On July 9th, I reported on the appeal hearing of a building permit for the equivalent of a no-tell motel at 423
Essentially, the hearing examiner saw that which the neighbors saw and that which the Planning Director did not see – that the plans were not of a mere remodel and that they violated several portions of the Bellingham Municipal Code.
(Click on image at left to see the current state of the structure) I will leave it to the reader to go through the examiner’s reasoning which is relatively straightforward. [Remember that the appeal cost the neighbors over $1000.] Here is a portion of the decision:
“The permit erroneously allows the additional encroachment of wall extensions for a second story. This encroachment cannot be permitted without first obtaining a variance as provided in BMC 20.18. The permit also was issued without first properly calculating the percentage of destruction of the building that is proposed in relation to the entire structure. If this calculation shows that the actual cost to repair the portion of the building that is destroyed is 50% or more than the estimated cost to replace the entire structure the building permit may not be granted unless a plan is first approved by the Hearing Examiner as provided in BMC 20.14.010C.” Nothing, of course, prohibits the property owner from redoing the plans and causing further problems for the residents of Sunnyland. At $1,000 a pop, these appeals become expensive - mosh skosh.
The examiner goes on to say: “The potential or proposed use of a building is not relevant to a determination whether a building permit should be issued provided the building is configured so as to be consistent with the permitted uses allowed within the use district in which the building is located. The permit in this case allows construction of a single family dwelling unit.” This is a reference to the neighbors’ contention that the structure was a “single family” dwelling in name only and was being constructed expressly to house groups of renters who the property owner would claim to be “protected classes" under the Bellingham Municipal Code which prohibits more than 3 unrelated persons from renting a home.
Given the existing code, the examiner was likely correct in not entertaining the complaint regarding the eventual use of the structure. That being said, this points out a glaring problem which allows structures to be built, structures at which future neighbors will look and say, “Who allowed that to be built?” If you do not believe me, take a look at another property owned by the same individual at
Who allowed that?