Samish Neighborhood Association

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SNA Minutes 2013-02

Samish Neighborhood Association Meeting

February 12, 2013   Community Baptist Church

 Meeting called to order by President Carpenter.

Board members present: Joe Carpenter, Tom Roehl, Steve Abell, Garey Vodopich, Dick Conoboy, Don Hale, Tim Wynn

Board members absent: David Gilbertson, Christopher Morrison, Suneeta Eisenberg (all excused)

Guests: David Bruner (church), Louise Bjornson

Public Comments: none

President’s Announcements: Joe introduced Louise Bjornson, former member of the Bellingham Planning Commission and City Council (22 years). She presented verbal and written information on the value of the Bellingham neighborhood system and her concerns about possible adverse impacts to it by misuse of the Infill Toolkit. She believes that maintaining the integrity of the neighborhood system is critical to the health of the city. Citing her experience on the Council while the Infill Toolkit was being developed, she expressed her strong feeling that the current city Planning Department is misinterpreting what was the original intent of the Infill Toolkit. Original intent specifically included protection and preservation of existing single-family housing and neighborhood character. This protection was even mandated in Washington State’s Growth Management Act. During the Council’s review process, members and residents were assured that Toolkit homes would be approved only in multifamily zones, urban villages, and new developments. Infill housing types would be prohibited in areas zoned single-family residential. People who buy homes and move into these neighborhoods need long-term predictability. Use of rezoning procedures to allow multifamily housing in established single family areas – and therefore opening the Toolkit to use by developers – has the potential to “put small houses in peoples’ back yards” and detract from single-family character, especially for those residents that end up adjacent to high density Toolkit homes. The apparent determination of the Planning Department to find some way to utilize the Infill Toolkit may spill over into rezoning areas in which it was not originally intended to be used. In Louise’s opinion it is up to the neighborhoods to fight this battle, and she wants to help. Her summary of her thoughts and experiences is in Attachment 1.

Old business:

Meeting minutes from January 2013 were approved.

Treasurer’s report: $2,006.82 available funds as of Feb 12, 2013

Ambling University Development proposal update: Dick met with Ron Jepson of Jepson Associates, the local engineering firm working with Ambling. He learned that the site design has been re-configured as a result of input from the public meeting at Cozier School in December. This new configuration of the proposed buildings will require a height variance, and as a result a public meeting with the Hearing Examiner will occur. The date of application for this overall project is February 27. Dick also expressed to Mr. Jepson his strong belief that the parking and traffic problems will far exceed Jepson’s and Ambling’s expectations, given the nature of local streets and planned undercapacity (estimated 432 spaces for 576 residents) of on-site parking. The board felt that there would be enough Samish residents along our northern border affected by these problems that we need to make our concerns known independently of Puget Neighborhood. Dick will attend a Puget meeting next week to coordinate efforts.

Our Spring General Meeting is March 14, 7:00 PM at the Elk’s Club. We have invited Mayor Linville and our new police chief to speak, and invited Habitat for Humanity and Ambling to have tabletop displays and answer questions. Joe will confirm the speakers. Joe suggested we do another phone bank effort a week in advance of the meeting to invite neighbors and try to pick up a few more active members. We also need to recruit some new board members since we have five expiring terms and one resignation to deal with, although at least three board members intend to run again.

Garey updated the board on the status of the Wilkin/40th St streetside path project. Although we offered to do this ourselves, city Public Works (Ted Carlson, Director) insisted that it should be the one to take this project on. That’s fine with us. Work is tentatively set for Spring.

Putting a revised set of neighborhood by-laws up for a full Association vote of approval will have to wait until the Fall picnic. Meeting the 30-day advance notice cannot occur in time for the upcoming March 14 meeting.

We will get a newsletter out to the neighborhood about a week prior to the March meeting. We will ask Greg McCracken to do his usual first class editing job. Writing assignments were made by Joe: Dick will write up the Ambling issues; Steve will write up the address list update project; Tim will write an article about membership and board participation; Garey will write up the Wilkin/40th street path; Joe will write up an article about small neighborhood sub-area support groups. Some of these already exist informally and are judged useful by the participants.

Dick updated us on the MNAC code change. The Council passed the change ordinance unanimously. Several board members believe this effectively neuters MNAC as a meaningful voice in neighborhood and city affairs, but time will tell.

Officer elections: we will definitely need a new Treasurer because Tim is resigning and leaving the board. Tim submitted a summary of the duties and responsibilities of Treasurer.

We have approval from Community Baptist Church to change our monthly meeting night from second Tuesday to second Thursday. This will be effective April 11.

New business:

Steve has updated the Samish phone, street address, and email database. Some of the records went back to 2005, and many undeliverable email addresses were removed and/or updated. We currently have 136 paid members and roughly 326 valid email addresses. Continuing validation of additional records may add another 150 or so.

Garey suggested creating a simple “welcome to Samish” letter that would be given by a board member to new residents. The letter would introduce the board member, provide some basic information about Samish, and invite the new arrival to join the Association. The idea was heartily approved by the board. Garey will put his thoughts together regarding specific content.

Suneeta told us via email that she will be unable to attend meetings for several months. We wish her well in her philanthropic work and will keep her informed via email during her absence.

Meeting adjourned.

Steve Abell, Secretary

Attachment 1  from Louise Bjornson

Posted 4 years, 8 months ago at 7:43 PM.

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