Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Meeting with Neighborhood Services Coordinator

I met with the relatively new Neighborhood Services Coordinator, Linda Stewart, today to present the issue of illegal rooming houses as I see it and as it has been presented in this blog since last July. During our 45 minute meeting, I was able to provide not only my personal experiences with illegal rooming houses on my street but also my experience with the complaint process within the city government. We also spoke about the role of WWU in housing its students in a manner which promotes their safety and the character of the neighborhoods in which they live during their years at the university. Ms. Stewart seemed to be an open and engaged individual who has learned quite a bit about the subject of illegal rooming houses in the short time since she took over her position last October. Although I was not looking to forge agreements with her on all the topics associated with single family zoning, I was able to discern that she was someone with whom the citizens of Bellingham can do business.

Ms. Stewart is a member of the group looking at means to implement the current municipal code on single family zoning. This group was formed after a motion by the City Council last October 8th (initiated by Terry Bornemann) "to prepare a pilot program regarding enforcement of complaints relating to more than three unrelated individuals living in a home." I did learn that recommendations to the Council and the Mayor will probably be forwarded within a few weeks after which time they will make decisions with respect to the avenue to be followed.

This is some of the most encouraging news to come from City Hall in a long time.


Anonymous said...

Hi Dick. I'm a WWU student and I'd like you to hear what happened to the house I live in with 4 other guys. In August of 2006, I rented a nice 3 bedroom house with 2 other guys. It was great, we had plenty of space and our place looked like every other house on the block.
In August 2007, our lease was up, and our landlord (LAKEWAY REALTY), informed us that the house was being converted to a 5 bedroom and our rent was going up if we stayed. We agreed to stay and find two more guys. In late August they converted the dining room and front room into bedrooms. This year
our garage is full of junk because we lost the common space. We have to park 5 cars outside. If the girls are over we have 7 cars. We have one garbage can that is always overflowing. We run out of hot water every morning. This sucks. We did not want to live like this. Some greedy landlord is ruining the neighborhood for an extra $600 a month. I'm tired of people blaming us. I know the neigbors hate it. The problem is the landlord. I wish the City would crack down.

Anonymous said...

Dear WWU Student-

It doesn't suprise me that Lakeway Realty would do this. Look at just about every rental they own in the York Neighborhood (9+), and you'll see this pattern.

The house we own and occupy is sandwiched between 2 rental properties. Both landlords keep these places tidy and take care of the maintenance when needed. The tenants at both properties are happy and don't cause an ounce of trouble. I think there's a real correlation here..