PC takes another hit at marijuana zoning regulations

The Planning Commission was unable to garner enough votes to recommended the draft marijuana zoning rules at our last meeting. The current temporary rules will expire soon and the Council needs to adopt something permanent, but the PC is going to try one more time at tonight’s meeting to get a proposal we can all recommend. There will also be another public hearing. Agenda materials HERE. The meeting begins at 6:30 at the County Annex, NW & Smith Roads.

The Commission will also be reviewing business rules for possible changes. I was elected Chair at our last meeting.

Looking for volunteers to help with Comp Plan youth outreach

The Comprehensive Plan update, which will spell out where we want to go in the next 20 years, and how we want to get there, has a strong public participation requirement. The planning staff will be doing outreach to the usual suspects but they are also expected to reach out to people not usually involved in planning issues. This would involved most of the citizens of Whatcom County, unfortunately, but I am particularly interested in getting some young people involved. It’s their future. In twenty years they will be settling into careers, raising young families, thinking about that second house. Us old folks will be winding down, if not in the ground.
There are a number of things we could do to get input from youth, from general publicity in the schools to class presentations. The limit is only on the amount of time we want to spend. This is something I want to do personally, but I have limited time. I’m looking for others who may be more time and perhaps established connections with the schools, youth organizations, etc. If this interests you, please contact me via email or at the phone number at the bottom of the page.

First work session on Comp Plan update March 12th

Work session regarding Chapter 1 of the Whatcom County Comprehensive Plan, entitled “Introduction and Growth Projections.” Review of Chapter 1 is associated with the periodic update of the Whatcom County Comprehensive Plan and the urban growth area review, which are both required by the Growth Management Act under RCW 36.70A.130.

This work session will be held Thursday, March 12, 2015 at 6:30 p.m. in the Northwest Annex Conference Room, 5280 Northwest Drive, Bellingham. The public is invited to submit written comments and/or attend the work session to provide oral comments. Written comments may be submitted PDS_Planning_Commission@co.whatcom.wa.us

Some other things happening

Ecology seeks input on proposed Bellingham Costco wetlands plan
Whatcom County wins appeal, doesn’t need to restrict rural wells

Next County Council meeting March 3
FULL County Council AGENDA
Planning Commission AGENDA
Planning Commission Meeting Schedule

Marijuana Zoning Fixes on PC Agenda

The Planning Commission will hold a public hearing Thursday, February 12th to amend Whatcom County zoning code on recreational marijuana type uses. The Planing Department has had over six months working with the interim code, and is not proposing some minor modifications to clarify language.  Agenda materials HERE. The meeting begins at 6:30 at the County Annex, NW & Smith Roads.

The Commission will also be electing a new chair and reviewing business rules for possible changes.

Council Appoints Knapp and Oliver to Planning Commission

After postponing their vote on appointing two new members of the Planning Commission for District 1, the Council got a passel of applicants. You can see all the applications HERE starting on page 375. The Council chose Nicole Oliver and Michael Knapp. Oliver works for the City Of Bellingham, including eight years as Communications Coordinator for the Planning Department. Knapp (page 391) has 40 years of experience as an architect and urban planner, including serving as Director of Whatcom County’s Planning & Development Services in the 1990s. They join seven other Commissioners – the list is HERE.

County code enforcement gains new tools for quicker response

PDS Director Sam Ryan had an op-ed published in the Bellingham Herald recently about what’s new at PDS. Read it HERE.

Charter Review Commission Meeting Schedule

Sort of off-topic but who else is going to let folks know when the Charter Review Commission is meeting? Meetings are scheduled on the 2nd and 4th Mondays of the month at 6:30 pm, mostly at the Civic Center Garden Level Conference Room, 322 N. Commercial, Bellingham. But the next meeting, on Feb 23, will be at Lummi Administration Center, 2665 Kwina Road. Find all their business HERE.

Critical Areas Ordinance Update a part of the Comprehensive Plan Update

I focus in these posts on the business before the Planning Commission, but before a lot of things get to the PC, there has been a lot of work done by a lot of other people. One of these documents is the Critical Areas Ordinance. Here’s the schedule for their work this year and next. they will deal with flood issues, wetlands, geohazards, and agricultural lands. They meet on the third Wednesday of each month from 3:30-5:30 pm at the County Annex, NW and Smith Roads. They’d love to have some company.

Next County Council meeting March 3
FULL County Council AGENDA
Planning Commission AGENDA
Planning Commission Meeting Schedule