Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Call to Action on Zoning Code Change

I have learned through several sources that some staff recommendations on proposed changes to the definition of family and other changes to the single family zoning code (making infractions a civil offense and including domestic partnerships within the definition of family) will be presented at the 4 August City Council meeting. I do not know if there will be voting or just further discussion. Later this week, Thursday or Friday, the agenda for the meeting should be published and the purpose should be more clear. I will provide an update as soon as the City Council posts its agenda.

Nonetheless, I am urging you now to send a message to the council that the proposal by Jack Weiss to increase the number of unrelated individuals allowed in a single family rental from three to four is not acceptable. I have spoken with three members of the council who are not really keen on changing the number. The support for increasing the number from 3 to 4 is weak. My hat is off to Gene Knutson, the sole council member who publicly stated his opposition. You can help to ensure that the council keeps the code designation at three by doing several things:

1. Send a letter or email to the city council and voice your concerns. You can do that by going to the council website at (click on the link) and sending an email to the council at large. You can also send individual emails to each member by clicking on the name and then scrolling to the bottom of the profile. If you have already sent a note recently, send it again.

2. Come to the City Council meeting next Monday, 4 August at 7pm, and express your opinion. Arrive early and sign the list for a speaking spot (3 minutes) during the public comment period. No need to be a great orator. Just be yourself.

Do both, if you can. If you can not come to the council meeting, then send a letter or email. If you want words or ideas, borrow freely from this blog.

You can also call your council representatives. Here are their phone numbers:

Jack Weiss: 738-2103
Gene Knutson: 734-4686
Barry Buchanan: 734-6639
Stan Snapp: 305-0607
Terry Bornemann: 305-0606
Barbara Ryan: 671-8376
Louise Bjornson: 733-7756

You can write a letter to the following address:

City Council
210 Lottie Street
Bellingham, WA 98225

I learned that the council received over 400 emails and letters on the subject of the bike lanes on Cornwall. Yes, the bike lanes! The issue of illegal rooming houses and increasing the number of unrelated renters (also called backdoor infill) is as at least as valid an issue as bike lanes. Tell your friends and neighbors about this blog entry. We need a strong turnout.

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