Samish Neighborhood Association

Neighbors in Bellingham, Washington, working together

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SNA 2010 Spring Newsletter

Spring 2010

Neighborhood News



P.O. Box 1551

Bellingham, WA 98227

Annual Meeting Agenda

Wednesday, March 17

Elks Lodge

710 S. Samish Way

6:00 Registration/Social Hour

Everyone is encouraged to come early, complete their registration, check out our information

tables, and visit with neighbors, board members and City officials during our social hour. Coffee, tea

and refreshments provided.

7:00 Call to Order and Welcome

• President’s


• Treasurer’s report

• Election of 2010-12

SNA Board members

7:30 Guest Speakers

• Assistant Fire Chief

Andy Day

• Mayor Dan Pike

• WWU Vice President of

University Relations

Steve Swan

8:30 Public comment period and neighborhood networking time

9:00 Adjourn

President’s Report

If I could remove two words from this year’s vocabulary, we would never hear the phrase “budget crisis” again. But nobody asked me.

Despite setbacks, the Samish Neighborhood Association (SNA) Board continues to represent our neighborhood consistently and efficiently. For this, we

need your continued support through participation and membership dues.

So, as we enter 2010, there is good news and the same old bad news. I’ll start at the bottom and work up.

• The City of Bellingham cut in half the amount it gives neighborhood associations. This year the SNA will receive $500 for its operating expenses. This includes websites and newsletters.

• The City’s Small and Simple grants are no longer available for neighborhoods. In the past, we have used such monies to pay for our signs and our website development.

• For the second year, the City is not accepting neighborhood proposals for transportation improvements. Until recently, neighborhoods could submit ideas for improving roads or making them safer. Budget woes have cut this service for the foreseeable future.

• Because the Planning Department is short-staffed, proposed amendments to neighborhood comprehensive plans are backed up “pending staff resources” or “pending staff review.” Development and construction is down, and SNA amendments that were submitted for the Planning Department’s schedule in 2008 were removed from the proposal list because of lack of action by property owners.

Now for the good news:

• SNA’s membership is up from the summer’s enrollment of 164 to 200 households. This means that our resources to protect and advocate for Samish Neighborhood are in pretty good shape. The SNA Board continues to monitor planned housing developments and changes to traffic patterns. We provide a constant link between the City administration and our residents. Our general meetings give you an opportunity to hear from and to speak to officials from the City, Port and University. This fall, we sent a letter encouraging the City Council to take a definitive stance toward regulating the business of rental houses in an effort to control overcrowded and unsafe conditions. We also addressed increased complaints about latenight parties, illegal parking and littering. We believe the City should make these code violations civil rather than criminal infractions to simplify enforcement.

Our website has been online since September. This is a relatively fast and cheap way to get out information to our members as well as provide a forum for discussions of topics relevant to our part of town.

This year, I hope to establish a disaster preparedness program and block watches where they are called for in our neighborhood.

Please continue supporting the Samish Neighborhood Association so we can continue to support you.

Greg McCracken, President

SNA Board of Directors

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). To sign up at our Web site: Include your email address on your membership form and go to

Mayor’s Neighborhood Advisory Commission

The purpose of the Mayor’s Neighborhood Advisory Commission is to provide a forum for communications between the neighborhoods and the City. Well, that and to review proposed amendments to comprehensive plans. Most of our work this fall has been in communications, some good and some bad.

Fortunately, we can pass all of this information on to you, quickly and easily, with our website, It’s no secret that along with the rest of the country, Bellingham is confronted with a budget crunch. And, of course, those shortfalls are eventually felt at the neighborhood level. The City no longer will offer its Small and Simple Grant program, and operating funds to neighborhoods were cut in half to $500. Once again this year, the City is not accepting proposals for traffic and safety improvements.

Of more immediacy to Samish Neighborhood, our comprehensive plan once again is not complete or, to be specific, the land-use section of the plan is hung up. The comprehensive plan was submitted several years ago, but we were told to wait on the land-use section because the City wanted to hold off its approval until a study was completed on the Governor Road corridor. The study is done (and available at our website), but there is no money to complete the road to connect with San Juan Boulevard (at an estimated cost of more than $10 million). So the hang-up now is that the Planning Department removed our submission “due to lack of action by the property owners.” Placing us, therefore, firmly between bureaucracy and a lousy economy. We will work on that situation during 2010. MNAC, however, has been a good conduit for useful information which gets posted on our neighborhood website. We have received updates from the Mayor on the waterfront development and on City services, on public health issues from the County’s taskforce, and on crime prevention from the Bellingham Police Department.

For more information, check out MNAC’s website, government/public/boards-commissions/neighborhood

Status of Rental Housing Licensing in Bellingham

The licensing of rental housing would bring the last of Bellingham’s “businesses” under the control of the City for reasons having to do

primarily with the health and welfare of renters. Single-family home rental properties are not currently required to be registered, licensed or

inspected. The most recent City Council meeting on rental housing licensing was on December 7, 2009 — over a year after the Council’s staff study on the subject was available in draft form.

At the December meeting, the City Council decided to ask its legislative policy analyst to look into the development of a rental licensing law which would include self-certification by landlords and a possibility of inspection on a complaint-only basis.

Given the City Council’s workload in the early part of 2010, further consideration of a licensing law will likely not take place until March at the earliest.

Samish Neighborhood is Online

Looking for the latest on neighborhood news? Want to voice your opinion on trails, roads, recipes and more? Now you can at: The Samish Neighborhood Association website went online in September,

hanks to a City grant to help neighborhood communications. You’ll find recent news from the City and our neighborhood association, links to government representatives, comprehensive plans, photos and documents like the recent draft of City’s Governor Road Alignment Study. What’s more exciting is a forum where enrolled members can exchange ideas and information.

To access the website, go to or search for Samish Neighborhood online. Clicking on photos on the top bar will take you to News & Events, SNA, Links, Photos or the Forum. On the left column of the page are hotlinks to email SNA, sign up for the newsletter, search the website or go immediately to recent posts. Photos can be submitted by emailing the webmaster at

The forum is open to anyone, but to post comments on the forum, you must be a registered member. To receive a password or to sign in, click on the “Not signed in (Sign In)” link on the upper right-hand corner of the page. You will then be asked to enter your username and password or to apply for membership. A password will be emailed to you within a day.

Please check out our website and take advantage of this great resource.

Get to Know Your Neighbors

By Kincaid Davidson, Samish Neighborhood Resident

Here on Samish Hill, we are blessed with having a large population of the most fierce night-time predators known, the Great Horned Owl, Bubo virginianus. These birds are about 22 inches long and can weigh as much as five pounds. Like most owls, they eat their prey whole or in pieces and then regurgitate unwanted parts in the form of pellets. By studying the pellets, scientists can determine the diet of the owls. The diet of the Great Horned Owl consists mostly of small mammals such as squirrels, rabbits, rats, mice and, yes, even skunks. They will also eat snakes, lizards and even other birds.

The Great Horned Owl is easy to identify as they are so big, have piercing yellow eyes and two tufts of feathers on their heads which look like horns. They are very vocal and during January and February, their mating season, they can be heard hooting back and forth to each other. Right now, in early morning or early evening, you can hear them in most parts of our neighborhood. From our deck, Ginny and I have seen as many as five Great Horned Owls at the same time. When flying, they make no noise and their prey usually has no idea what is about to happen. Great Horned Owls can be found all over North and South America. They adapt easily and can be found in forests, farmland, cliffs and low mountain areas. On Samish Hill, as development occurs, the owls appear to move more into the forested areas. Perhaps this explains why we see more Great Horned Owls recently than when we first moved here. If you haven’t heard the Great Horned Owls living in our neighborhood, drive up to 40th St., park south of Mill St. around 4 pm., walk along 40th St. and listen.

SNA Board Nominations

Needed for 2010-12 Term

Yes, it’s that time of year again when we look to our fellow Samish Neighborhood residents for good-natured, hard-working and energetic volunteers to serve on the Samish Neighborhood Association Board of Directors.

There will be at least two vacancies that need to be filled, so there are twice the opportunities to be elected. Terms of office are two years, but they fly by due to the behind-the-scenes camaraderie, teamwork and collaboration that minimize the workload for everyone.

We meet at 7 p.m. on the second Tuesday of every month at the Community Baptist Church at 810 S. Samish Way next to the Elks Lodge.

Here is your opportunity to work with enthusiastic colleagues and be involved in helping plan the future growth in our neighborhood, as well as addressing neighborhood issues to ensure we maintain the quality of life we have now and for future generations. We work collaboratively with developers, city planners and property owners in ensuring that your interests are represented. Please consider nominating yourself or a neighbor (with her/his permission, of course!) and contact April Markiewicz at or call 734-4498. Elections will be held at our annual meeting on March 17 at the Elks Lodge at 710 S. Samish Way.

Nominations from the floor, with consent of nominee, will be accepted prior to the vote.

April Markiewicz, Steve Hood,

Joe Carpenter

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 any issues of concern to you. Your dues also enable us to provide informative newsletters to you by postal mail twice a year. You can also sign up at our Web site to check out the latest SNA news, meeting minutes and neighborhood forum discussions. Your email is not required and is used only for SNA-related matters.

Please feel free to contact April Markiewicz at or 734-4498 if you have any questions or to confirm your membership status.

Posted 8 years, 11 months ago at 3:56 PM.

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