Samish Neighborhood Association

Neighbors in Bellingham, Washington, working together

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Fall 2009 Newsletter

Neighborhood News



P.O. Box 1551

Bellingham, WA 98227

Annual Samish Neighborhood BBQ/Potluck at Lake Padden Park

Noon to 3 p.m. Sunday, September 20

Plan to bring your family, meet your neighbors and enjoy a great barbecue. We’ll have special guests, information tables and maps of the Samish area so you can discuss what’s going on in the neighborhood with SNA board members and other residents. We’ve also invited current officials as well as new candidates running for office in this fall’s election. This is a great time for a face-to-face to see what these people have to say about what they think our future will bring! SNA will provide barbecued chicken, hotdogs, condiments, soft drinks and coffee. Bring your favorite dish to share and chairs or a blanket for your seating comfort.

Dinner is free with a potluck contribution and yearly dues paid ($12 per household, $10 for seniors). We charge friends and former neighbors $5 each. If you haven’t already paid your 2009-10 membership fees, mail in your registration form and check now or plan to bring them to the registration table at the picnic.

Not sure if you’ve already paid this year’s membership fee?

Just contact SNA treasurer April Markiewicz, 734-4498,

How to Find Us:

Enter the park through the east (golf course) entrance and look for the Samish Neighborhood banner at the large picnic shelter between the play equipment area and the lake.

Potluck Dish Suggestion:

Last name A-M Side Dish N-S Salad T-Z Dessert

President’s Report


If your mailbox is anything like mine, you receive these “chances” at least once a week. This isn’t one of them.

I offer an opportunity that you’ve earned, an opportunity to protect and even increase the investment you made when you chose to live in the Samish Neighborhood.

Join the Samish Neighborhood Association. Twice a year the Samish Neighborhood Association (SNA) posts its newsletter to you with updates of our work on your behalf. In 2009, we planted gardens around two recently installed neighborhood signs. We monitor planned housing developments and changes to traffic patterns. We provide a constant link between the City administration and our residents and have secured grants through the diligent work of SNA treasurer April Markiewicz to make available more services. Our general meetings give you an opportunity not only to hear from but to speak to officials from the City, Port and University.

Following Eric Weight as president in April, I set several goals for the board to complete this year. We needed to take a definitive stance against the City on the “stairsteps” as an arterial road and show our firm opposition to unenforceable housing regulations that allow landlords to rent a house to an unreasonable number of tenants. We vowed to push the City to finish its survey of the future corridor of Governor Road so we can complete the land-use section of our Neighborhood Plan. And we agreed to get a neighborhood website running as soon as possible.

The website — — will be soon online. It will provide you with an efficient and upto- date source of information about Samish Neighborhood and the City. The site will include links and notices, board meeting minutes, a photo bulletin board and a forum in which registered SNA members can exchange thoughts and ideas on a variety of topics relevant to the neighborhood. It will give us a fast means of giving you the information you need. I encourage you to regularly visit this site.

In the near future, I also hope to establish a disaster preparedness program and block watches where they are called for in our neighborhood.

As a resident of the Samish Neighborhood, SNA is here to help you protect your investment and your way of life. If you’re looking for the catch, here it is: the services are provided to all free of-charge, but that does not mean it does not have a cost. The city does cover some operating expenses, but membership fees are essential to our work. The cost alone to publish and mail this newsletter is $385. It goes to every active address in the neighborhood, all 1,353 of them.

Historically, we have had the highest percentage of residents join its neighborhood association of Bellingham’s 24 neighborhoods. Currently our dues-paying membership is 164. Your participation in the association provides us with the resources and the diversity we need to sustain the lifestyle we chose when we moved to Samish Neighborhood.

Please sign up. It’s an opportunity you can’t afford to miss.

Greg McCracken, President,

Samish Neighborhood Association

Mayor’s Advisory Commission Report

Infill Housing Toolkit may affect Samish Neighborhood

By Greg McCracken, SNA President and Samish MNAC Representative

Buzzwords come and go, but the City of Bellingham’s “Infill Housing Toolkit” looks like it is here to stay. How it will affect us in the Samish Neighborhood remains to be seen.

Much of the pertinent discussion at the Mayor’s Neighborhood Advisory Commission (MNAC) has focused on this. MNAC meets once a month with representatives of the City and from other neighborhoods.

The toolkit is a set of nine new housing types including Small House, Smaller House, Cottage, Carriage House, Detached Accessory Dwelling Unit, Duplex/ Triplex, Garden Courtyard, Shared Courtyard and Townhouses. It is intended for areas zoned for multifamily residences.

The vast majority of Samish Neighborhood is zoned for single-family residences, so why should we be concerned?

The latest tweaking approved in July by the City Council left standing a provision that a rezone to multifamily would be required to add a toolkit form to single-family areas or “the applicability section of the new code would need to be modified by future Council action.”

Plainly put, the Council can change the rules later on. And some have asked why we need to push this through now. City officials said we need such provisions in place to accommodate growth without causing the city to sprawl. The toolkit is intended to deal with about a third of the expected growth of Bellingham — an increase of close to 32,000 by 2022 — by infilling existing neighborhoods. Barring unforeseen circumstances, the Infill Toolkit will become part of the City Code in September.

MNAC has been a good conduit for information from the City. How effective it is in the other direction is at times questionable, although the City’s neighborhood service coordinator Linda Stewart is a capable and diligent facilitator.

For me, MNAC has provided a forum to meet with other representatives and learn of activities in their neighborhoods. We now have a new addition — the King Mountain Neighborhood — and the Planning Department is considering creating four neighborhoods out of two existing one — Mt. Baker and Guide Meridian/ Cordata. Despite of all the talk of the infill toolkit, the City is preparing for a lot of the new growth in the northern part of the city.

As we are developing the Samish Neighborhood website, I encourage you to visit websites of other neighborhoods for more information about other parts of the city and to garner new ideas for ours.

MNAC’s website is:


Get To Know Your Neighbors

By Kincaid Davidson, Samish Neighborhood

Remember sometime in early March, when you were looking out your window and for the first time this season saw a hummingbird. It was probably a male Rufous hummingbird as they are the first to arrive on Samish Hill. Their arrival usually coincides with the blooming of salmonberry and red currant. The females arrive about two to three weeks after the males begin arriving. These early arrivers have been on a long journey, having migrated from somewhere in Mexico. Some of them will stay here on Samish Hill and others will rest and then continue to Canada and even to Alaska.

The Rufous hummingbird is the most common hummingbird here, but there are three others that live on Samish Hill. The second most common hummingbird living here is the Anna’s hummingbird. These hummingbirds migrate only short distances and some live in Washington all year. The other two hummingbirds which can be seen on Samish Hill are the Black-chinned hummingbird and the Calliope hummingbird. The Calliope hummingbird is the smallest hummingbird in North America. We usually see hummingbirds feeding on the nectar of plants or at our

feeders. Since nectar is a poor source of nutrients, hummingbirds also feed on insects and spiders, some caught in midair. Hummingbirds eat only about

10 to 20 percent of the time and just sit around about 70 to 80 percent of the time. Each day, a hummingbird will consume as much nectar as its body weight.

The Rufous hummingbird is most known for its aerial displays when attracting a female. He will dive close to a female, his wings making a loud buzzing noise as he makes a J-shaped trajectory. It’s also the Rufous that sits and watches the feeder all day chasing all other hummingbirds away. Rather than sing, the Rufous chirps when upset.

The hummingbird nest is small and cup shaped. It’s lined with feathers and held together with spider webs. Did you know that hummingbirds are the only birds that can fly backwards and they can hover in mid-air? They generally only live three to four years. They can flap their wings 12-90 times per second. Their heart rate can be as high as 1,260 beats per minute. Hummingbirds are able to slow down their metabolism at night and enter a hibernation-like state called torpor.

Samish Neighborhood Development Update

By Tim Wynn, SNA Board Member

Development in the Samish Neighborhood has slowed to a crawl for a number of reasons. The economy of course has impacted the availability of both public and private funds. That in turn has put a number of projects on hold. One of the public projects on hold is the extension of San Juan Boulevard. (San Juan Boulevard will be extended to tie into Elwood.) This has been a priority concern of the neighborhood association, as we feel it is critical that San Juan Boulevard be extended prior to any more major development on the top of the hill. Unfortunately, because of many uncertainties about funding and the environmental impact of the extension, that project has been taken off the six-year transportation improvement plan. The neighborhood association will be watching the planning for the infrastructure to see how the City will be addressing this priority issue.

Other housing developments are pretty much on hold with the exception of Samish Glenn. This development is located between 34th and 36th streets in the south end of the neighborhood. It will have a total of 13 lots. David Edelstein, the developer, has requested some exceptions to the building conditions imposed by the City. The SNA, after a careful look at the exceptions, has supported Edelstein’s request. If the City approves the exceptions, that development will proceed to final design and, possibly, construction this next year.

Padden Trails, the large development south of Padden Creek which will hold some 200 units, is still trying to get approval of its civil drawings. These are the drawings that detail where the streets and utilities go. Once those meet City Public Works approval, they will be able to start construction.

Samish Heights (Seguin Development) and the 20 acres at the corner of 40th and Adams are both on hold. Both requested rezoning to be able to increase the density in those areas, but have been told that the rezoning will not be considered until the City has the resources to help the Samish Neighborhood (that’s us!) develop its Land Utilization Plan.

San Juan Hills, a 50-unit development that will be located to the southeast of the current end of Adams St., has had its preliminary plat (street layout) approved. It must now submit a full project design for approval by the City. It’s uncertain when that will happen.

We have a lot of potential construction in and around our neighborhood, so please stay in touch with the association for the latest updates.

Membership Benefits

Your dues maintain our ability to host our March annual meeting and the September annual picnic. These two events provide you with the opportunity to meet other interested neighbors, get an update on what is being proposed in the neighborhood, and provide feedback to the SNA Board on these and other issues of concern to you.

Your dues also enable us to provide informative newsletters to you by postal mail twice a year. We look forward to having you join us as a new or renewing member!

Samish Neighborhood News is published twice yearly by the Samish Neighborhood Association, P.O. Box 1551, Bellingham, WA 98227-1551

Editor: Pauline Palmer

Assistant Editor: Ginny Davidson

Meetings: 7 p.m., Community Baptist Church, 810 Samish Way, second Tuesday of the month except March (annual meeting) and September (annual picnic).

Posted 9 years, 5 months ago at 8:23 AM.

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