Friday, February 13, 2009

Infill Tool Kit - The Municipal Rosemary's Baby

The Infill Tool Kit final draft was posted yesterday on the City of Bellingham website. (Click here to read the document.) A plan, which should have been recognized as stillborn as it exited from the womb of Planning Academy II, continues to be offered nourishment by a planning department that does not recognize that it is schlepping around a sinister creature. This version of “Rosemary’s Baby” will now be presented to the City Council in a reprise of the 1968 film in which the parents as the main characters (the Council and City Hall), although dimly aware something is amiss, are the only ones who are not alert to the true character of the child (the “kit”/kid).

Finding that the final draft was on the city’s website, I posted the following on NWCitizen yesterday as a comment on an article by Larry Horowitz entitled Infill, Sinfill and Sprawl (click here to read Larry’s posting - worth your time):

“An appropriate column for today as the City of Bellingham has just released its final draft of the infill toolkit, which, we are told by Tim Stewart, will not be applicable to “current” single family zoned areas. One might think that this is an admission of the decades of neglect in enforcing the city’s zoning laws which has turned many neighborhoods into rooming house districts but to date nobody at City Hall would fess up to that being the intent. Perhaps they know that they are virtually incapable or unwilling to effectively enforce certain codes having to do with single family zoning or with the current crop of ADUs for that matter. To wit: There are only slightly more than 60 ADUs registered, as required, in the entire city (Is that not a risible number?), however, you have not seen any push at the Planning Office to register those which surely exist by the hundreds.

The city’s problem now is to sell this toolkit to neighborhoods not yet invaded by clandestine infill in the way of rooming houses. This will be a tough sell in that the citizenry knows full well that the chances of zoning codes being enforced after these infill toolkit thingies are built will be about as non-existent as the code enforcement has been over the last several decades on rentals and ADUs. 'Fool me once, shame on you; Fool me twice, shame on me.' Shame on the city.”

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