Confusion in the Council Chambers

At 9:30 this Tuesday morning, interested parties gathered in the Whatcom County Council chambers to hear about and hopefully comment on radical changes being suggested to our Comprehensive Plan involving the Cherry Point Area.

By 10:30, the council left the council chambers for an Executive Session with the Whatcom County lawyers regarding these very changes.2016_WC_Council

2016-0126 WC Council Mtg 2The chamber full of people waited patiently.

By 11:30 the council had reconvened and with some confusion announced that per the advice of their legal staff, they would vote to pull these amendments from the Comprehensive Plan, refer them back to the Planning Department and re-introduce them at a later time, in order to provide time for public comment. Before they voted, each council-member made a comment on their opinion of the process to date. Councilman Sidhu, began contentiously by stating his displeasure with the public comments he had received to date, and lectured the room on reading proposals before communicating with council-members. Councilwoman Brenner, affirmed that she had read every communication sent to her on the Cherry Point Amendments and only found 2 to have no value. Councilman Weimer, defended the amendments and defended the short notice of the amendments. He stated that they could not bring these amendments forward until the Army Corp of Engineers had stopped the Gateway Terminal Project. Councilman Mann, spoke in support of the amendments with a statement about the United States robbing other countries of their natural resources in the past.

The vote to send the Cherry Point amendments back to the Planning Council passed.

The meeting was then opened to public comment. The public comments made were brief and to the point. It was apparent that those who made comments had not only read the amendments, but had been following the Comprehensive Planning process. All but two comments were firmly against the amendments as written. Two supporters spoke of their dismay the process was taking longer.

The meeting was adjourned by 12:30 and the public went back to work.

Stay tuned for further developments as our Whatcom County Council struggles with their Comprehensive Planning.

~ Lorraine Newman

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