January 21, 2014

Mickey McDiarmid prepared an agenda and Hank Bledowski led the meeting in the absence of a chair-person.

Mickey McDiarmid moved to approve the October 15th SNA Meeting minutes; Hank Bledowski seconded – minutes were approved.

Hank Bledowski, treasurer, reported that the SNA has $611 and change in the newly renamed West Edge Credit Union.

Patrick McKee reported on the DOT site at 510 East Sunset Drive:

He sent a letter (below) to Mayor Kelli Linville on January 17, 2014

January 17, 2014

 To: Mayor Linville

 Cc City Council, Sunnyland Board

 Dear Mayor Linville,

 On July 23, 2012, the City Council voted to place a Sunnyland Neighborhood Plan amendment on the annual docket for review during the 2012-2013 docket period. According to City code, the first requirement to consider before an amendment can be placed on the docket is : “Does the Planning Dept. have the resources and staff time to process the amendment during the following year?” The Planning Dept. told the Planning Commission and the City Council that they had the resources and staff to process the Sunnyland amendment in the 2012-2013 docket period.

 Shortly after the Sunnyland amendment was placed on the docket by the City Council, I called the Planning Dept. and asked for the name of the staff member who was working to process our amendment. I was told that no one was assigned and I would be notified when a staff member was chosen. It is now January 2014. Last week, I spoke with Senior Planner Greg Aucutt and asked him for a date on which the Planning Commission would consider the Sunnyland amendment. Aucutt said he didn’t know when,

 As far as I can determine, the Planning Dept. has done nothing to process the Sunnyland amendment. Planning Director Jeff Thomas is ignoring the 2012 City Council vote to docket and the Municipal Code which lays out how Neighborhood Plan Amendments are to be considered. Mr. Thomas is simply making up his own rules.

 Mayor Linville, I am asking you to step in here and instruct your staff to comply with City Law. I would like a Planning Commission hearing on the Sunnyland amendment scheduled by March 31, 2014. The Sunnyland Neighborhood Association is entitled by law to a hearing.


Patrick McKee

2801 Grant St, 98225

Patrick spoke with Gene Knutson the Ward 2 representative (Ward 2 includes the north half of the Sunnyland neighborhood – the south half is in Ward 3) and asked why a hearing before the Planning Commission had not taken place. Mr. Knutson’s response was “maybe early this year (2014)”. Mayor Linville also indicated that a hearing should have taken place.

Greg Aucutt said that a re-write of the Infill Tool kit was in process and needed to be finalized before the Sunnyland amendment would be considered. Patrick thought this was unreasonable since there is no assurance that the City Council would approve the re-write and that there is no timeline for the toolkit re-write completion. Patrick reiterated his assertion that Bellingham Municipal Code requires that once an amendment is on the docket a hearing must occur and was concerned that the infill tool kit re-write may include more than single family detached zoning and this would be a change to the current language. Patrick stated that he had sent the (above) letter asking the Mayor to step in.

For more information about the Sunnyland amendment see:


Judith Green attended the meeting and suggested that the Sunnyland Neighborhood Association should update the e-mail list in order to facilitate communication of important issues among neighbors. She suggested compiling e-mail addresses from previous meeting attendance lists and other neighborhood public meetings. Door to door canvassing of neighbors was proposed and Scott Roberts suggested that  once a hearing is scheduled for the DOT site this would be an appropriate time for the door to door effort.

Both Mickey McDiarmid and David Rogers indicated that the Sunnyland Neighborhood Association website:  (http://www.sunnyland.org/) now has the capability for neighbors to add their names and e-mail addresses to a distribution list to receive the latest information regarding our neighborhood.

Patrick McKee reported that the Mayors Neighborhood Advisory Commission had met in the previous week however the Mayor was sick and did not attend.

We discussed updating the SNA meeting announcement signboards to include the accurate website address. Polly Gilbert offered to find out what this would cost and report back to the board.

David Rogers discussed ideas to improve the SNA website including; links to facebook and our google group, adding photos, and combining pages to reduce redundancy. Also links to neighborhood events e.g., the Sunnyland stomp and neighborhood businesses. Mickey McDiarmid suggested archiving some of the website material, having it still be accessible, but only displaying recent issue information. An accurate list of current board members was also an issue that needed attention on the website.

Neighborhood projects were discussed including: Additional painting of Sunnyland school and the possibility of using Puget Sound Energy transmission poles for an art project. Mickey McDiarmid has promoted the latter idea after seeing a similar project in Victoria, BC. Doug Couvelier mentioned that he had contacted PSE about this idea and that he would be proposing a pilot project this spring.

The next meeting was tentatively scheduled for March 4th with additional meetings scheduled for June 17th and October 21st.

In attendance were: Racquel Arceo, David Rogers, Doug Couvelier, Polly Gilbert, Pat McKee, Judith Green, Mickey McDiarmid, Hank Bledowski, and Scott Roberts.

The meeting adjourned at 8:20.

Please send additions or corrections to these minutes to Doug Couvelier dougcq511@aol.com .

Open House #2 – Alabama Corridor Project (March 5, 2014)

Note: this is copied from the original document.

To: Roosevelt, Sunnyland, Lettered Streets, Silver Beach, and Alabama Hill Neighborhoods
From: Chris Comeau, AICP, Transportation Planner
Topic: Alabama Street Corridor Multimodal Safety Improvements
Post Date: February 18, 2014
Meeting Date: Wednesday, March 5, 2014

In 2011, Alabama Street was identified as having more vehicle collisions than any other street in Whatcom County besides Guide Meridian (SR 539). In 2012, Bellingham received over $1.4 million in federal safety grant funds to study (Phase 1; 2012-2014) a range of safety improvements along Alabama Street from Cornwall Avenue to St. Clair Street and then to construct the preferred alternative identified from the study

(Phase 2; 2015). The project goal is to reduce vehicle collisions and improve safety and mobility for all users (pedestrian, bicycle, transit, auto, freight) along the Alabama corridor, consistent with Bellingham’s citywide Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plans.

Public Works Engineering and Operations staff have been working with Bellingham Fire, Emergency Medical Services, and Police; Whatcom Transportation Authority (WTA), Whatcom Council of Governments (WCOG), and Fehr & Peers transportation consultants since September 2012 to analyze alternatives. The analysis is complete and will be presented at Open House #2 from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 5, 2014 in the Roosevelt Elementary School cafeteria. This will be an opportunity for the public and business owners to see the major alternatives that we examined in depth, ask questions, and learn about the public process schedule moving forward.

Following Open House #2, we will publish a Draft Report of Study Findings, present it to the Bellingham Transportation Commission at a public meeting on March 11, 2014, and then to the Bellingham City Council at a public hearing in April 2014 in advance of our annual public process for the City’s 6-Year Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). This will allow Council to adopt the 2014-2019 TIP by June 30 with a defined construction project for Alabama Street. After TIP adoption, Public Works will complete preliminary engineering and design by November 2014, obligate federal construction funds by the end of 2014, and issue bids for construction in early 2015.

A project web page for the Alabama Street Corridor Multimodal Safety Improvements is updated continuously and available at http://www.cob.org/services/planning/transportation/alabama-corridor-study.aspx or www.cob.org and search “Alabama Corridor”.

Please call me directly (360) 778-7946 or email ccomeau@cob.org if you have questions about this project.

October 15, 2013

No agenda was prepared – meeting discussion items are presented as they occurred.

The meeting began with Sally Lubetich and Tom Burkland describing the many opportunities available for folks in Bellingham to become involved with the efforts of the Bellingham Theatre Guild (Guild). The Guild offers tours, volunteer experiences is set painting, production, and of course acting, and is celebrating 85 years as an active theatre group – one of the oldest continuously running on the west coast. They mentioned that both Hillary Swank and Joe Osier have performed at the Guild. Sally and Tom handed out several brochures announcing the upcoming season and a copy of the Fall 2013 newsletter which highlighted the annual Bentley Awards event – the Bellingham Theatre version of the Oscars. Newsletters are available on the Guild website (http://www.bellinghamtheatreguild.com/).

Will Clark, homeowner at 410 E North Street attended the SNA meeting to assure folks that his storage building would eventually match remodeling he has planned for his home. At present the structure measures 10’ x 10’ at the base and is 20 feet tall. When Will inquired about zoning restrictions he was told that the height limit for a storage building is 35’ however, the planning department subsequently advised him that only a 12’ tall structure would be allowed. He assured those present that no electricity or plumbing was planned for the structure. Images below for those of you who haven’t seen the structure.

Clark_2 Clark_1

Denise Rosenstein and Don Yorston attended in order to inform folks that Sun Community Service (SCS) would be opening a support facility for homeless individuals with mental health issues. The new residence, which will be called Greggies house, will be established at 2317 and 2319 Lincoln street and will provide meals, shelter and counseling. SCS staff will be available for four hours every day, with additional volunteer staff present, for the six residents. SCS has provided these services in Bellingham since 1975 at the two current locations. SCS received a grant from the City of Bellingham (COB) in order to open this home and the COB will be paying the operating costs. For more information call Denise at 360-392-1324 or checkout the website at http://suncommunityservice.org/index.html.

A question was asked of those present about how to deal with a neighbor’s barking dogs when the owners are at work all day and no one is home to care for the animals. Suggestions were to contact the Whatcom Humane Society – animal control, the Bellingham Police Department, or contact other nearby neighbors and let the dog owners know of the entire neighborhood concerns.

Patrick McKee summarized the Mayors Neighborhood Advisory Commission (MNAC) meetings for the last several months. Patrick is the alternate MNAC representative and has attended in the absence of Mike Rostron. (http://www.cob.org/government/public/boards-commissions/neighborhood/)

MNAC June Meeting – James King, Director of Bellingham Parks and Recreation, discussed community gardens and involving neighborhood residents to manage and care for them.

- Mark Young, Bellingham Police Department Chief discussed the problems of neighborhood housing and the BPD efforts to minimize problems.

MNAC July Meeting – Darby Cowles discussed downtown zoning, parks, and housing

- Jeff Thomas, Planning and Community Development Department, discussed the University Ridge project which proposes to build four, 5-story student housing units in the Puget neighborhood. This project was approved by the Hearing Examiner on October 23rd, 2013. For further details see  http://www.cob.org/services/planning/neighborhoods/puget-uni-ridge.aspx .

MNAC August Meeting – The MNAC representative accompanied Mayor Kelly Linville on a walking tour of the former Georgia Pacific pulp and paper mill site.

MNAC September Meeting – Ted Carlson, Director Public Works Department, reported that a review will be conducted of all city owned buildings and the former Federal building, at the corner of Cornwall Avenue and Magnolia Street will become the new home of Bellingham Public Works – moving from City Hall.

- Roger Christensen, Chief Bellingham Fire Department, told those in attendance that Whatcom county and the COB had reached a decision regarding joint funding of the county wide Medic One services.

An October 16th MNAC meeting is scheduled.

SNA Treasurer, Hank Bledowski reported that the current SNA account balance, now held by the newly named West Edge Credit Union, is $611.21 before COB reimbursement for expenses incurred for the Sunnyland picnic.

Mike Rostron made a motion to accept the April and June SNA meeting minutes and Scott Roberts seconded the motion. Motion passed.

Mickey McDiarmid asked Board members if they would agree to allow David Rogers access to the SNA website with a User name and Password. David has agreed to clean up and refurbish the website. This was agreed to by all and may have already begun (http://www.sunnyland.org/ ).

The Sunnyland picnic, was held this summer on August 17th , and most of those present felt that while there was good participation and attendance, the picnic did not attract the number of neighbors that was hoped for. Alabama street was thought to be a barrier to attendance and having music might draw more folks. It has not been decided whether another picnic will be held in 2014.

Several money raising events were discussed including: cooking contests, a Sunny land “bite”, a bikeathon, scavenger hunt, talent show, and music festival.

The docketing of the DOT site -ftp://ftp.cob.org/plan/Outgoing/SunnylandCharrette/MAPS%20&%20PHOTOS/DOT%20site%20delineated%20on%20zoning%20map.pdf by the Bellingham City Council was briefly mentioned and the COBs interest in implementing the “in-fill-tool kit was also mentioned as were the existing plans for urban villages that have not moved forward see http://www.cob.org/services/planning/urban-villages/index.aspx .

Patrick McKee advised the Board that the Alabama street project -(http://www.cob.org/services/planning/transportation/alabama-corridor-study.aspx) is on hold due to a lack of engineers to work on Phase 2.

The meeting adjourned at 8:25

10-15-2013 SNA Meeting attendees:

Mickey McDiarmid, David Rogers, Patrick McKee, Don Yorston, Denise Rosenstein, Scott Emory, Scott Roberts, Sally Lubetich, Tom Burkland, Hank Bledowski, Mike Rostron, Polly Gilbert, Will Clark, Ruth                          , Doug Couvelier

Please send additions or corrections to these minutes to Doug Couvelier dougcq511@aol.com .

September 20, 2012

PRESENT: Polly Gilbert, Doug Couvelier, Hank Bledowski, Pat McKee, Mickey McDiarmid, Scott Roberts, Mike Rostron, Brandy Bailey, Devine Pect, Natalie McClendon, John McGarrity, Torhil Ramsey, Suzann Finch, Rich Brown, Kendall Dodd, Rick Nicholson, Jack Weiss, Mart Stewert, Ted Carlson, Kelli Linville
Meeting convened 6:30 p.m.  
Introduction Patrick expressed he had hoped more people would have turned out for the meeting with regards to Mayor being present and other speakers, told short history of neighborhood plan. Introduced Mayor.
Mayor Addresses us Mayor Kelli Linville, shared a bit of her work history with us along with letting us know she’d lived in many neighborhoods throughout Bellingham over the years.The first issue to be addressed and the biggest challenge for her is the budget. Has to find a way to equal the revenues and the expenditures. Her concerns include making capital improvements, sustaining infrastructure and assuring services – health welfare for the employees.Next issue on her agenda was the Chief Administrator position. She feels the heads of the departments are good at their jobs and should be able to function as a group to replace this position.


Questioned about the idea of having one Public Safety Officer for Police and Fire. She said it had been done in other cities, that she felt it was worth looking into but that probably it wouldn’t happen in Bellingham.


Fielding a question about the library – Mayor Linville said there will be no cuts in 2013 or 14, she is looking for information on what level of services will be provided, before any decision on whether to commit to renovating the building or building on a new site. She stated she was very committed to the library. There are no capital funds currently available as they went towards Children’s museum.


Question from the floor regarding building the town and WesternWashington University relationships. The Mayor felt there were some bridges that could be made in economic development / investments, thought more internship programs and public service was something needed.

The mayor suggested there had been some discussion of a proposed experimental public TV station involving Western. She felt there was a good relationship between county and WWU with research regarding Lake Whatcom and environmental programs.

Didn’t address housing complaints.


Dream for the Waterfront – Mayor replied clean and public access is essential. She stated she did not want to over develop waterfront and make an orphan of downtown. Mentioned some complications regarding the railroad. Her goal is development of old town first, then the downtown then waterfront. The mayor stated she was 100% supportive of restoring old buildings downtown before building new ones. Wants to use the Federal building as it is sitting empty and is costly.

Ted Carlson – Public Works director Alabama project was initiated by a funding opportunity concerning safety improvements. 1st phase study access management, that includes turning, restricting lanes, how changes might impact WTA Go-Line.  It may be that sections of Alabama will have varying impacts and may mean different solutions in different sections. There are 22,000 cars a day on Alabama between Woburn and James St. There has been an outside consultant hired to do the assessments. Speed limit will be evaluated in conjunction with various physical alternative improvements.There will be public Stakeholder meetings (not neighborhood mtgs) where options will be discussed. Most likely starting in November. By February they will be in the design phase after selecting an option and 2014 will be implementation.
WTA representative Rick Nicholson 850 users travel on Alabama between Woburn and Cornwall each day using the Gold Line, the most used bus route in the city. Last year 619,000 riders used this line. It runs every 15 minutes and is responsible for 13% of total bus travel. WTA has concerns that schedules are coordinated for connections and if that is changed they could lose customers. If people stop taking bus this may increase car travel on Alabama. Safety is a high priority for WTA as well.One option is a pass lane for buses another option would be the “skip stop” where every other bus alternates stops. Reducing each bus to half the stops but riders can opt to walk to next stop if they want earlier bus. 10-12% total cost is covered by bus passes.
Meeting adjourned  8:30 pm