Monday, March 7, 2011

Special Public Hearing on Wednesday

After over a year of "work sessions," the County is finally holding a public hearing on the Rural Element! But I can't spend a lot of time blogging, because the County just posted the changes in zoning that We the People are supposed to discuss on Wednesday evening. That gives us OVER 48 hours to review and prepare comments. How generous!

I hear that it's been like Christmas in at the County Council's work sessions during the past week or two, with goodies for Gold Star, Caitac, Governor's Pointe and other favorite children piled under the tree. It will be interesting to see what the Council's last-minute gift-giving frenzy has produced.

The hearing is at 6:00 on Wednesday, March 9 in Council chambers, 311 Grand Ave. (For the notice, click here.)

The Council will then officially introduce its ordinances and will hold a second public hearing on March 29. As it happens, March 29 is also the deadline for the County to finish the Rural Element. Undoubtedly, the Council will carefully consider public testimony during the several minutes available to it between the close of the hearing and the expiration of its deadline.


  1. Jean, David, all:
    The strategy of Council seems to be to overwhelm ordinary citizens with late-breaking avalanches of documents.

    Could one or more of you with expertise and familiarity with the subject matter please synthesize the issues lurking in these documents? I mean, can you reduce it to key issues in ordinary, pithy English?

    Abe Jacobson
    Baffled in Bellingham

  2. Hi Abe,

    That's exactly the strategy. Invite citizen "input" at hearing #1, on Wednesday, when citizens have -- literally -- 48 hours to review the Council's full proposal. Hearing #2, on March 29, provides more opportunity to figure out what's going on. But of course that hearing is just window dressing, because the Council can vote that same night.

    In a nutshell, the Council is proposing small lots in rural areas -- in some cases, 2 acres (and 1-acre lots for Governors Point, right next to Larrabee State Park!); strip development in some areas, including the Guide, small lots on the shore of Lake Whatcom (so what if it's our drinking water source, it's just infill!), development on floodplains and next to agricultural areas.

    Unfortunately, since there's no analysis, in fact no staff report of any kind to explain the Council's reasoning, I can't quantify this right now. I'm pretty sure that the Council couldn't, either.