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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Let's Do the Time Warp Again

Happy belated birthday to us!

I was thinking that somebody (preferably David) ought to write a year-end retrospective about all of the de-planning that's gone on in Whatcom County in 2011.

And I thought to myself, when did David start this blog?

The answer is:  October  16, 2011 So we missed our own birthday.  And I would point out that nobody threw us a party.

What really caught my eye, though, was the very first comment on this very first blog entry.

What has changed in the year-plus since then?

  • The County still has an "emergency" windpower moratorium.
  • The County Council keeps approving development that chips away at our agricultural base.
  • Wetlands and trees destroyed, with nobody there to stop it and just a little fine and stop-work order. . . .hmmm. . . .did SSA use this comment as a how-to manual for its illegal clearing at Cherry Point?  
  • Caitac -- well, Caitac got its upzone at the last County Council meeting, but anyone who thinks it's all over now, please raise your hand.  Don't see any hands. 
Since Whatcom County appears to be caught in a time warp,  maybe this will do the job as our year-end retrospective: an excerpt from the comment that "Whatcom Rural Citizen for 30 Years" wrote on October 16, 2010.


I have lived/farmed in rural Whatcom County for 30 years. It is so heartbreaking to watch everyone talk about avoiding sprawl; we have meetings and meetings to come up with zoning laws and long term land-use plans in order to protect the AG lands and our rural character; but then exception after exception is made by the Council and we watch the continued sprawl creep over our rural lands. Some developers know that enforcement is non-existent so they roar in and knowingly break the laws. A fine and a little stop-work order won't put the trees and wetlands back after they destroy them. So a few neighbors complain, the developer gets a little fine and maybe a delay but those wetlands and trees are already gone now and noone at the zoning department saw what was there before. So it works out way better for the developer to trash it first and deal with the problems later.

I remember attending the first public rezone meetings for the Caitac property a long time ago. David Syre of the Trillium Corp. was very involved in it then. So many people turned out and look at Cordata now. City! . . .

Then to top it off, the Council puts an EMERGENCY moratorium on Wind Generators to stop community owned wind energy projects! My goodness, it's a true emergency! A windmill might ruin our County! But rezoning and clustering our County to death with more unneeded houses and shopping areas with a tourist hotel is exactly what we need!

We live in such a special place and I watch this insanity while the sprawl continues. The County government announces it is cutting over 100 jobs because we are low on funds. But remember- Growth is good for our economy! Yeah! Right!

I don't really have an uplifting conclusion for this blog.  So I'll just end it.  Happy New Year!

11 comments:

  1. That is a touching comment.

    I can't find any information about the public hearing Thursday night. Any chance someone could post a few comments about it?

    Thanks.

    Mary

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  2. The Planning Commission hearing?

    Well -- I didn't attend. I've heard that the Planning Commission voted unanimously to -- do something. Keep Cherry Point in the Birch Bay program, I guess. But I'm not sure whether that means that ALL of Cherry Point (including property outside of the Birch Bay watershed) is included, or if it's just property within the Birch Bay watershed.

    I've also heard that the matter was held over. I hear that the record is open until January 12th and a vote will be taken on January 26th. I believe that there will be a public hearing on the 26th.

    Anybody who attended -- help?

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  3. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

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  4. Ah... a humor column!

    It seems Ag is only important when it serves a political need. Not one word here about the hunderds of acres of designed Ag lands of long term commercial significance included inside the city UGAs in the last Comp. Plan process even as heavily developed lands fully served with sewer and water with existing build out at 4 units to the acre were removed and designated 10 acre farm lands.

    When David and Dean and the rest "sued" Ferndale they complained about land designated rural to the north being included in the UGA but said not one word about the 100 or so acres of designated Ag lands of long term significance included inside the growth areas in the southern portion of the city UGAs. I guess that is why they got their posteriors kicked by the hearings board on the ag issue.

    Phil is a bit wrong. Pride and politics always trumps fact and good planning approaches in Whatcom County's planning efforts. Nothing has changed on that for more than a decade.

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  5. As we always say, Jack, you really need to get your own blog. You could call it "Jack's Revisionist History."

    I'm working on a memorial tribute for Dean Martin this morning, so your implication that Dean didn't care about agriculture in Whatcom County is particularly unwelcome.

    If you really want to take on the role of "defender of ag lands in Whatcom County," you know how to file your own Hearings Board petitions. Make your arguments there and see how well they fly.

    In the meantime, at least until after Dean's memorial service tomorrow, please go away.

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  6. Here is some info re: the meeting on Thursday courtesy of the Salish Land Policy Solutions and the Coal Trains Facts site:

    http://www.coaltrainfacts.org/docs/SLPS-Memo-reporting-Planning-Commission-Hearing-Dec-8-2011.pdf

    I did go to the meeting but I could only stay a couple of hours so I did not stay until it was over. There was a pretty good turnout of concerned local residents wanting to comment and ask questions. From the pdf posted at Coal Train Facts, it looks like the proposed amendments that would have addressed some of the concerns the community has were not adopted. Public comment period has been extended, so it's still important that we submit our comments.

    In summation, it was great to hear from so many people in the community who are concerned, but also very unsettling that the amendments were not adopted. Hard to know what is going to happen next. It becomes more apparent to me each day that passes that we need to stay as involved as possible because this is not a clear, straightforward, or transparent process.

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  7. I should add, Happy Birthday to this blog! I wish I had been reading it from the first day that you started it! Keep up the good work, you two. :)

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  8. David and Jean,

    I am truly sorry about the death of your friend. It was untimely and sad.

    Frankly, it never occured to me that Dean's memorial had not already been held. I had no idea it was this weekend and was simply responding to one of your posts which, as it happened, was unfortunate in terms of its timing.

    I understand the sensitivity on your part given the timing of the blog so near to today's event and I am sorry to have caused you pain.

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  9. No, Jack, it really was the timing of your post that was unfortunate. But thank you for the first sentence and the last phrase of the last sentence. They, at least, were gracious.

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