Samish Neighborhood Association

Neighbors in Bellingham, Washington, working together

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 in General 1 year, 10 months ago at 10:27 AM.

Add a comment

Previous Post:   Next Post:

Comments are closed.

  • Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • Categories