Great! Thanks for spearheading this issue. Laws are laws, and some folks want to just brush them off to feel good. When laws are not enforced, private individuals have to resort to public exposure such as your current effort. Otherwise, a private citizen can resort to a writ of mandamus whereby the city is compelled to act. I am not an attorney, but many local land use attorneys have commented on the effectiveness of this tool.
As the former Bellingham Planning Director (1985-91), I can attest to the directive for administering and enforcing the Bellingham Municipal Code. Unequal enforcement of the municipal code erodes the ability of the City to enforce other types of land use regulations. If charged with a violation, the defendant could strengthen his defense by pointing out the City is discriminatory in its practice by not enforcing the single-family provision. Given the City's history of not prosecuting the single-family violations, it is possible that a Judge would be suspect of the City's prosecution of other land use violations, thereby putting all taxpayers at risk.
Too bad my opponent feels public hearings are the answer instead of simply enforcing existing law. It is troubling that some current Council members do not have the courage to stand by the Bellingham Municipal Code that they are sworn to uphold.
Best to you in your efforts.
And yes, please - no hearings. Those who wish to change the code, after yet another series of mind-numbing hearings, present a peculiar problem. On what basis do you change it? There are no court decisions regarding this code. It has never been tested. We need a judicial decision on the code and not opinions from the city, the council, the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker.
As I said on the Mike Kent show on KGMI yesterday. There are three priority action items with respect to this issue:
Priority 1: Enforce the current code
Priority 2: Enforce the current code
Priority 3: Enforce the current code