Comp Plan update UGA proposals for Ferndale, Everson, and Nooksack

Chapter 8 – Resource Lands

Thursday’s Planning Commission meeting will involve a work session on Urban Growth Area proposals by Ferndale, Everson and Nooksack, as part of the Whatcom County Comprehensive Plan. We will also take a second look at Chapter 8 on Resource Lands.  This meeting will be held Thursday, July 23, 2015 at 6:30 p.m. in the County Council chambers, 311 Grand Ave, Bellingham. All meeting materials are HERE.

I took a little break from my regular meeting reports, mainly due to being way too busy with election stuff. Last meeting we had work sessions on the UGA proposals for Sumas, Blaine, Cherry Point, Birch Bay, and Columbia Valley. Nothing too exciting happened at the meeting, but since then we have received comments from the Lummi Indian Business Council regarding the Cherry Point UGA. To get the full picture of what the Comp Plan says about Cherry Point, you’ll need to look at Chapter 2, page 2-54 for the narrative and goals and policies, and that same document, page 2-11, for the Cultural Heritage goals and policies, referred to in the LIBC comments. The Planning Commission will take our second look at these UGA proposals in 3 weeks time, on August 13. At that meeting is when we would proposed specific amendments to the current draft. Although the PC may consider amendments later, to keep on schedule we hope to work out issues Commissioners have at this August 13 meeting.

Bellingham’s UGA proposal is scheduled to be introduced (a work session) on September 24. If you are interested in this one, please confirm the date as it keeps getting moved into the future.

Water back on the front burner

Sorting out water rights in Whatcom County will have to start with the determination of the Lummi and Nooksack Treaty Rights for in-stream flows for salmon, since they are the most senior rights. The tribes asked the federal government to do just that back in 2011. Their strategy that they feel has the best chance of a reasonable outcome, is to negotiate a settlement with all the stakeholders in the county and take it to the federal court for approval, and enforcement. A federal judge is not in a position to figure it all out him or herself anyway. The Lummis are now moving on the negotiation piece of this, as reported in the Herald Politics blog Lummis propose water-rights deal to farmers, cities and the follow up Whatcom council hears outline of Lummi water-rights deal. What they are offering at this time is a framework for the negotiations.

Comp Plan schedule

Find the latest schedule for Comp Plan meetings HERE, at the bottom of the page. Comments and specific suggested edits would be most appreciated 10 days in advance, so they can be published and in the Commissioners’ packets. Doing amendments on the fly is harder.