We have met the enemy and [s]he is…Permalink +
Thu, Jul 26, 2012, 8:18 am // Larry Horowitz
The enemy - of established single-family neighborhoods in Bellingham - is the person who recently had this to say about the Sunset Commons rezone application for the former DOT property on the south side of Sunset Drive in the Sunnyland Neighborhood:
“You know, a lot of the feedback we got about this neighborhood proposal talked about multi-family not matching the existing development pattern. I understand the concerns about neighborhood character. I really, really do.
“We have the pressure of trying to figure out how to accommodate population in all of our neighborhoods, including Sunnyland.
"So we have to figure out what we’re going to do when opportunities like this [application for increased density and multi-family zoning] present themselves in a single family neighborhood.
“And, to be perfectly honest, the argument that multi-family doesn’t match the existing development pattern is the number one reason to consider multi-family - because we have to put some multi-family in single family neighborhoods. Not everywhere in them, and not unilaterally; sensitively and thoughtfully, but we do have to consider that for the livability of all of our neighborhoods.”
So, let’s break this down:
First, instead of focusing on the “vitality and character of established residential neighborhoods,” our enemy chooses to focus on the “existing development pattern.” Huh? Since when is the existing development pattern equivalent to the vitality and character of a neighborhood?
Second, when our enemy talks about the “pressure of trying to figure out how to accommodate population,” exactly what pressure are we talking about? In terms of accommodating population, does the GMA require the city to do any more than to “identify sufficient land for housing?” [RCW 36.70A.070(2)]
Is our enemy claiming that the city has not identified “sufficient land for housing?”
Really? Then wouldn’t our Comp Plan be out of compliance with the Growth Management Act (GMA)? Is it?
Third, our enemy acts like a developer’s application for an upzone to increase density and allow multi-family development is such a rare and unique thing. What? Aren’t these “opportunities” presented on a regular basis? And doesn’t our Comp Plan already comply with GMA requirements whether or not rezones are applied for and approved? Are density and multi-family upzones actually required for the city to meet its GMA obligations? If not, then where is this pressure coming from?
Fourth, our enemy claims that “the argument that multi-family doesn’t match the existing development pattern is the number one reason to consider multi-family.” Really? The # 1 reason?
Is it possible that our enemy is not familiar with the March 1995 State Senate Bill (SSB) 5567 that amended the same section of the GMA requiring the city to “identify sufficient land for housing?” You know, the same bill that admitted that the GMA wasn’t working? The bill that stated,
“There is concern that these [GMA planning] requirements not only do not adequately protect single-family residential neighborhoods, but increase pressure to rezone established single-family neighborhoods to allow development of apartment buildings and commercial uses.”
So, what did the legislature do? They amended the GMA to require that the housing element of the Comp Plan ensures the “vitality and character of established residential neighborhoods” so as to “protect single-family residential neighborhoods” and prevent the pressures described by our enemy from wrongfully causing “our leaders” to rezone “established single-family neighborhoods to allow development of apartment buildings and commercial uses.”
Is our enemy not familiar with SSB 5567 and the GMA?
Tue, Sep 09, 2014, 8:21 am // Riley SweeneyRiley and John share the short list of who might replace Cathy Lehman on the Bellingham city council on January 5.
8 comments; last on Sep 10, 2014
Mon, Aug 25, 2014, 11:48 am // Terry WechslerWhile the state spends hundreds of thousands of dollars defining risks of crude by rail, Skagit County finds no significant adverse impacts of a crude-by-rail proposal.
1 comments; last on Aug 28, 2014
Paper Dreams in Fairhaven
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2 comments; last on Aug 23, 2014
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Sat, Aug 16, 2014, 3:48 pm // Guest writerJudith Green of the Sunnyland Neighborhood guest writes this brief summary of what went wrong with the planning last week.
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4 comments; last on Jul 12, 2014
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1 comments; last on Jun 19, 2014
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Fri, May 09, 2014, 10:02 am // John ServaisThe Political Junkie for Whatcom County - that would be Riley Sweeney - has Overstreet not running for reelection in the 42nd.
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Wed, Apr 30, 2014, 8:20 am // John ServaisRiley posted this morning that Seth Fleetwood has decided to challenge Doug Ericksen for state senate in the 42nd District.
1 comments; last on Apr 30, 2014
Mon, Apr 28, 2014, 6:28 am // Dick ConoboyEvery Bellingham Planning Commission member has ties to development or development-related businesses.
4 comments; last on Apr 30, 2014
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Thu, Apr 17, 2014, 10:40 am // Riley SweeneyA simple explanation of the Charter Review and analysis of District only voting
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Wed, Apr 02, 2014, 6:00 am // Dick ConoboyAmbling University Development Group pulls out. University Ridge will not be built.
12 comments; last on Apr 06, 2014
Tue, Apr 01, 2014, 1:27 pm // Wendy HarrisPlease help us protect county wildlife by ensuring that the scope of the EIS review is adequate. A sample scoping letter is included.
Mon, Mar 31, 2014, 2:23 am // Wendy HarrisThe public has a week to comment on the scope of issues reviewed under the EIS.
Fri, Mar 28, 2014, 1:32 am // Wendy HarrisOn March 26, 2014 the city and county provided their update and assessment on the status of Lake Whatcom. This is mine.
2 comments; last on Apr 01, 2014
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