Samish Neighborhood Association

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SNA Minutes 2013-06

Samish Neighborhood Association Meeting

June 13, 2013  Community Baptist Church

Meeting called to order by President Carpenter.

Board members present: Joe Carpenter, Tom Roehl, Steve Abell, Garey Vodopich, Dick Conoboy, Brian Benjamin, Kevin Probasco, Junga Subedar, Edward Alexander

Board members absent:  Don Hale (excused), Christopher Morrison, Suneeta Eisenberg (excused)

Guests: David Bruner, Cynthia Jensen, Rick Grube, Alexis Miller, Tom Read, plus others who did not get to sign attendance sheet, total of about 18 guests

Public Comments: Iris Metzgen-Ohlswager, Community College Initiative Advisor, International Programs, Whatcom Community College told us that WCC is looking for residents to host exchange students. She handed out information. There is a qualification process, and a $575 stipend is available to cover some costs. Anyone interested should contact her at (360) 383-3247 or

President’s Announcements: None

Heather Higgins, of the Bellingham Public Works Department, gave us a presentation describing the city’s mandatory water metering project and answered questions from the audience. State law requires all municipal water customers to have metered service by 2017. In Samish, there are 95 in-ground boxes to be installed and 1034 new meters. Newly installed meter readings will not be used to figure bills until next year. This work will begin at the end of June and is scheduled to be finished in Samish by October. We were alerted to the fact that the City Council approved a steady increase in water rates from now to 2018. The net result of this programmed increase will be about a 30% increase in the water portion (not the charges for sewer, storm water, or Lake Whatcom fee, each of which may rise at different rates) of city utility bills between now and 2018. Heather can be contacted at Public Works if you have questions.

Old business:

Meeting minutes from May, 2013 were approved.

Treasurer’s report: $69 in dues came in; $83.40 will be paid to Tiger Technologies, the web host for our website, to renew our website for another year.  Available funds as of June 13 are $2,096.39.

Dick reviewed the status of the Ambling Development proposal for University Ridge. All new document filings are now posted on the city website. A link to this site is on the Samish website, The developers are utilizing consolidated process so the entire project including the height variance, the design review, and critical areas review is under consideration at the same time. The public comment period is open through June 25 for having comments considered by the Planning Department while they prepare their report for the Hearing Examiner. Comments sent after June 25 and prior to the date (not yet set, but likely will be in August or September) for the hearing before the Hearing Examiner will be available to the Examiner. SEPA review will occur at a date not yet set. Junga, Edward, Tom, Steve, and Dick have composed a draft of a letter detailing the neighborhood’s concerns regarding the Ambling proposal. It is nearly in final form. It will be signed by Joe and submitted to Kathy Bell in the city Planning Department via hand-delivered paper copy plus email in time to meet the June 25th deadline.

Dick reported that nothing of substance came up at the last MNAC meeting. He also suggested that having nothing of substance come up is a statement about the current state of MNAC. Minutes are available on the city website.

New business:

After a brief discussion, a motion was made to cancel the July meeting. We normally do this because summer vacation schedules tend to interfere with attendance. The motion was approved unanimously.

We reviewed proposed revisions to our by-laws. Steve sent out a draft version including revisions for removal of a board member for cause, a new schedule for annual dues collection on April 1st instead of throughout the year, plus a number of minor cosmetic changes. Significantly, this change would stipulate that all memberships expire on April 1st, and if non-members join at the picnic the membership would only be valid until April 1st of the following year. Members would be given a two-month grace period after April 1st during which payment of dues would restore full membership status. The current by-laws permit the board to approve by-law revisions by 2/3 vote after notification of the membership allows time for them to make comments pro or con to board members. A suggestion that approval should come from a full membership vote came from the audience. We discussed this, which would first require the board to vote on changing the by-laws to require a simple majority of the full membership in attendance at a business meeting to change the by-laws. Tom suggested that since board members are elected by the membership to represent them in decisions, and the current requirement of a 2/3 vote to approve is a relatively high bar, a full membership vote should not be required. Steve will draft appropriate language for this change and we’ll discuss the merits again.

We will need to begin putting the September newsletter together in order to get it out in time for the picnic on Sunday, September 8. We anticipate having articles covering the Ambling development, mandatory water metering program, and update of the by-laws. We hope Greg McCracken will consent to be the editor with the provision that all content will come from the current board.

Our last membership drive just before the September 2012 picnic was so successful we will consider doing it again. One thing we learned during the last drive was that many members let their memberships lapse without realizing it, and when we gently told them this they were quite willing to renew.

Meeting adjourned.

Steve Abell



Posted 5 years, 8 months ago at 10:39 PM.

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