Samish Neighborhood Association

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SNA minutes 2018-01 DRAFT

SNA BOD Minutes January 18, 2018 DRAFT

Meeting called to order. Board members present include Steve Abell, Tom Read, Tom Dohman, Kevin Probasco, Nikki Long, Joe Carpenter, Joy Hale, and Dick Conoboy. Others present were Robin Dexter, Mary Wilson, Chris Koch, Sara McCauley, Julia Howard, Gary Coye, Ryan Wilson, Carmen Gilmore, Seth Fleetwood, Anne Mackie, Garey Vodopich, and Eric Osterkamp.

Agenda Change: Steve moved Officer Osterkamp presentation to the start of the meeting.

Bellingham Neighborhood Police Officer Eric Osterkamp gave a BPD update to board. Chief Doll will be at our annual meeting on March 15th to give a presentation. There have been some recent arrests for burglaries. In our neighborhood there have been break-ins to outdoor garden sheds and shops. Some of these have been during the day, which is more unusual. He recommended increasing security by locking gates, increasing lighting, and even adding cameras. Eric also noted a steady decline in party noise complaints. This may be due to increased proactive outreach and coordination between WWU and BPD. Residents that were problems in the past have been visited as a follow up to prevent future problems.

Chris Koch from the COB’s Planning and Community Development Dept. gave a presentation on the forthcoming proposal to update local zoning laws to allow both Attached and Detached Accessory Dwelling Units.

Anne Mackie, one of the founding members of the Bellingham Neighborhood Coalition, gave a presentation on why  her group was formed to oppose changes to the COB’s zoning changes of Attached and Detached Accessory Dwelling Units.

March Newsletter: Steve asked each board member to write 100 word article on an issue in the SNA for the Spring Newsletter. Deadline is early February.

SNA General Meeting: Meeting is scheduled for March 15th 2018 at 7PM at the Elks Lodge on Samish Way.


Posted 2 weeks, 1 day ago.

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SNA minutes 2017-10

SNA Minutes October 12, 2017 Meeting

Meeting called to order. Board members present include Steve Abell, Tom Read, Tom Dohman, Kevin Probasco, Nikki Long, and Joe Carpenter. Don Hale, Joy Hale, and Dick Conoboy notified the board of their absence at this meeting. Others present include Shirley Forslof, Izzy Juell, Craig & Barbara Bessire, and Garey Vodopich.

Public Comment: Shirley said she agreed with current proposals allowing Attached Dwelling Units as long as the main residence was owner occupied. She said she was against ‘detached’ units.

ReStore Presentation: Izzy has been meeting with neighborhoods to educate them on the services provided by the ReStore. They engage in deconstruction, job training, accept donations, and re-sell construction material.

BPD Police Report: Officer Eric Osterkamp is in a class on Thursdays and cannot attend meetings at this time.

MNAC Report: Kevin reported a presentation by Bellingham Schools Superintendent Greg Baker. The new ‘Options’ High School is open. There is a new School Bond up for election soon that would fund (4) School Remodels.

Old Business

No minutes for approval for August meeting

Treasurer’s Report: Tom reported a Checking Account Balance of $2,849.04. We currently have 126 paid members. There are, however, 51 members that did not yet renew from the previous year.

Update on Samish Logging: The last logging should be done by October 20th. Tom D. and Steve informed the BOD about the number of trucks exceeding what was previously reported by Janicki Logging. Trucks were freely using 40th & Elwood to get to southbound I-5 despite our request and Janicki’s written commitment to minimize the use of this route. Tom and Steve reached out to Janicki and did not get any information on why these two issues occurred.

September Picnic Review: Low turnout due to poor weather. Try to ensure picnics occur the 1st weekend after Labor Day.

New Business

Our next general meeting will be held Thursday March 15, 2018 at the Elks Lodge on Samish Way. The next board meeting will be November 9 with discussion of STRs (Short Term Rentals) on the agenda.

BOD discussed ADU ordinance and letter to city. Reviewed South Hill Letter, which was similar to our own concerns. Steve will review and edit a letter for BOD to discuss.

Meeting adjourned



Posted 3 months, 4 weeks ago.

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Samish ADU letter 10-20-2017

October 20, 2017

To: Bellingham Planning Commission

From: Samish Neighborhood Association

Copy to: Mayor Linville, Bellingham City Council

Subject: Revisions to the ADU ordinance

Setting aside the area included in Lake Padden Park, and except for a very small amount of residential multi and commercial property, Samish Neighborhood is a residential single neighborhood. This residential single character is what has attracted homebuyers to our neighborhood for many years, and continues to do so. Our neighborhood does not oppose growth but we do not want to sacrifice our neighborhood character in order to grow. Samish residents attracted to the single family residential character of our neighborhood need to have confidence that the investment in their homes and their quality of life will not be degraded by growth-driven changes.

We support attached ADUs (A-ADUs) for existing single family homes consistent with current city code. We see these as both useful and supportive of neighborhood character as long as they are well designed and constructed in a way that blends in with the main house and surrounding houses. We see detached ADUs (D-ADUs) as potential threats to neighborhood character and quality of life in a number of ways. Therefore, we ask that the following requirements and recommendations be considered as the City of Bellingham contemplates revisions in the code governing ADUs.

  • Complete the inventory of existing ADUs. Regardless of how a revised ordinance may be written, the city must have a baseline for how many ADUs exist (including unregistered ones) and their locations. In other words, fully document current ADU density. It makes little sense for the city to revise ADU density regulations without knowing where it started. We believe the city has already set this goal in place. Finish it.
  • Maintain the owner occupancy requirement for properties that include an ADU. Eliminating this requirement would create an “open season” on real estate speculation, particularly by out-of-town landlords who want to turn reasonably priced single family homes with ADUs into rental cash cows. This has no benefits for the long term neighbors surrounding the property and would, in fact, be a giant step toward turning a comfortable family neighborhood into a rental slum. An owner constrained to live in either the main house or the ADU will have a stronger interest in maintaining property appearance and in contributing to community. An absentee landlord will have neither.
  • Ensure adequate provision for parking. Parking seems to be a growing problem in many areas of the city now, especially if the location is close to one of our post-secondary schools. Inadequate on-site parking for additional ADUs is likely to squeeze the vehicles of current residents into fewer and fewer spaces, possibly leading to the inability to find a spot close to one’s home. Streets crowded with parked cars can also interfere with access for emergency and delivery vehicles, raising safety concerns for residents.
  • Maintain the prohibition of D-ADUs in single family neighborhoods. D-ADUs change neighborhood character in ways that are subtle but significant to homeowners. Required minimum lot size in Samish Neighborhood residential single zones is either 12,000 or 20,000 square feet. There is a sense of space and a feeling of openness to our neighborhood that will be increasingly lost as D-ADUs pop up on existing residential single lots. A sense of crowding will replace that feeling of openness. This sense of openness is a large and desirable part of neighborhood character.
  • Develop enforcement procedures that include detection of violations and non-compliance penalties that have teeth. Without enforcement there is no incentive to comply. An example of this is the conversion of moderately priced single family homes into rooming houses for five to eight unrelated persons. The city has chosen not to enforce the current definition of family with regard to housing. As a result, some landlords have no compunction about adding three bedrooms to the basement of a normal three bedroom home and charging $3600 per month rent. Such a house – an otherwise affordable home for an actual middle-income family – has been made out of reach to them.

There is room for growth within Samish Neighborhood. We welcome this but want growth to be consistent with current zoning requirements. Growth that is inconsistent with our single family residential character betrays current residents who bought homes here because they wanted their families to enjoy what they found here. This is true for recently arrived residents as well as those who have lived here for decades.

Samish residents deserve protection from code changes that will lead to the gradual loss of our neighborhood character. Forces within the city that want growth by any means and try to label neighborhoods that resist as exclusionary are simply wrong. The Samish Neighborhood Association, along with many other neighborhood associations in Bellingham, is trying to provide stability and predictability to our residents.


Steve Abell, President
Samish Neighborhood Association

Posted 4 months ago.

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SNA minutes 2017-04

SNA BOD Meeting April 13, 2017

Call to order, BOD members present: Steve Abell, Tom Read, Nikki Long, Joe Carpenter, Dick Conoboy, Tom Dohman, Don Hale, Joy Hale, and Kevin Probasco.

Public Comment Period: Mary Boynton, WWU Journalism student, attended the meeting and will be writing about our neighborhood for her Journalism class this quarter.

BPD Police Report: NPO Eric Osterkamp gave the board a presentation on the history and use of COB Police Department ‘Bearcat’ vehicle.

MNAC Report: Most recent MNAC meeting was cancelled. Connecting Communities Day of Service connects volunteers from WWU via a neighborhood grant program.

Old Business

BOD talked about annual meeting, what went well, what we could do better. Discussed Janicki logging on Samish and traffic concerns on the corner of 40th and Elwood Ave.

Treasurers Report: $2,345.86 is current balance, $824 dues collected so far in 2017. Last newsletter cost $661.00

SNA BOD Officers re-elected unanimously for 1-year terms: Steve Abell President, Dick Conoboy Vice President, Tom Reed Treasurer, and Joe Carpenter Secretary.

New Business

Annual September Picnic at Lake Padden Park will be either on September 10th or September 17th.

Ridgemont Annual Garage Sale is September 9th.

Discussed Newsletter and mailing cost. Multiple BOD noted they would not be on the board now if not for a printed and mailed newsletter.

May BOD Meeting Cancelled due to multiple BOD being out of town.

Meeting adjourned.





Posted 10 months ago.

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SNA minutes 2017-03 Annual meeting

SNA Annual Meeting
Elk’s Lodge, March 16, 2017

Cheesecake with several topping choices was available as  refreshments for the meeting. Thanks to Judy Brightman for organizing and presenting this treat.

Steve Abell started the meeting by thanking Greg McCracken for his continuing service as our newsletter editor, the Elk’s Lodge for hosting our meetings for free, and Janicki Logging for having an information table on their summer project in Samish.

Tom Reed gave a Treasurers report of our balance of $1,700.

SNA BOD Election:

Steve noted we elect board members at the Spring general meeting and officers at the April board meeting.

There were no nominations from the floor. Kevin Probasco, Tom Reed, Joe Carpenter, Nicki Long, and Tom Dohman, who were nominated previously at the February meeting, were elected unanimously. We now have nine board members.

Officer Eric Osterkamp of BPD, our Neighborhood Police Officer, gave a presentation. He talked about crime statistics in our neighborhood and the city as a whole. Questions were asked of him regarding officer involved shootings, body cameras, and department hiring and training of police officers.

Scott Hendrickson, Volunteer coordinator of “Bellingham Neighbors Together” (BNT) discussed the program, its training and goals within the city.

Chalice Johnston from Whatcom County Sheriffs Emergency Management Department gave a presentation. She discussed ‘map you neighborhood’ and the steps after a disaster.

Greg Hope gave a presentation on Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).

Gayle Shipley, volunteer at the Mobilization Center, discussed the group and its volunteers and training.

Meeting adjourned


Posted 10 months, 1 week ago.

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SNA minutes 2017-02

SNA Meeting February 16, 2017

SNA Meeting called to order. BOD present were Steve Abell, Nikki Long, Judy Brightman, Dick Conoboy, Tom Read, Kevin Probasco, and Joe Carpenter. Other attendees were Tom Dohman (resident) and Questen Inghram (WWU student).

Officer Osterkamp is at the Sudden Valley Neighborhood Association meeting tonight.

January 2017 SNA Meeting Minutes approved unanimously.

Treasurers Report: Tom reported that we did not have any deposits or withdraws, thus our balance from January was unchanged at $2,425.39.

Planning Commission Board change will go in to effect April 1, 2017. New requirement will allow no more than (3) representatives from the Real Estate and Development Industry. There are currently (2) openings and the mayor’s office has received 12 applications. 8 interviews have already started.

MNAC Update: MNAC meeting talked about the purpose of MNAC. There was also discussion about “Nextdoor” website. This information was provided by “Neighborhood Leads” that control the website in their respective areas. SNA BOD discussed our interest in having a SNA “Neighborhood Lead”. The last topic discussed at MNAC was school district changes happening in the northern part of the city.

March 16, 2017 General Meeting at the Elks Club was discussed. Joe made a motion to, “Recommend having the City of Bellingham Police Departments ‘Bearcat’ vehicle attend our meeting”. Motion was seconded, and voted on. Motion failed 4-3.

Steve asked for input from the board on the order of the agenda for our meeting. We decided to take care of SNA business before speaker presentations begin.

Dick met with Planning Director Rick Sepler and asked him if the city had any plans to sell COB owned property currently designated as ‘open space’. Rick said the city does not have any plans at this time.

University Ridge Development update: No update to provide at this time.

Dick noted that the city is drafting a vacation rental property ordinance and it will be implemented later this year. This includes properties offered by AirBnB, VRBO (vacation rentals by owner), and Craigslist.

ADU issues is still being discussed within the COB.

The COB has a group of WASU students reviewing the zoning in COB looking for overlap and ways to both simplify the zoning and set design standards that are more uniform.

Tom Dohman was nominated to serve on the SNA Board of Directors. We’ll vote for him at the annual meeting.

Judy informed the BOD that she will not seek reelection to the BOD. Kevin and Joe will seek another term on the BOD.

Meeting adjourned.




Posted 11 months, 3 weeks ago.

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SNA minutes 2017-01

SNA BOD January 12, 2017

BOD called to order. Members present were Tom Read, Steve Abell, Judy Brightman, Kevin Probasco, Joy Hale, Don Hale, and Joe Carpenter. Other present were BPD Officer Eric Osterkamp and residents Questen Inghram, Atalie Chan, and Nathan Matsushima.

Public Comments: Officer Osterkamp asked for board feedback on what types of issues we would like more information on from him.

Old Business: Treasurer’s report noted a balance of $2425.39. $42 in dues were deposited since our last meeting. Refund of $43 for ½ of Yorky’s PO Box. New PO Box fees of $86 and Non-Profit Filing Fee of $10.

November SNA meeting minutes approved.

Samish Logging Update: Steve, Tom, Nikki, and Dick met with Mr. Janicki of Janicki Logging. He seemed to understand our concerns about safety. He expects logging to start in July 2017. He expects 5-6 Trucks per day 5 Days a week for approximately 6 weeks. Not to exceed 250 trips total.

Planning Commission Members Update: A new change for the (7) member commission will prevent (3) or more members being from the same industry.

ADU changes were made in the Comprehensive Plan but do not as of yet have the force of law due to them not being in COB ordinance yet.

New Business:

March Annual Meeting is March 16 from 7-9PM. Judy has been discussing a possible presentation by some local disaster preparedness experts. She will reach back out to them and set it up for the meeting.

Possible table presentations in the lobby of the Elks Lodge would be Jannicki Logging and Bellingham Police.

A motion was made and approved for a ‘Cheesecake Bar’ at our meeting. A budget of approximately $200 was approved. Judy will organize it.

Spring Newsletter deadline to get info to Greg McCracken is February 22.

Topics include, Disaster Preparedness Presentation Notification (Judy), Cheesecake Bar (Judy), Samish Hill Logging (Tom), Samish Crime Stats (Officer Osterkamp), Treasurers Report (Tom), and Presidents Letter (Steve).

Meeting Adjourned


Posted 1 year, 1 month ago.

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SNA minutes 2016-11

SNA BOD November 10, 2016


BOD called to order. Members present were Gary Vodopich, Tom Read, Steve Abell, Judy Brightman, Nikki Long, Dick Conoboy, and Joe Carpenter. Other present were BPD Officer Eric Osterkamp and residents Steve and Rita Spitzer.

Public Comments: Officer Osterkamp gave the board a report about issues in neighborhood. One topic was Homeless Camps, specifically the camp visited by Steve Abell off Bill McDonald PKWY.

Presentation: Lexi Brewer of Futurewise gave a presentation to the board on “Greenlink”. A NOAA project on environmental issues in Whatcom County.

Old Business: Treasure’s report noted a balance of $2,436.39. $115 in dues were deposited since our last meeting. October SNA meeting minutes approved.

New Business:

MNAC report by Dick noted potential changes to the Planning Commission Members. A draft ordinance was submitted by Councilman Terry Borneman bases on an ordinance out of the state of Oregon. Next meeting for MNAC is next Wednesday in the basement of the Public Library. The meeting will focus on “Smart Growth”. A ‘Third’ reading of Comprehensive Plan changes will occur next Monday. One of the contentious issues continues to be what type of ‘affordable housing’ language ought to be in plan.

Samish Hill logging will be done next year by Janicki Logging. Some members of SNA will be meeting with Janicki soon and have more information.

Our next annual meeting will be Thursday March 16th at the Elk’s Lodge from 7-9.

New Business:

Lucky Dog East & West needs a variance granted to eliminate requirement to develop a street that would hit the Spitzer house & property. Spitzer family needs the variance granted to make sure they don’t have to give up a piece of their carport.

Garey Vodopich resigned his position as a board member. Garey contributed to the Samish Neighborhood in many ways over many years. We thank him for his service and wish him well.

Meeting adjourned. Our next board meeting is January 12, 2017.

Posted 1 year, 1 month ago.

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SNA minutes 2016-10

SNA Meeting Minutes October 14, 2016

Meeting called to order by Steve Abell. BOD members present: Steve Abell, Garey Vodopich, Judy Brightman, Junga Subedar, Kevin Probasco, Nikki Long, and Joe Carpenter. Others attending were Councilman Michael Lilliquist, BPD Officer Eric Osterkamp, Erica Wonk (EMS Levy) and residents Ryan Provedrer, Dan Angble, Kay Anolle, Jim Long, Steve Swan, Barbara and Craig Bessire, and Julia Burns.

Councilman Lilliquist talked about Comprehensive Plan changes. Noted accessory dwelling units current regulation, and future changes.

Erica talked about the forthcoming EMS Levy vote (Proposition 1). They are planning on adding a 4th paramedic.

Officer Ostercamp talked about the new ‘Body Camera’ police officers are wearing.

Treasurer’s Report: We have 139 paid members. The cost for the picnic was $228.70. Recent newsletter cost was $856. We have a checking balance of $2003.00

MNAC Update: Agenda for meeting comes out over a week before meeting, thus allowing preparation for meeting. Planning Director is expected to give a Comprehensive Plan presentation at the November MNAC.

SNA BOD discussed draft letter proposal to Bellingham City Council regarding Comprehensive Plan changes. Various issues were discussed without being agreed upon. Another letter will be drafted by Junga for the BOD to review.

SNA BOD Adjourned.





Posted 1 year, 2 months ago.

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SNA minutes 2016-06

Samish Neighborhood Association Meeting
June 9, 2016, Community Baptist Church

Meeting called to order by President Abell.

Board members present: Steve Abell, Dick Conoboy, Don Hale, Joy Hale, Tom Read, Junga Subedar, Nikki Long, Judy Brightman, Kevin Probasco

Board members absent: Garey Vodopich, Joe Carpenter

Visitors: Samish residents Shirley Forslof, Barbara Bessire

Public Comments: Shirley Forslof expressed concern about changes in the Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) regulations which might allow detached ADU’s in single family residential zoned areas. She asked if the Board would take a position opposing this change. Barbara Bessire also expressed her concerns about the same issue.

BPD police report (NPO Eric Osterkamp): Officer Ostercamp was unavailable but sent information about the new Safe Outdoor Program. This program is a joint project of BPD, Public Works, Parks, Conservation Corp, and Opportunity Council. It is aimed at cleaning up illegal camps in the city and connecting the camp occupants with available resources to give them some place to go after they leave the camps. With no place to go, the camps will just relocate and the problem will persist.

President’s Announcements: none.

Old business:

Meeting minutes from May 12 were approved unanimously.

Treasurer’s report: Account balance is $2,799.58. We paid bills to renew our website and have a new book of NCCU deposit slips printed. Tom pointed out that while about 90 members have renewed their memberships by paying dues, about 70 have not. This led us into a discussion of whether we should change our dues policy. Items discussed included charging half dues at the picnic for renewals or new memberships, standardizing all dues at $15 (no senior discount) payable at any time during the year but good only until the following April 1, and conducting a telephone membership drive just prior to the March 2017 general meeting. A motion was made to standardize dues but was tabled pending future discussion.

MNAC report: MNAC continues to discuss Comp Plan revisions. It’s been a bit of a struggle to provide input to city personnel who, at first, wanted only to discuss process rather than specific details. The new Comp Plan draft will be reviewed by the Council’s Planning Committee in several sessions to be held between now and early August. One of the big issues is changes to ADU ordinances, which was the subject of Ms. Forslof’s comment. We had a spirited discussion of what the Board’s position should be. There are many competing interests including neighborhood character, afforable housing, individual property rights, residents’ responsibility to neighbors, parking, and occupancy. No conclusions or recommendations for action were reached.

The discussion of attendance of Board members continued. There is in our by-laws a provision for removal of a Board member if he/she has three unexcused absences in a 12-month period. Steve suggested that this provision should not be needed or used. He would rather ask Board members who, for whatever reason (loss of interest, change in personal priorities), find that they cannot meet their attendance commitment that they made by accepting nomination and election to the Board to simply resign from the Board.

New business:

The deadline for submission of articles to go into our Fall Newsletter will come up in August. Dick will write a piece on the Comp Plan revisions. Steve will write the traditional President’s Letter. We also decided to include in the newsletter, on the back of the membership form (we expect our editor, Greg McCracken, to be able to do this), a short questionnaire (maybe just one or two questions) to solicit residents’ input on what issues they would like the Board to direct attention to. The objective here is to get from Samish residents more input and, hopefully, more interest in neighborhood affairs.

Don asked to include an announcement for the Ridgemont garage sale with possibly an open invitation to all Samish residents to participate in the sale.

A motion was made and seconded to cancel the July Board meeting due to interference from summer vacations and activities. The motion passed unanimously. The next meeting is therefore August 11th.

Meeting adjourned.

Steve Abell, acting secretary

Posted 1 year, 7 months ago.

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