Call to Action – City of Bellingham Injects Itself into Local Politics

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CALL TO ACTION

Oct. 1, 2015
Alert on 2 meetings Monday night —
Charter Amendments & Ferndale issues
 Please be aware of a SPECIAL MEETING of Bellingham City Council at 7 p.m. Monday night, Oct. 5 — a public hearing on whether City Council should support or oppose 4 Whatcom County Charter Amendments that are on the November ballot.Charter Proposition 1 proposes a return to district-only voting.  Because we currently allow countywide voting on County Council positions, in the last election Bellingham voters chose who would represent county residents — overriding the majority vote of actual rural residents.  A shift back to district-only voting was proposed to change that.

Charter Proposition 9 was then put on the ballot by County Council, to create 5 county districts (instead of 3).  Two would be in Bellingham, and 2 would be at-large positions chosen by the biggest voting block, which is usually Bellingham.  The “yes” argument is that everybody gets a district, creating more specific representation.  The “no” argument is that this won’t create better representation, because all County Council members still will be voted on countywide, giving Bellingham voters control over the entire county, and because this plan essentially gives Bellingham a 4-3 majority (2 city districts and 2 at-large positions) even if district-only voting is approved.

Charter Proposition 2 makes it difficult for Council to propose any charter amendment that would overturn a charter provision voters have approved by a two-thirds vote.

Charter Proposition 3 makes it difficult for Council to change rules for their own election by proposing any ordinance that would modify those rules, as spelled out in Charter Sections 2.12 and 2.13.

Please SHOW UP and COMMENT on Monday — about the proposals, or about the appropriateness of Bellingham City Council taking a stance in the first place.

Ferndale – Monday, Oct. 5

Monday’s City Council meeting will include measures affecting our members in Ferndale. Some of these may please you:

  • Public hearing on changes in Ferndale’s program to defer impact fee payments, to come into compliance with this year’s new state law.  The city had allowed deferral of half of impact and connection fees until final inspection.  How it will allow deferral on all such fees, they will vest to the amounts in place at the time of deferment, and must be paid within 18 months of building permit issuance. This isn’t required until next September; Ferndale is taking the lead to get an early start.
  • Public hearing on an amendment to city Municipal Code creating a five-year vesting period for recorded short plats, similar to the vesting period for long subdivisions. Planning Commission has recommended approval.
  • Public hearing on language allowing Low Impact Development stormwater methodology, and establishing minimum parking lot dimensional requirements. Planning Commission recommended approval.

You can see the proposals at https://ferndale.civicweb.net/Documents/DocumentList.aspx?ID=8179 .  Click on the committee agenda items for 9-30-15.

Thanks,
BIAWC Staff

 

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