Samish Neighborhood Association

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SNA minutes 2017-10

SNA Minutes October 12, 2017 Meeting

Meeting called to order. Board members present include Steve Abell, Tom Read, Tom Dohman, Kevin Probasco, Nikki Long, and Joe Carpenter. Don Hale, Joy Hale, and Dick Conoboy notified the board of their absence at this meeting. Others present include Shirley Forslof, Izzy Juell, Craig & Barbara Bessire, and Garey Vodopich.

Public Comment: Shirley said she agreed with current proposals allowing Attached Dwelling Units as long as the main residence was owner occupied. She said she was against ‘detached’ units.

ReStore Presentation: Izzy has been meeting with neighborhoods to educate them on the services provided by the ReStore. They engage in deconstruction, job training, accept donations, and re-sell construction material.

BPD Police Report: Officer Eric Osterkamp is in a class on Thursdays and cannot attend meetings at this time.

MNAC Report: Kevin reported a presentation by Bellingham Schools Superintendent Greg Baker. The new ‘Options’ High School is open. There is a new School Bond up for election soon that would fund (4) School Remodels.

Old Business

No minutes for approval for August meeting

Treasurer’s Report: Tom reported a Checking Account Balance of $2,849.04. We currently have 126 paid members. There are, however, 51 members that did not yet renew from the previous year.

Update on Samish Logging: The last logging should be done by October 20th. Tom D. and Steve informed the BOD about the number of trucks exceeding what was previously reported by Janicki Logging. Trucks were freely using 40th & Elwood to get to southbound I-5 despite our request and Janicki’s written commitment to minimize the use of this route. Tom and Steve reached out to Janicki and did not get any information on why these two issues occurred.

September Picnic Review: Low turnout due to poor weather. Try to ensure picnics occur the 1st weekend after Labor Day.

New Business

Our next general meeting will be held Thursday March 15, 2018 at the Elks Lodge on Samish Way. The next board meeting will be November 9 with discussion of STRs (Short Term Rentals) on the agenda.

BOD discussed ADU ordinance and letter to city. Reviewed South Hill Letter, which was similar to our own concerns. Steve will review and edit a letter for BOD to discuss.

Meeting adjourned



Posted 1 year, 4 months ago at 8:50 AM.

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Samish ADU letter 10-20-2017

October 20, 2017

To: Bellingham Planning Commission

From: Samish Neighborhood Association

Copy to: Mayor Linville, Bellingham City Council

Subject: Revisions to the ADU ordinance

Setting aside the area included in Lake Padden Park, and except for a very small amount of residential multi and commercial property, Samish Neighborhood is a residential single neighborhood. This residential single character is what has attracted homebuyers to our neighborhood for many years, and continues to do so. Our neighborhood does not oppose growth but we do not want to sacrifice our neighborhood character in order to grow. Samish residents attracted to the single family residential character of our neighborhood need to have confidence that the investment in their homes and their quality of life will not be degraded by growth-driven changes.

We support attached ADUs (A-ADUs) for existing single family homes consistent with current city code. We see these as both useful and supportive of neighborhood character as long as they are well designed and constructed in a way that blends in with the main house and surrounding houses. We see detached ADUs (D-ADUs) as potential threats to neighborhood character and quality of life in a number of ways. Therefore, we ask that the following requirements and recommendations be considered as the City of Bellingham contemplates revisions in the code governing ADUs.

  • Complete the inventory of existing ADUs. Regardless of how a revised ordinance may be written, the city must have a baseline for how many ADUs exist (including unregistered ones) and their locations. In other words, fully document current ADU density. It makes little sense for the city to revise ADU density regulations without knowing where it started. We believe the city has already set this goal in place. Finish it.
  • Maintain the owner occupancy requirement for properties that include an ADU. Eliminating this requirement would create an “open season” on real estate speculation, particularly by out-of-town landlords who want to turn reasonably priced single family homes with ADUs into rental cash cows. This has no benefits for the long term neighbors surrounding the property and would, in fact, be a giant step toward turning a comfortable family neighborhood into a rental slum. An owner constrained to live in either the main house or the ADU will have a stronger interest in maintaining property appearance and in contributing to community. An absentee landlord will have neither.
  • Ensure adequate provision for parking. Parking seems to be a growing problem in many areas of the city now, especially if the location is close to one of our post-secondary schools. Inadequate on-site parking for additional ADUs is likely to squeeze the vehicles of current residents into fewer and fewer spaces, possibly leading to the inability to find a spot close to one’s home. Streets crowded with parked cars can also interfere with access for emergency and delivery vehicles, raising safety concerns for residents.
  • Maintain the prohibition of D-ADUs in single family neighborhoods. D-ADUs change neighborhood character in ways that are subtle but significant to homeowners. Required minimum lot size in Samish Neighborhood residential single zones is either 12,000 or 20,000 square feet. There is a sense of space and a feeling of openness to our neighborhood that will be increasingly lost as D-ADUs pop up on existing residential single lots. A sense of crowding will replace that feeling of openness. This sense of openness is a large and desirable part of neighborhood character.
  • Develop enforcement procedures that include detection of violations and non-compliance penalties that have teeth. Without enforcement there is no incentive to comply. An example of this is the conversion of moderately priced single family homes into rooming houses for five to eight unrelated persons. The city has chosen not to enforce the current definition of family with regard to housing. As a result, some landlords have no compunction about adding three bedrooms to the basement of a normal three bedroom home and charging $3600 per month rent. Such a house – an otherwise affordable home for an actual middle-income family – has been made out of reach to them.

There is room for growth within Samish Neighborhood. We welcome this but want growth to be consistent with current zoning requirements. Growth that is inconsistent with our single family residential character betrays current residents who bought homes here because they wanted their families to enjoy what they found here. This is true for recently arrived residents as well as those who have lived here for decades.

Samish residents deserve protection from code changes that will lead to the gradual loss of our neighborhood character. Forces within the city that want growth by any means and try to label neighborhoods that resist as exclusionary are simply wrong. The Samish Neighborhood Association, along with many other neighborhood associations in Bellingham, is trying to provide stability and predictability to our residents.


Steve Abell, President
Samish Neighborhood Association

Posted 1 year, 4 months ago at 6:31 PM.

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