Bellingham Planning Commission taking Public Comment on New Chuckanut Metropolitan Park District Rezone

922503336Two public hearings concerning the Chuckanut Community Forest will be held June 27.

The Bellingham Planning Commission will discuss and take public comments on changing the zoning of the entire 82 acres of land to Public:

  • Bellingham Planning Commission Meeting
  • June 27, 2013 @ 7pm
  • Bellingham City Hall

The same evening the Chuckanut Community Forest Park District will be taking comments about their “Mission” and about the “Interlocal agreement” with the City:

  • Chuckanut Community Forest Park District Meeting
  • June 27, 2013 7pm
  • Fairhaven library, Fireside room

Written comments of any length will be accepted until June 27 and can be sent to:

  • CCFPD
  • P.O.Box 4283
  • Bellingham, WA. 98227

For background information about the Chuckanut Community Forest Metropolitan Park District folks can refer to my website,  www.chuckanutcommunityforestMPD.org. In February voters in the district elected to become a Metropolitan Park District.  The ballot measure asked voters only if they wanted a Metropolitan Park District.  While the folks running for seats on the commission campaigned on “pay off the Greenways Endowment loan and get out”, nothing in the ballot requires them to hold to that promise. Therefore, I find it very concerning that they are now asking people in the district what the mission of the park district should be.  Will they now change the game plan due to public comment?  If you live in the district or pay taxes in the district please attend this meeting and let the Commission know your thoughts.

The creation of this Metropolitan Park District and the possible Inter local agreement to pay off the Endowment Loan with the City of Bellingham will cause some significant legal costs for both the District and the City of Bellingham.  For the City of Bellingham to now re-zone this land as public raises some serious concerns with compliance with the Growth Management Act (GMA). The City has been warned of these issues in this March 25, 2013 letter presented to City Council by Doug Robertson.  Likewise, the Metropolitan Park District, being a separate government entity, must comply with the GMA and develop their own Comprehensive Plan for the district; a very costly undertaking!

Opponents to the park district continue to argue that a “tax levy” is not the only method to repay the Greenways Endowment Fund loan.Bill Geyer presents other options to the City Council June 17, 2013. (Comments are at about 9 minutes into the video).

I encourage folks to attend either of these two meetings and let the Commissioners know your opinion.

~ Delaine Clizbe

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