Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Development Code Being Updated - Noodle to Be Pushed Uphill

I will guess that you were not aware that an update of the development code has begun as of June this year. The Bellingham Business Journal in its July edition reported that “the planning department began work in June on a major update of the city’s development code, which hasn’t been overhauled since it was written and adopted in 1982.” The article further stated “The process will take about two to three years to complete, and several full-time planning staff will be assigned to the project. The process will eventually involve public input and final approval by the city council before it is adopted.”

The code portion is essentially Title 20 Land Use Development which you can find by clicking here. In the first phase they will be looking at the “building blocks of definitions.” This means they will be looking at the definitions among which is that for single family. Developer Troy Muljat opined “I’m skeptical because curve balls get thrown in left and right to the city process.” According to the article, he also said that he is wary of politics getting into the process. That is a sure bet if I ever saw one.

Muljat was further quoted as saying “All developers want, and all the city staff want, is to know what the rules of the game are, and today a lot of people don’t really know what’s going on,” Well golly, read the posts to this blog! He said. “You get a lot of butting heads, but at the end of the day, they really don’t want to.” You bet. You have an entire zoning code that depends upon a definition which the city refuses to recognize. That is a very large problem.

Unfortunately, the council and the city government may use this “update” as an excuse to hold off enforcing the single family portion of the code, thus leaving homeowners with the constant threat of finding a rooming house next door or not being able to get rid of those already established. Don’t let this udpate be an excuse to delay action on code enforcement. Write to your council member or the candidates for mayor and council today. You would not expect that all development will cease while the rules are being updated. Similarly, you should not accept that single family zoning codes remain unenforced while the city is pushing the noodle up the hill.

Here are their emails:

For Mayor

Dan McShane -
Dan Pike -

For At-Large Council

Louise Bjornson -
Michael Lilliquist -

For Ward 5
Terry Bornemann -
Bill Geyer -

For Ward 4
Damon Gray -
Stan Snapp -

For Ward 3
Larry Farr -
Barry Buchanan -

For Ward 1

Jack Weiss -

The Present Council -

The Mayor -

The Planning Director -

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