Comp Plan update Chapter 6 – Transportation

2nd look at Chapter 5 – Utilities

Thursday’s Planning Commission meeting will involve a work session on Chapter 6 of the Whatcom County Comprehensive Plan, titled “Transportation.”  This work session will be held Thursday, May 28, 2015 at 6:30 p.m. in the Northwest Annex Conference Room, 5280 Northwest Drive, Bellingham. We will re-visit this chapter on June 25 to consider edits and try to “put it to bed.” See the calendar, below.

We will also take our second look at Chapter 5 Utilities to consider proposed edits. We have the edits from staff, originally presented last month, and a report from staff and edits from Commissioners. Our main questions on the Utilities Chapter was with the rapidly changing environment for telecommunications, and how the planning goals matched the growing reliance on internet access in all areas, not just urban, for everyday commerce and communication. It seems to me the normal goals of limiting “urban” levels of service to urban areas so as not to promote sprawl does not apply to internet access. The foothills area of the county has long struggled with getting decent internet and cell phone coverage, and also has pockets of low income and under-employed residents who would probably benefit from better internet service. Good internet access could provide better employment opportunities without requiring driving into town.

Last meeting’s work session on housing included a very informative presentation by the consultant hired to create the housing market and needs analysis for this chapter. Unfortunately it is not posted to the website, but I will see if I can get it there. We are scheduled to re-visit the Housing chapter on June 11, but may delay that so we can have time to thoroughly review the consultant’s data and conclusions.

Vacancy for District 3 Planning Commission – Deadline next Tuesday

With the resignation of Commissioner Sam Taylor, who represents District 3, we have a vacancy on the Commission. District 3 is basically everything west of the Guide. Deadline is 10:00 a.m. on June 2, 2015. That’s next Tuesday.  Here’s how to apply.

If it looks like I just substituted new chapter titles from last time, you are not imagining it

Campaign season is upon us, and I’m really busy. And I’m heading out to Yakima for the weekend for my son Zach’s wedding, the first of two sons getting married this summer. And no, neither son has been able to find work in Whatcom County, assuming they even wanted to. But they are close, and they both have good living wage jobs with benefits and have purchased homes by the time they are 30 years old. The very essence of growth is millennials creating new households. So I turned Zach’s wedding into a planning topic.

Handy calendar to keep track of the Comp Plan schedule

I’ve created a google calendar so I can keep track of topics and deadlines for submitting edits for various chapters. You can view it, too HERE. As I have said before, the adopted schedule is subject to change, because we don’t really know how long things will take. I will try to update this calendar as soon as I know of changes.

Comp Plan update Chapter 3 – Housing

2nd look at Chapter 4 – Capital Facilities

Today’s Planning Commission meeting will involve a work session on Chapter 3 of the Whatcom County Comprehensive Plan, titled “Housing.”  This work session will be held Thursday, May 14, 2015 at 6:30 p.m. in the Northwest Annex Conference Room, 5280 Northwest Drive, Bellingham. We will re-visit this chapter on June 11 to consider edits and try to “put it to bed.” See the calendar, below. We will have a presentation from the consultant hired to create the housing market and needs analysis for this chapter.

We will also take our second look at Chapter 4 Capital Facilities to consider proposed edits. We have the edits from staff, originally presented last month, and from Commissioners. The main topic of discussion has been a change in the way Level of Service is defined for the jail and other correction facilities. Chief of Corrections, Wendy Jones, is scheduled to attend our meeting to answer questions.

Commission successfully slogs through Chapter 2

At our last meeting, April 23, we considered the Land Use chapter, minus the specific UGA descriptions. This is the biggest chapter with over 100 pages. The staff amendments were not discussed as no one had any concerns about them. We spent multiple hours considering amendments I had proposed. All I will say about it is that I now have a little better understanding of how some of my fellow commissioners think about planning issues. If you’ve got nothing better to do, you can listen to the whole thing HERE, starting at 1:55.

Vacancy, again, for District 3 Planning Commission

With the resignation of Commissioner Sam Taylor, who represents District 3, we have a vacancy on the Commission. District 3 is basically everything west of the Guide. No deadline has been set for applications, but act quickly. Here’s how to apply.

Handy calendar to keep track of the Comp Plan schedule

I’ve created a google calendar so I can keep track of topics and deadlines for submitting edits for various chapters. You can view it, too HERE. As I have said before, the adopted schedule is subject to change, because we don’t really know how long things will take. I will try to update this calendar as soon as I know of changes.

Sign up for email notification of county government activities

There’s a bushel of lists you can get on, if you feel you don’t get enough email, HERE.