Samish Neighborhood Association

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SNA Minutes 2014-10

Samish Neighborhood Association Meeting
October 9, 2014, Community Baptist Church

Meeting called to order by President Hale.

Board members present: Tom Roehl, Steve Abell, Garey Vodopich, Dick Conoboy, Don Hale, Junga Subedar, Nikki Long, Kevin Probasco

Board members absent: Joe Carpenter (excused), Brian Benjamin (excused), Suneeta Eisenberg

Guests: 10 Samish residents, 1 WWU student, Bellingham Mayor Kelli Linville, Exec Mayor’s Assistant Sophia Blamey

Public Comments: Mayor Linville discussed a number of city issues and took questions. She told us that the city was collecting data on two motels along Samish Way (not in Samish Neighborhood) west of I-5. Residues of illegal drugs in some rooms at the Aloha Motel and Villa Motel are at dangerous levels. Two deaths have occurred. The city has enlisted the aid of local churches, the Police Department, plus Sehome and York residents to seek City Council resolutions to condemn both motels as public health hazards and sites of illegal activity. This takes time. The city is negotiating with owners. Some current motel residents have no other place to go, some need mental health care, and no one wants to create more homeless people on the streets. Mayor Linville told us that Bellingham has a very low homeless rate and we’d like to keep it that way. Our police force is receiving training in how to detect and handle drug contamination issues, but they cannot provide mental health care. Because this area is part of an urban village, it might be possible to build low-income housing on the sites, but that’s a long way off.

Mayor Linville told us that the budgeting process is underway. Growth of the city will be an important consideration in future plans. The city will grow but the mayor would also like to provide more direction to developers and to neighborhoods to guide growth. All parties would benefit from more consistency and predictability in zoning. What happens now is that the city reacts to developers’ proposals and makes decisions on proposals in isolation. The mayor would like the city to get out ahead of this by examining vacant property throughout the city and “programming” it, via zoning, for certain types of development appropriate to that particular area. It goes without saying that this would be a huge undertaking. To help with this and other growth issues the city has hired a new Planning Director who has a strong background in both management and planning. Mayor Linville believes he will be the right person to guide growth into the future. We’ve had a lot of planning directors over the past decade or so and hope the new director will be with us long enough to make a positive difference.

We thank the mayor for spending time with us and patiently answering our questions.

President’s Announcements: none

Old business:

Meeting minutes from August and from the September picnic were approved.

Treasurer’s report: We paid two large bills since August for our post office box and the cost of the fall newsletter, taking a little over $1,050 from our account. However, we got a good response from members whose memberships expired. We collected $632.50 in dues payments leaving us with a balance in our checking account of $1,862.54. Our goal of getting our members switched over to annual payment of dues in March every year is well along, and we currently have 152 paid members.

The recent rezone applications for the property between the Community Baptist Church and Elk’s Lodge, and the Ashley Street property, are now docketed. The Council meets October 13 to consider docketing the Church of Christ property at 801 Samish Way. There’s little doubt that it will be docketed. All three proposals will come up in detail in the city’s 2014-15 business year.

We reviewed the September picnic at Lake Padden Park. We had 34 households who signed in, and a total attendance of about 65. The Association spent $135 on burgers, hot dogs, and soda. The weather was great, and we believe the picnic was a success. Steve suggested we start keeping a log of picnic planning from year to year so we don’t have to begin planning from scratch each time. This idea was judged a good thing to do, and Steve volunteered to start the process. To be effective long term, this log must be maintained from year to year by keeping it up to date with any new ideas, plans, and experience that occurs.

New business:

We discussed the recent burglaries in Samish and other south side neighborhoods. The police caught and arrested one of the burglars, and are looking for another. Email alerts and other communications in our neighborhood helped to alert residents and contributed to the arrest. Officer Jeremy Harper kept us informed, and Steve, in his role as secretary, forwarded Harper’s comments to neighbors. There were several favorable comments from attendees that this type of communication was valuable to the neighborhood. Steve will keep doing this if more issues of general interest to the neighborhood come up.

We set a tentative date for the annual general business meeting as March 11 or 12 depending on which night the Elk’s Lodge can give us the meeting room. Steve will check with the Elk’s Lodge. [Note: meeting is set for Thursday, March 12. March 11 was not available.] The Elks generously let us use the room without paying a fee.

We discussed briefly the question of what kind of information should be in our newsletters: should it offer both sides of an issue or simply present the Board’s position. This came up in the context of two articles regarding rental licensing and inspection in the recent newsletter. No decision was made, and we’ll need to bring this up again when we prepare the spring 2015 newsletter.

Meeting adjourned. Next board meeting is November 13.

Steve Abell, Secretary

 

Posted 3 years ago at 6:51 AM.

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