Samish Neighborhood Association

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SNA Minutes 2016-02

Samish Neighborhood Association Meeting
February 11, 2016, Community Baptist Church

Meeting called to order by President Abell.

Board members present: Steve Abell, Garey Vodopich, Dick Conoboy, Tom Read, Junga Subedar, Nikki Long (quorum present)

Board members absent: Joe Carpenter (unexcused), Don Hale (excused), Joy Hale (excused), Judy Brightman (excused), Kevin Probasco (excused)

Visitors: none

Public Comments: none

BPD police report (NPO Eric Osterkamp): Osterkamp unable to attend.

President’s Announcements: none

MNAC report (Dick Conoboy)

Planning Director Sepler will be coordinating with WWU. Rental inspections set to start soon. Kevin will be our new MNAC representative and Dick will be the alternate. New term starts May 1.

Old business:

Meeting minutes from January 14 were approved.

Treasurer’s report: No activity in the last month. The outstanding checks (6 @ $10) to Community Baptist Church are over a year old and have been cancelled and re-credited to our NCCU account. Checking balance is now $2,158.73. An announcement in upcoming newsletter will invite all members to pay annual dues either by mail or in person at the March meeting. Seven members have paid dues through April 1, 2017 and they will be notified not to pay at this time.

Spring newsletter will be printed and mailed by Speedy Automated Mailers as usual. Articles include summary of the last 3 years of board activity, president’s comments, Campus Community Coalition, and LED streetlights. Greg McCracken will be our editor again. Expected mailing date is March 3 or 4.

Guest speakers for March business meeting are Police Chief Cliff Cook, NPO Eric Osterkamp, B’ham emergency Manager Paul Gazdik. Some help will be needed to set up the Elk’s Lodge Game Room for our meeting: table for sign-in and dues collection. Nikki and Tom will man this table for dues payment, cash or check only (no credit cards). Round tables in the Game Room will need to be moved closer together and then restored to original locations at conclusion of the meeting. We will offer water and cookies as refreshments, to be purchased by Steve.

New business:

Dick brought up the idea of dividing Samish Neighborhood into two separate neighborhoods. We have a large and diverse neighborhood, both geographically and population-wise. Two smaller neighborhoods might be easier to manage. There’s a question about whether smaller neighborhoods would have enough interest and active members to support activities. No conclusions were reached and we’re not sure how the city would view such a proposal. We felt the idea was worth more discussion.

The board will elect association officers at the April meeting. Current officers Abell and Conoboy would accept renomination for president and vice-president, respectively. Tom Read has offered to accept nomination for Treasurer. We will need to nominate and elect someone to be secretary.

We discussed doing another evening phone bank to call and encourage members and non-members to attend the March meeting but decided not to do this for the March meeting. We’ll reconsider it for the September picnic. In the past not all board members have been willing to participate in this activity. Unless we have at least half a dozen callers it becomes too difficult to do this.

Meeting adjourned.

Steve Abell, Acting Secretary


Posted 1 year, 7 months ago.

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SNA minutes 2016-01

Samish Neighborhood Association Meeting
January 14, 2016, Community Baptist Church

Meeting called to order by President Abell.

Board members present: Joe Carpenter, Steve Abell, Garey Vodopich, Dick Conoboy, Joy Hale, Tom Read, Nikki Long, Judy Brightman, Kevin Probasco

Board members absent: Don Hale (excused), Junga Subedar (excused)

Visitors: Carmen Rasmussen, Coordinator for the Campus Community Coalition

Public Comments: Carmen gave us a summary of Coalition projects, including the Off-Campus Living project, which has a Project Vision Statement: We envision neighborhoods throughout Whatcom County with strong and open senses of identity, where all neighbors are able to actively contribute to and benefit from a climate of inclusion and respect. The current goal is to encourage safe, positive off-campus living experiences for students, and promoting a collaborative, connected relationship between students and their non-student neighbors. Permanent neighborhood residents and student renters move in very different orbits, but Carmen believes the Coalition is making progress. Other projects include the Tenant Waste Task Force (to head off orphaned furniture out on the street) and Tenant Safety.

BPD police report: (NPO Eric Osterkamp was unable to attend tonight)

President’s Announcements:

In place of the BPD report, Steve gave a summary of a law enforcement incident that occurred January 4-5 in Samish neighborhood. The incident, which started outside the city, ended on 37th Street north of Mill Avenue, and brought out the Whatcom County Sheriff’s SWAT Team as well as officers from the Bellingham Police Dept. An arrest was made without violence but not without an intense situation on the 1100 block that played out for about four hours.

Old business:

Meeting minutes from November 12, 2015 were approved. (The December meeting was cancelled.)

Treasurer’s report: Paid $153.71 reimbursement to Kevin Probasco for September picnic purchases of food, drink, and ice. Paid $10.00 annual non-profit registration fee to the WA Secretary of State. Collected $24.00 in dues. Checkbook balance stands at $2,098.73. We currently have 151 paid members.

The board reviewed the data collected from five other neigborhoods on management practices of their boards of directors. One common theme running through all the practices is the need for good communication between boards and their respective neighborhood residents. No surprise there. The website is being actively used by several neighborhoods, including Samish. We observed that using this site is likely to have value for many of our own residents. Some are already members, but to expand communication we decided to send a broadcast email containing directions for how to join (membership is free) to all Samish addresses on our email list. We’ll leave the decision to join or pass up to individual residents.

New business:

We discussed plans for the upcoming general business meeting on March 15, and publication of the Spring newsletter. Steve will write the President’s Comments. Tom felt we need to do a more thorough job informing Samish residents what the board does for the neighborhood with the goal of getting more people interested in joining our Association. Dick volunteered to write an article comprising descriptions of issues and projects we’ve been involved in for the past several years. We still need a couple more short articles to fill out the 4-page newsletter. Final drafts will need to be ready by about February 22.

We discussed what speakers we might invite to the March meeting. We hope to get BPD Police Chief Cliff Cook along with NPO Eric Osterkamp, plus Paul Gazdik, the city Emergency Manager. Carmen will forward Paul’s contact information and Steve will issue the invitations.

Board members whose two-year terms will expire on April 1 are Don, Steve, Dick, Garey, and Nikki. All five are open to accepting re-nomination for another term. Other board members’ terms run for another year. That will give us the current 11-member board with room for four additional members. We hope to get at least a few new nominations at the March meeting, and current board members should try to recruit Samish neighbors if possible. Board members must be members in good standing.

Dick Conoboy is not eligible to accept another term as our MNAC respresentative having max’ed out on terms served. Kevin, our current MNAC Alternate, expressed interest in becoming the representative. Nikki expressed interest in becoming the alternate. Election of officers occurs at the April meeting. Election of secretary, treasurer, and vice president will occur before election of president. Steve and Dick expressed interest in extending their terms as president and vice president, respectively. We will need board members to accept nomination for the other two offices. Our by-laws allow for one person to be secretary/treasurer.

Meeting adjourned.

Steve Abell
Acting Secretary


Posted 1 year, 7 months ago.

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SNA Minutes 2015-11

Samish Neighborhood Association Meeting
November 12, 2015, Community Baptist Church

Meeting called to order by President Abell.

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

Board member absent: Joe Carpenter (excused)

Visitors: Lisa Broussard & Jason Davis (WA Dept of Social & Health Services), Seth Palmer (WWU), BPD Officer Eric Osterkamp

Public Comments: Officer Osterkamp gave us an update on police activities. The Aloha Motel is finally being demolished, and the property will be sold by the city for new development. Eric noted that the amount of criminal activity in the area around the motel has noticeably fallen and is not showing up elsewhere. This is taken as evidence that at least some troublemakers have left Bellingham. However, there has been an uptick in the number of illegal homeless camps. Over the last seven years the number of camps in the city has risen from about ten to 80-100. It’s common for the proliferation of camps to correlate with a rise in crime. There’s also an issue with homeless persons who are mentally ill and unable to get care. Eric suggested that a separate meeting about homelessness in Bellingham would be worthwhile. We’ll keep this in mind for a future meeting, and we’ll consider inviting a speaker on this issue to our general business meeting in March, 2016. Eric also commented that package thieves are always more active in the holiday season. Sometimes they follow Fedex or UPS or USPS delivery trucks and pounce on packages left on front porches while the homeowner is out. We should all be alert for situations that look suspicious and call 9-1-1 if we see something like this. The delivery services can be contacted and will often honor a request to put the package in a safer place or make other specific arangements for delivery.

President’s Announcements: none

Old business:

Meeting minutes from August 13, September 13 picnic, and October 8 were approved.

Treasurer’s report: The only financial transaction for the last month was reimbursing Kevin $153.71 for food purchased for the picnic. This leaves us with a checkbook balance of $2,084.73. We still have $60 in outstanding room rent checks not cashed by the church. So far the church has not responded to requests to address this.

We spoke briefly about the new apartment complex being built by CA Ventures just south of Fred Meyer in Puget Neighborhood. Don told us that the vacancy rate for rental housing in Bellingham is 1.6%, which is very low. A healthy rate would be about 6%. These apartments, while appearing to be large, represent but a small increase in availability. Representatives from CA Ventures will answer questions at a meeting of Puget Neighborhood on November 17, 7PM, at Carl Cozier Elementary School.

The new owner of the church property at 801 Samish Way, Pacific Harbor Psychology, said that it expects to begin remodeling of the building interior before the end of the year with the expectation of moving in around June.

The date for our spring general meeting is set for March 15, 2016, at the Elk’s Lodge. Scheduling this year is trickier because the Moose are now also meeting in the same building. We will be in the “Game Room” on the lower level. There are also about ten round tables and chairs with a total capacity of about 50 people, so it should work well for our meeting. There are extra folding chairs if needed.

New business:

We briefly discussed possibly changing our dues policy for residents who want to become new members at our picnic by charging half normal dues ($7.50 or $6 senior) for their first half year of membership. Members renewing their memberships (if, say, they forgot to renew in March) would pay a full year’s dues at the picnic. No decision was made, but we need to decide in time to put a notification in next year’s newsletter if changes are made.

Steve sent a list of 9 questions on neighborhood association practices to York, Sehome, Puget, Fairhaven, Edgemoor, and Happy Valley presidents. The response from the presidents was gratifying. A spreadsheet summarizing the answers that came back was distributed to board members, and discussion will occur at the January meeting. There may be some practices we can adopt to improve our association. The response also suggests that inter-neighborhood communication (something beyond what may occur at MNAC meetings) is underutilized.

Garey spoke about remarks recently appearing in the Bellingham Business Journal attributed to Councilman Lilliquist. He was quoted as saying that only 45% of the city’s housing is single family and this indicates that city residents prefer multi-family housing. Garey found this to be grossly inaccurate. When asked by Garey, Lilliquist said that he had been misquoted and, in fact, while there is a demand for affordable rental housing in the city, the desirability of single family homes in single family neighborhoods like Samish remains strong. We hope Mr. Lilliquist remembers this when he votes on future rezoning requests.

We also discussed the conversion of single family homes in Samish into rentals often with student tenants. Such conversions can become problematic not only in Samish but also in other neighborhoods. They can also violate a city restriction that no more than three unrelated people may occupy a single family house in an area zoned single family. These conversions don’t have to be problems, however. Garey reported with pleasure that new renters at 1212 34th Street, a recent conversion just down the street from his house, showed recently that they know how to keep parties under control. In spite of many cars parked on the street and a sizeable party going on within the house, no excess noise was heard. Garey thought enough of this to stop in and thank the students for being good neighbors. We can only hope that more student renters will recognize the value of being good neighbors to long term residents.

After last month’s unexpected lack of quorum, Steve made a strong request to all board members that they notify the board by phone or email when they will be absent. There are many acceptable reasons for missing a meeting, but failure to notify the rest of the board of an impending absence is not acceptable.

A motion was made and seconded to cancel the December board meeting. Holiday activities tend to keep people busy, and we do not expect any pressing issues to come up that might require a meeting. The motion passed unanimously. The next board meeting is January 14, 2016.

Meeting adjourned.

Steve Abell, Acting Secretary


Posted 1 year, 10 months ago.

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SNA minutes 2015-10


Samish Neighborhood Association Meeting
October 8, 2015, Community Baptist Church

Meeting called to order by President Abell. Quorum not present.
Board members present: Steve Abell, Garey Vodopich, Dick Conoboy, Tom Read,
Board members absent: Joe Carpenter, Don Hale, Joy Hale, Junga Subedar, Nikki Long, Judy Brightman, Kevin Probasco

Guests: Officer Eric Osterkamp (Neighborhood Police Officer), Carmen Rasmussen (WWU Campus Coalition)

Public Comments: Officer Osterkamp told us that he checked BPD crime statistics before coming to our meeting and noted that the number of incidents reported in Samish has been declining. Car prowls are still a problem for residents who park in the open. He believes that car prowls are often not reported, but that all residents should report them whenever they occur so police can identify trouble spots in the city.

Carmen Rasmussen spoke about the Coalition’s solution-based efforts to change the culture of WWU student renters in order to improve relations between regular residents and student renters. Like any culture change it will be a slow process but she hopes to show steady progress.

President’s Announcements: none

Old business:

Unable to approve minutes due to lack of quorum.

Treasurer’s report: $757.34 paid to Speedy Automated Mailers for fall newsletter printing and postage. We collected $234 in dues at the picnic with 14 membership renewals and 4 new members. Total dues deposits were $438. Checkbook balance $2,238.44, and we have 150 current members.

Picnic report: we had 55 people signed in for our picnic. The weather was good, and people seemed to have a good time. We had quite a bit of food left over. Two dozen leftover hot dogs were donated to Habitat for Humanity to feed volunteers. Councilman Lilliquist spent time with us talking to residents and discussing issues, especially the issue of the three unrelated person rule for single family homes and the city’s willingness to look the other way when this ordinance is violated by landlords renting to college students. Candidates Bobby Briscoe and April Barker also attended.

We briefly reviewed the phone bank done before the picnic to invite people to attend the picnic, but none of the board members other than Steve had participated in the phone bank so this was a short conversation.

We reviewed the recent rezone activity for Samish Area 9 (between the Elk’s Lodge and Baptist Church), Area 10 (the Church of Christ property), and Ashley Street property. Not much seems to be going on.

New business:

We discussed the issue of partial dues payment for residents renewing or joining at the picnic. Tom suggested taking a marketing approach by using half-annual dues as a way to attract new and renewing members. Steve said that the bylaws permit changes in annual dues to be made by a majority vote of the board. This would probably also allow us to adjust dues at the picnic. The question is whether the offer of half-annual dues at the picnic would induce more people to join the Association. It might be worth testing this theory, and this approach will be discussed further.

We discussed the date for our March general business membership meeting. The Elk’s Lodge schedule is more crowded this year because the Moose are meeting there also. Steve reported a conversation he had with the Elk’s Lodge office staff in which they told him that only Tuesday nights would be available for our meeting. Tuesday night is bingo night at the lodge, but the downstairs game room would be available and is large enough to accommodate 50-60 people. It’s walled off from the bar area and has its own entry doors. Parking may be a problem depending on how big the bingo game is that night, but with three areas in which to park it should be manageable. This will work for our meetings and there’s really nowhere else in Samish that we could switch to, so the date of March 15, 2016 was set. Steve will confirm this date with the lodge. [Note: it is confirmed.]

Dick expressed his concern and frustration that so many board members were missing from this meeting. Of 11 board members, seven were absent. Some were out of town, and some had other meetings to attend. Only four of the absent board members communicated that they would not be able to attend. The dates for our board meetings are known well in advance. Attending meetings is part of the responsibility of people who accept nomination and election to the board. We want all current board members to recognize that obligation and either attend or offer a reasonable excuse in advance of the meeting. It is unfair to the members attending the meeting if a quorum is expected but then not enough people show up. Neighborhood business cannot be transacted without a quorum. If we knew in advance that a quorum would not be present we could cancel the meeting and not waste the time of the people who do show up.

Meeting adjourned.

Steve Abell
Acting Secretary


Posted 1 year, 11 months ago.

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SNA minutes 2015-09 picnic


Annual Samish Neighborhood Picnic
Lake Padden Park, Playground Pavilion
Sunday, September 13, noon-3PM

We had good weather for the picnic, and lots of good food was available for all. We seemed to have more desserts than usual which was a welcome change. We had 55 people signed in, a good turnout in spite of the Seahawk’s game going into OT and stretching beyond 1 PM. City Councilman Michael Lilliquist attended, as did candidates April Barker and Bobby Briscoe. Two others, Satpal Sidhu and Kathy Kershner, told us they were planning to attend but did not.

We collected membership renewal dues from fourteen households, and from four new members.

Thanks to everyone who came early to set up and stayed late to clean up. We had two dozen hotdogs left over which were donated to Habitat for Humanity to feed volunteers. A special thanks to Kin Davidson for doing the grilling and to Ginny Davidson for helping keep the picnic going smoothly. Also thanks to Joe Carpenter for loaning us his grill, and to Don and Joy Hale who brought picnic supplies (condiments, cups, paper plates, napkins, etc.). Thanks to Judy Brightman and Nikki Long for handling dues collection. Thanks to Kevin Probasco for doing the heavy duty shopping (burgers, dogs, soda, ice).

This was a good overall effort on everyone’s part, and it seemed clear that everyone had a good time. At least no one left hungry.

Posted 1 year, 11 months ago.

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SNA Minutes 2015-08

Samish Neighborhood Association Meeting
August 13, 2015, Community Baptist Church

Meeting called to order by President Abell.

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

Guests: Doug Miller

Public Comments: Ridgemont will hold its neighborhood garage sale on September 12, 9-3.. Anyone in Samish can participate by calling Don Hale (319-4141).

President’s Announcements:

Satpal Sidhu, a candidate for County Council, will attend our picnic. Michael Lilliquist, City Councilman for Ward 6, said he will try to stop in. Councilman Bornemann and Mayor Linville were sent invitations but no response has been received. Dick volunteered to invite a few other officials.

The sale of 801 Samish Way (Church of Christ property) to Pacific Harbor Psychology has not closed yet. As a result the church property has no one to maintain its appearance. Kate Haskell (PHP) said she expects the sale to close “soon”, after which PHP will take over maintenance of the property.

Old business:

Meeting minutes from June 13th were approved. The July meeting was cancelled.

Treasurer’s report: Two bills were paid: $83.40 to Tiger Technologies, our website host, and $82.00 to the US Post Office for annual box rent. $27 in dues was deposited. Checkbook balance is $2557.78. Steve sent a formal letter to the Community Baptist Church asking for their help in finding or replacing six outstanding ten-dollar meeting room rent checks. No response from the church. As of August 13 we have 127 members in good standing. Any Samish resident who wishes to join the Association can pay dues at the picnic ($15, $12 seniors) which will provide membership status through March 31, 2016. There will be no half-year dues allowed, consistent with our revised by-laws.

Reviewed picnic plans. We will need several board members to arrive at the park at 11:30 to help set up. Joe will bring his grill and will share cooking duties with other board members. Kevin will purchase food and ice from a list that Steve will provide. Don & Joy have a lot of supplies (cups, paper plates, napkins, etc) left over from last year which they will bring. Judy volunteered to bring plastic tablecloths to cover the wooden picnic tables in the pavilion We will need a couple of large coolers to hold ice & soda, plus two smaller ones to keep burgers and dogs hot after cooking. Nikki, Judy, and Steve will handle sign-in and dues collection. We’ll need to be cleaned up and gone by 3:00 PM. Picnic details appear in the fall newsletter.

Newsletter status: Steve looked into an alternate publisher for our newsletter, Threshold Documents, at Tom’s recommendation. Their quote was very close to what Speedy Mailers charged us last time, so we will stay with Speedy. However, they would be a viable publisher if we need them in the future.

Articles have been submitted by Officer Osterkamp of BPD, Dick, Steve, and Kevin. Distribution date for the newsletter will be early in the week of August 31.

New business:

We will plan to do another phone bank to call members and members whose memberships recently expired to remind them of the picnic, and gently suggest to residents whose memberships have expired that they are welcome to re-join by paying dues at the picnic. We need at least 6 board members to participate in order to reach a significant number of members and residents. We will meet at Steve’s house (1021 34th Street) for an hour starting at 6:30 PM on September 3. Bring cell phones.

Meeting adjourned.

Steve Abell
Acting Secretary


Posted 1 year, 12 months ago.

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SNA minutes 2015-06

Samish Neighborhood Association Meeting
June 11, 2015, Community Baptist Church

Meeting called to order by Vice-President Conoboy.

Board members present: Judy Brightman, Dick Conoboy, Tom Read, Garey Vodopich, Kevin Probasco, Nikki Long (quorum present)

Board members absent: Don Hale, Joy Hale, Steve Abell, Junga Subedar, Joe Carpenter

Guests: 5 neighbors, Ms. April Barker (Birchwood Neighborhood, candidate for City Council, Ward 1). Councilman Michael Lilliquist (Ward 6). Dave Blake (NW Clean Air)

Public Comments: Question was asked regarding status of the rezone for Ashley Street, Area 9, and 801 Samish Way. City Council voted in favor of all three rezone proposals. Vote was not unanimous. Church property (801 Samish Way) will become Area 10, rezoned from residential to commercial with offices-only restriction. Psychology practice will be able to acquire the church building and convert it into their medical offices. Non-retail restriction removed from Area 9. Auto qualification removed from Ashley property.

Dave Blake gave a presentation on indoor air quality which was clever, humorous, and informative. He offered to provide a CD that speaks to indoor air quality.

Old business:

Meeting minutes from May 14 meeting were approved.

Motion was made and seconded to add Vice President Richard Conoboy to the signature authority list for our credit union account. Brian Benjamin, having left the board, is no longer our Treasurer.

By unanimous vote of the board (quorum present) the following signature authority changes are made to North Coast Credit Union account #32118002:

Added to signature authority for the account is Richard Conoboy.

Removed from signature authority for the account is Brian Benjamin.

Steven Abell continues as a signature authority for the account.

No nominations for Secretary or Treasurer were made.

New business:

Motion was made and seconded to cancel the July board meeting. Motion passed unanimously. The next board meeting will be August 13.

Meeting adjourned.

Garey Vodopich, Temporary Acting Secretary


Posted 2 years, 3 months ago.

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SNA minutes 2015-05

Samish Neighborhood Association Meeting
May 14, 2015, Community Baptist Church

Meeting called to order by President Abell.

Board members present: Joe Carpenter, Steve Abell, Garey Vodopich, Dick Conoboy, Judy Brightman, Kevin Probasco (Quorum present)
Board members absent:, Don Hale, Joy Hale, Nikki Long, Junga Subedar

Guests: Judie Zersen, Tom Read, George Sanders, Carmen Rasmussen (Campus Community Coalition)

Public Comments: Carmen Rasmussen described her work at WWU to help student renters and Bellingham residents get along together better. She meets with students regularly in an outreach program, and asks all affected residents to give her a call if there is a problem (party noise, trash on lawns, etc.) with student renters. She will visit the rental properties in question and speak to the students about being courteous to neighbors and will try to resolve issues proactively without the need for city residents to summon the police.

Judie Zersen spoke about water runoff at 44th Street and Byron Avenue. We suggested she contact Mr. Ted Carlson at Public Works to register her concern, although there may not be much action taken by the city.

George Sanders urged everyone to report parking violations (a non-emergency call to 9-1-1, or 676-6911, to report vehicle license plate and location), particularly around rental properties (cars parked illegally or blocking sidewalks), because only the weight of multiple complaints will have any influence on city officials and bring enforcement. George emphasized that this is the only way to get action.

President’s Announcements: none

Old business:

Meeting minutes from April 9 were approved.

Treasurer’s report: $165 in dues deposited in the last month. $84 expense to reserve the Lake Padden Park playground pavilion for our neighborhood picnic on September 13. Checkbook balance on May 14 is $2,696.18. We currently have 125 paid members.

Nominations for Association secretary and treasurer were opened but no nominations were forthcoming. Steve pointed out that this leaves him and Dick (currently vice-president) to fulfill these responsibilities, and that this is not a healthy situation for the association.

Zoning updates: The 801 Samish Way (Church of Christ property) rezone to commercial, planned, offices only was approved by City Council. It will become new Area 10. The Area 9 (between the Community Baptist Church and the Elk’s Lodge) rezone to commercial, planned, removing the non-retail restriction was approved by Council. The Samish board opposed both these proposals, but only Councilman Terry Bornemann cast a no vote to both. The Ashley Street rezone to commercial, planned, removing the auto qualifier was approved by the Planning Commission and will go before the Council next month. We expect it to be approved. Unlike the similar 2004 rezone, in which Samish Neighborhood mustered strong opposition and helped defeat the rezone, this current rezone proposal received attention from only a few neighbors.

Our Samish Neighborhood picnic will be held on September 13, from noon to 3 PM. Joe confirmed that he will again bring his grill, and Kevin confirmed that he will again buy food and drink to be provided by the Association.

New business:

Tom Read, who resides at 1901 38th Street, was nominated for board membership and elected unanimously by current board members. We welcome him to board membership and look forward to his contributions to our association. With the addition of Tom we now have 11 board members.

Dick’s idea to expand the scope of our monthly meetings to regularly include guest speakers was discussed and met with approval of all board members present. We expect this change to increase both interest and attendance at meetings. As a follow-up, Dick will try to invite Dave Blake to give us a presentation regarding indoor air quality that Dick recently heard at a York Neighborhood meeting. Dick will try to arrange this for our June 11 meeting. Other possibilities for expansion of our meetings were discussed, including joint meetings with other neighborhoods, speakers from other neighborhoods, or local residents like Mr. Blake who give informative and entertaining talks.

The next board meeting is Thursday, June 11.

Meeting adjourned.

Steve Abell, Acting Secretary/Treasurer

Posted 2 years, 3 months ago.

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SNA minutes 2015-04

Samish Neighborhood Association Meeting
April 9, 2015, Community Baptist Church

Meeting called to order by Secretary Abell.

Board members present: Steve Abell, Garey Vodopich, Dick Conoboy, Don Hale, Joy Hale, Judy Brightman, Nikki Long
Board members absent: Joe Carpenter, Kevin Probasco, Junga Subedar
Guests: Ken & Sue Lingbloom, Tom Read, Amanda Milner (WWU), Fred Dayton

Public Comments: Amanda Milner is a student at WWU. She is here in conjunction with her class in reporting.

President’s Announcements: New board members Judy Brightman and Joy Hale were welcomed. Board members and guests all introduced themselves.

Old business:

Meeting minutes from February and March were approved.

Treasurer’s report: Collected and deposited $1,440.50 in dues. Expenditures included $1,041.50 to Speedy Automated Mailers for printing and mailing the Spring Newsletter, and $21.57 for food offered at the Spring meeting. Received and deposited the city neighborhood grant money of $500.00. Checkbook balance on April 9 is $2,615.18. We currently have 112 paid members. 74 memberships expired on April 1 and have not been renewed. We can expect a few more dues payments over the next month or two.

Zoning update: Public hearings for Area 9 (rezone to remove non-retail restriction) and 801 Samish Way (rezone from single family residential conditional use to commercial planned offices only to allow Pacific Harbor Holdings to convert church building to the home of their psychology practice) come before the City Council on April 13 (postponed from April 6). Interested parties are encouraged to attend and offer their input to the Council.

Public hearing for Ashley Street (rezone from commercial auto to commercial planned) property between the WWU park & ride lot on Lincoln and Ashley Street comes before the Council on May 4.

This proposal includes a group of 7 new single family homes on a new 36th Street cul de sac from Fielding/Samish intersection. The developer’s plan meets current zoning code (single family residential) therefore required only a review by the Hearing Examiner. As far as we know there was no testimony in opposition and this project will move forward, although the timing is unknown at this time.

MNAC update: Dick participated in a focus group that reviewed the ongoing issue of a new ordinance that will regulate ADU-detached housing units (accessory dwelling units separate from an existing house but on the same property). Consideration of this will continue with City Council.

We now have ten board members. Our by-laws allow 9 to 15. It was the feeling of the board that we would like to recruit more board members but it has proven difficult to do this. The best way, by consensus of the members present, is to approach neighbors person-to-person. The item published in the Spring newsletter failed to generate any visible interest among neighbors. We don’t really have a neighborhood-wide cause to help capture interest. Current board members can approach their own neighbors to try to generate interest in joining the board. We see advantages in having a larger board and more diversity in board membership, especially from 38th Street and above, an area with little representation currently.

Steve reported that his project to create a planning document for the March meeting and September picnic was nearly finished and will be used for picnic planning this fall.

Back in November Joe suggested that we create a log of neighborhood responses to rezone proposals that have come up. We all agreed that this would be valuable so that future support for or opposition to new rezone proposals would have some history to look at. Much of the information is now available on by searching the website archives. Also, assembling and organizing these records would be a very heavy lift. It was thought that just a summary document would require less time but would still be worthwhile. Collect a log of just the basics – what happened and how it came out – with dates and links to available information. There were no volunteers to take this project on.

New business:

Our by-laws require nomination and election of officers to occur at the April meeting. Garey nominated Steve Abell for president and Dick for vice president. The nominations were seconded, and both individuals were elected by unanimous vote of board members present. No nominations were made for secretary or treasurer, so these offices are unfilled. Our by-laws allow both offices to be filled by the same person. Steve, having served in both capacities since November, pointed out that a single person can easily do both jobs if that person has the time (i.e. retired or with a part time job). In many ways keeping records and mailing lists up to date is easier if the same person does both jobs. We will reopen the nomination process at the May meeting. We need to fill these offices.

We currently only have one person (Steve) on the approved list of check signers for our North Coast CU account. For safety and convenience we need two. The two people normally on this list are the president and the treasurer, so we really do need a treasurer.

We discussed how we might attract more neighbors to our monthly meetings. Some of the ideas discussed were developing an interesting guest speaker program, broadly sending out our meeting agenda in advance to develop interest, changing the location of our meeting (we decided the church is still the best, and maybe only, place available), having fewer meetings, or having food available at meetings. No decisions were made, although several neighbors in attendance said they liked the idea of seeing an agenda ahead of time so we’ll try to continue doing that and see if it helps increase attendance.

We will make a reservation for the playground pavilion at Lake Padden park for our fall neighborhood picnic. This is usually the first or second Sunday after Labor Day, so the first choice is September 13, with September 20 as a backup date. Steve will make the reservation.

We discussed the availability of a neighborhood group. This is a way to facilitate communication among Samish neighbors. There is a group already in place although not many residents are aware of it. Any Samish resident can create a free account at and join the Samish Hill group. One advantage of joining is that our NPO’s (Neighborhood Police Officers) Eric Osterkamp and Dante Alexander post news of police and criminal activity on this site.

Meeting adjourned.

Steve Abell
President and acting secretary/treasurer

Posted 2 years, 5 months ago.

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SNA Annual Business Meeting 2015-03

Samish Neighborhood Association Annual Business Meeting
March 12, 2015, Elk’s Lodge

Meeting called to order by President Hale at 7:00 PM.

Board members present: Joe Carpenter, Steve Abell, Garey Vodopich, Dick Conoboy, Don Hale, Nikki Long
Board members absent: Junga Subedar , Kevin Probasco

Guests: Police Chief Cliff Cook, Officer Eric Osterkamp, Planning Director Rick Sepler, Cara Anderson (Pacific Harbor Psychology), 38 members signed in (quorum present)

Cookies, coffee, and water were available for refreshments. We thank Terry Myers, of Heritage Health & Rehabilitation on Samish Way, for donating some of the refreshments.

Public Comments: Chief Cook presented information on the new Neighborhood Police Officer program. Officer Osterkamp spoke briefly as the NPO for the southern Bellingham neighborhoods including Samish. The NPO program is aimed at promoting better communications and long term relationships between Bellingham neighborhoods and the police. The two NPO’s are dedicated to the NPO program. They are not assigned to respond to 9-1-1 calls, but will be responsive to non-emergency calls, comments, and suggestions from city residents. Reporting suspicious or unusual activities in and around neighborhoods is encouraged as a way to give police a heads-up on possible criminal activity. Officer Osterkamp told us that citizen input had already been helpful in detecting criminal activity in Bellingham. This is one of the major goals of the program.

Director Sepler spoke to the group about the upcoming Comprehensive Plan revision process and the importance of citizen input to the planning process. Rick has published several articles in local media regarding how the Bellingham quality of life can be maintained or even improved through good long term planning. He invited all city residents to provide comments and ideas on how this might be done.

Both speakers fielded questions from the audience.

President’s Announcements: Don mentioned the development issues that have been addressed by Samish in the past year, including the University Ridge student housing development (the developer has withdrawn his proposal), a rezone proposal for an Ashley Street parcel, two proposals along Samish Way (Area 9 and 801 Samish) which come before the Council on April 6, and one off of Samish Way and Fielding Avenue for single family residential development. He also reported that our annual neighborhood picnic held in early September was successful with good weather and a good turnout. Don mentioned board efforts to support the new rental registration and licensing city ordinance, which has now been passed by the City Council and will be implemented in 2016.

Business meeting section:

Treasurer’s report: Steve gave the annual treasurer’s report. Association income from dues and a grant from the city came to $2,438. Expenses, including our biggest expense of $2,022 for two newsletters per year, amounted to $2,409. Current balance in our checking account stands at $1,221. We currently have 180 members in good standing but many members have not renewed their memberships. We expect more dues to be received in the next several weeks. We are now collecting all dues in March/April, and future dues will carry the same deadline.

Election of board members was held. Three board members, Joe Carpenter, Junga Subedar, and Kevin Probasco, whose terms are expiring, were re-nominated for another 2-yr term. Two nominations were made from the floor, including Judy Brightman and Joy Hale. A motion was made and seconded to elect this slate of 5 nominees as a group. The motion passed unanimously. We now have ten board members. Election of Association officers will take place at our board meeting on April 9.

President Hale expressed the Association’s thanks to the Elk’s Lodge for allowing us to use their meeting room at no charge, and thanked everyone in the audience for attending the meeting. He encouraged all Samish neighbors to feel free to approach any board member with comments or suggestions about how we might maintain or improve the quality of life in our neighborhood.

Meeting adjourned.

Steve Abell,  Secretary/Treasurer

Posted 2 years, 5 months ago.

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