Samish Neighborhood Association

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SNA Minutes 2014-04

Samish Neighborhood Association Meeting

April 10, 2014, Community Baptist Church

 Meeting called to order by President Carpenter at 7:05 PM.

Board members present: Joe Carpenter, Steve Abell, Garey Vodopich, Dick Conoboy, Don Hale, Brian Benjamin, Junga Subedar, Nikki Long (new board member elected tonight)

Board members absent: Tom Roehl, Suneeta Eisenberg, Kevin Probasco

Guests: Hollie Moe, Edward Alexander

Public Comments: Hollie Moe gave us a presentation on goals and programs of her organization, The Volunteer Center Of Whatcom County (formerly Whatcom Volunteer Center), including the House 2 Home program that they support and administer. House 2 Home accepts furniture and other limited donations and will make pickups only if the donation can be placed immediately. Details on the organization, its programs, and how to offer your services as a volunteer can be found on their website,, or by calling 360 734-3215.

President’s Announcements: none

Old business:

Meeting minutes from February and March were approved.

Treasurer’s report and discussion: Dues payments deposited by April 1 $1,052; spring newsletter (1382 copies mailed out) cost $934.50 (sharp increase from last year); March general business meeting expenses $100; Available funds as of March 31, 2014 were $1,679.83. Report was approved.

Brian will look into finding a lower cost from other printers. We also discussed using postcards for one of our mailings, but the last time we looked into this it was found to be not a significant cost reduction, and the amount of neighborhood news and information that would fit on a postcard is limited. The Board will be challenged to keep membership (and dues payments) up if we want to maintain our two-per-year newsletter mailings. We will accept half-year dues at our fall picnic in September. This will maintain our objective of moving all members to an annual April 1 to April 1 dues payment schedule.

MNAC update: Dick will continue to send email updates on MNAC activities but this item will be deleted from our regular meeting agenda. Dick or Kevin will report at meetings when there is something of interest for Samish Neighborhood.

The city’s annual document request was fulfilled in early March. Steve will update the documents for new board members and election of officers and send them to the city (Vanessa Blackburn in the Mayor’s office). We have applied for our annual $500 reimbursement from the city to cover Association communications to our Samish residents. This will help to cover future costs of newsletters.

University Ridge termination: The city has received official word from Ambling University Development that it is abandoning the University Ridge student housing project. There may be other projects that the landowner, the Hawley family, may bring in later, but this land will be very difficult to build on no matter who tries. We will keep watching for future proposals. We’re not opposed to development, but it must be consistent with the guidelines presented in our neighborhood plan. Specifically, it should be compatible with the overall single family residential nature of Samish.

New business:

General meeting update: We had a good turnout for our annual spring business meeting at the Elk’s Lodge on March 20. Forty-four individuals signed in, and we collected an encouraging number of new and renewal dues.

We reviewed the rental housing letter that was sent to City Council members on November 30, 2009, in which we heartily endorsed regulation of rental units and recommended changing the classification of occupancy code infractions from criminal to civil. This would give the city more options to enforce  violations of the 3 unrelated persons rule. To update this letter we would consider adding stronger language endorsing a licensing and periodic inspection program, although support for a program such as this does not appear to have unanimous board member support. We tabled this until a later meeting. Dick will put together some new wording for discussion.

The issue of drainage problems due to uphill development came up. A number of residents, including a few board members, cited water runoff problems that occurred right after home construction was finished just uphill from their property. Areas in yards and even within structures became wet when no water problems had been observed before. This may require a city building code change to correct. We tabled this discussion until a future meeting, noting that getting a code change made would be a monumental undertaking probably requiring years of persistent effort.

Garey brought up another neighborhood problem. The timing of trash pickup by Sanitary Service Company (SSC) has changed, at least on 34th Street. Recyclables are being picked up earlier, which requires some residents who don’t get up early to put their bins out the night before the pickup. SSC will not pick up trash that’s not in one of their containers, so if high winds occur during the night, trash can get blown around the street, making a mess. We’re not sure what a solution to this might be, and Garey told us that SSC is not particularly interested in helping.

Other problem issues brought up included an elderly resident who chooses to feed raccoons in her yard, to the consternation of close neighbors; a flag flown at the south end of 34th Street that some residents or visitors may find offensive, making Samish less attractive; an ongoing problem with pet waste not being disposed of properly, leaving little plastic bags around the neighborhood. What neighbors choose to do lawfully on their own property is most likely beyond our control. There may be provisions in the city code limiting the use or height of flagpoles in residential neighborhoods that could be used to reduce the visibility of the flag. One possible solution to the pet waste problem would be to put some collection bins around the neighborhood. These containers would need to be maintained/emptied regularly, and we might be able to get some help from the city on this, especially if the containers could be placed on a city-maintained trail.

We discussed advantages of a neighborhood library box as a way to make our neighborhood more user-friendly. We don’t know if the city would help with this, and the placement of such a box may not be a simple exercise. We tabled this discussion also. (The table is filling up.) Such a box can be seen on James Street just south of E. Illinois, and maybe in other parts of the city. We might be able to get advice from the neighborhood that put this box in place.

Elections: Nikki Long, attending as a guest, expressed interest in becoming a board member. There being a quorum present, she was then nominated and elected unanimously to a vacant two-year term. We now have eleven board members. A slate of officers was nominated and elected for 2014-2015. These include Don Hale, President; Tom Roehl, Vice President; Steve Abell, Secretary; and Brian Benjamin, Treasurer. The board members thank Joe Carpenter for his two years of service as president, and welcome his continuing presence on the board.

September 14, the second Sunday after Labor Day, was chosen as the date for our fall picnic at Lake Padden Park. Steve will make the reservation at the city Parks & Recreation Board.

Meeting adjourned.

Steve Abell, Secretary


Posted 4 years, 10 months ago at 9:23 AM.

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March 2014 Annual Meeting

Samish Neighborhood Association Meeting
March 20, 2014, Elks Lodge

 Annual Association business meeting called to order by President Carpenter at 7:07PM.

Board members present: Joe Carpenter, Tom Roehl, Steve Abell, Garey Vodopich, Don Hale, Brian Benjamin, Suneeta Eisenberg, Kevin Probasco

Board members absent: Dick Conoboy, Christopher Morrison, Junga Subedar, Edward Alexander

Guests: 44 individuals signed in to this meeting. Guests included Mr. Dan Robbins, Port Commissioner, and Mr. Randy Vanderheiden, Interim Emergency Management Director for the Bellingham Fire Department.

Public Comments: A representative of Sustainable Connections gave a short presentation on the Community Energy Challenge, which offers Bellingham residents an opportunity to get en energy audit of their homes at a greatly reduced price. If the homeowner desires, this could be followed by help from the Challenge to implement some or all of the energy efficient modifications developed in the audit.

Mr. Robbins outlined current status and plans for the Waterfront Development Project ongoing in the city. Mr. Vanderheiden provided suggestions for how to prepare our homes and families for a catastrophic emergency, such as an earthquake or other natural disaster. More advice and specific recommendations are available at Perhaps the item that most people underestimate their need for is water. The guideline is a gallon of potable water per person per day, with enough to last at least three days.

President’s Announcements: Joe made a few respectful comments about the passing of Glen Hallman. Glen served Samish Neighborhood over many years on the Board of Directors and provided strong support to neighborhood projects and goals.

Old business: With participation of several board members in the audience, Joe gave a brief summary of the status of the Ambling University Ridge project (seems to be dead at this time) and the Lincoln St. development for students and families that is ongoing. Ground has been cleared, but no construction has begun. Details are available in the Spring Newsletter, and can be viewed on the website.

New business: A quorum of members in good standing was present. Election of board members was conducted. Board members whose terms were expiring at the general meeting, including Don Hale, Suneeta Eisenberg, Dick Conoboy, Garey Vodopich, and Steve Abell, were nominated and re-elected to two-year terms by unanimous vote of the membership. Joe made a plea to all attendees to think seriously about joining the board. Unfortunately there were no nominations from the floor. We now have ten board members, and would benefit greatly by having several more, up to a maximum of 15.

Refreshments paid for by the Association were available before the meeting. We are grateful to the Elks Lodge for allowing us to use their meeting room at no cost to us. They are good neighbors indeed.

Meeting adjourned.

Steve Abell


Posted 4 years, 10 months ago at 10:51 AM.

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