearings for proponents and citizens is the same as a racist system of separate but “equal” services for whites and blacks. This is a slippery slope you are stepping onto.

I request that the commission end this work session and require WWU and its committee to make their presentation for their IMP at the scheduled public hearing.


2. Newly appointed Commission member Nick Zaferatos should recuse himself from all commission matters relating to Western Washington University because he has a conflict of interest. Not an appearance of conflict, but a real conflict.

- He is currently in the employ of WWU, the proponent for the IMP.

- After chairing the Planning Commission during the WWU Neighborhood Plan hearings he was promptly hired by Western for a plum of a teaching position in planning.

- At Western he teaches planning and his relationship with the administration and the WWU planning department are very close.

I request that Nick Zaferatos recuse himself from all commission work on the Western IMP.

Further, he should not have any discussions with any members of the Planning Commission on this matter in order to not inappropriately influence the Planning Commission’s work and decisions.

Thank you.
John Servais

 

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