Last Saturday’s forum on infill, density and neighborhood character drew a respectable number of homeowners, city and WWU officials, landlords, and students. The discussion was at times lively but always civil. The fact that there was give and take on many topics was in contrast to the stilted and mechanical process of municipal and county hearings in which “testimony” is a one way street. Any expectation of meaningful exchange at these venues is very limited.
The Zonemaven provided an initial overview of the topic, borrowing from his own blog on the second anniversary of Twilight Zoning in Bellingham (click here to read that entry). Steve Swan, WWU’s Vice-president for University Affairs also spoke briefly about the university’s concern about its role and relationships with the city. Anne Mackie of the York Neighborhood described the problems encountered year after year in her neighborhood with uncontrolled rentals and lax code enforcement affecting the neighborhood character. Unfortunately, the Bellingham Herald was not present but a reporter for the Western Front managed to write an article over the weekend which appeared today in the web version of the newspaper (click here to read that article).
As with all Citizens’ Forum discussions, no position on any of the issues was taken by the group as the forum is meant to be a place for the exchange of ideas and information in an atmosphere of true dialogue.
The Zonemaven urges his readers to attend future events offered by the Citizens’ Forum.