Samish Neighborhood Association

Neighbors in Bellingham, Washington, working together

SNA Minutes 2012-11

Samish Neighborhood Association Meeting

Tuesday, November 13, 2012, Community Baptist Church

 Meeting called to order by President Carpenter.

Board members present: Carpenter, Abell, Vodopich, Eisenberg, Conoboy, Hale, Gilbertson

Board members absent: Wynn (excused), Morrison (excused), Roehl

Guests: Neil & Dianne Pfundt, Millard Shires, Robin Dexter, Kimber Langton, Bellingham Mayor Kelli Linville, Torhil Ramsay (Assistant to the Mayor)

Public Comments:

Dianne Pfundt (2814 40th St) commented on the need for walking paths, even if they are simply gravel, in the vicinity of 40th & Wilkin. Walking on the street is hazardous in this area.

Kimber Langton (716 Cedar Creek Lane) commented about access for walkers near Lake Padden Park. The crosswalk is helpful, but more walker access is needed along Samish Way, especially for children going to Padden Park.

Robin Dexter commented on the need for better access to Padden Park, and mentioned that drainage culverts along the trails in and entering Padden Park need to be cleaned periodically to prevent washouts. She mentioned that the city is usually responsive to this need.

Millard Shires (2100 Samish Way) commented on the adverse impact of a large radio tower recently built near his home on views and surrounding property values. He asked if this tower would have required a city permit and, if so, why was there no public input. [Torhil Ramsay said that this issue has already been brought to the city’s attention.]

We were pleased to have Mayor Linville attend our meeting. She offered a number of comments on life as our Mayor and on city issues in general.

Our Mayor is completing a cycle of attending meetings of all Bellingham neighborhood associations and has found this to be highly informative. She expressed her preference for hearing directly from city residents. She is enthusiastic and active in waterfront development planning, and expects a proposal to be sent to the Planning Commission in early 2013. She reported that the city budget has been out of balance for the last five years and is working with department heads to get it under control. There was no feasible way to balance it in one year. The shortfall is expected to be just over $1 million for 2012, but she believes there is a good chance to get the shortfall under $400,000 by 2013 and fully balanced in 2014.

The mayor has breathed new life into the Mayor’s Neighborhood Advisory Commission (MNAC). She is chairing the monthly meetings now and wondered why this hasn’t been done all along. Several board members pointed out that in their opinion previous mayors seemed to have only a casual interest in what MNAC was doing. She felt that MNAC’s main thrust and value should be to enhance neighborhoods, and to that end she is proposing a change to MNAC BMC 2.33.040 – FUNCTIONS – MEETINGS AND MINUTES. She pointed out what she viewed in the current code as duplication of effort between MNAC and the Planning Commission. She does not feel a need for MNAC to review Comprehensive Plan amendments and provide its recommendations to either the Planning Commission or the City Council. The change in the new code would allow MNAC to elect to review Comp Plan amendments but report their recommendations to the mayor only. Board members expressed serious concern that valuable neighborhood input, which may be quite different from that of city agencies, may be lost if the direct interface between Council and MNAC is no longer available. The next MNAC meeting is November 14, at which time the change will be discussed.

We had a long discussion of the Padden Trails Comp Plan Amendment and rezone proposal issues that surfaced earlier this year. The Mayor expressed her disappointment with the review process, as she felt it was chaotic, inefficient, and involved too much public negotiation of aspects like what type and how many housing units were appropriate for the Padden site. She would have preferred to have the city Planning Department develop a clearer picture of what is appropriate for any specific parcel of land, and she would like the Infill Toolkit to be applied only where it fits. She is generally in favor of infill, but also wants to preserve neighborhood character. There should be a balance between the city Comp Plan and individual neighborhood plans in which neither trumps the other. She also sees great value to future planning if the city creates a better framework from which neighborhoods, city agencies, and developers/builders can work.

We discussed the idea that both new and existing city infrastructure needs to be taken into account. Spending city dollars on creating new infrastructure at the expense of letting our existing infrastructure deteriorate is not acceptable to the Mayor. Finding this balance is difficult given the relatively low budget for any infrastructure projects.

Old business:

No President’s announcements

Meeting minutes from October were approved.

Treasurer is out of town, so no Treasurer’s Report was available.

New business:

Dick Conoboy will attend the MNAC meeting November 14. He will bring up the issues we identified in our discussions with the Mayor.

Our by-laws still need to be updated. Joe suggested setting a schedule for preparing draft changes by working backwards in time from the Spring general meeting coming up next March. The Association will vote on proposed changes at that meeting, so we need to get any drafts of changed articles to the full membership at least thirty days before the meeting. That means we need to finalize proposed changes by the end of January. A separate working group may be needed to get this done.

The Board thanked Mayor Linville for spending time with us and wished her well in her future endeavors as Mayor.

Meeting adjourned.

Steve Abell

Secretary

 

 

Posted in General 4 years, 11 months ago at 8:55 AM.

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