Barry Buchanan

City Council Ward 3


1. Do you believe the business community should have an equal seat at the table with other interest groups (neighborhoods, environmental community, etc) in discussing the future growth of Bellingham? Why or why not?

Yes – I believe all community stakeholders need to be involved in the planning of our community. Advocacy groups are essential in developing our City’s future. City leaders must engage and empower all of these groups to create a community that benefits all our citizens.


2. Are you supportive of the current Port/City partnership and their vision for redeveloping the New Whatcom Site? Please explain.

I applaud the efforts being put forth by the Port and the City of Bellingham of the New Whatcom Redevelopment. The cooperation between the two agencies has created successful groups like the Waterfront Futures Group and the Waterfront Advisory Group. Together these citizen groups are providing vision for this important project. I do believe the Interlocal Agreement is vague and would like to see a more substantive plan evolve soon that includes more specific cost estimates and clean up plans.


3. When it comes to land use planning, should Bellingham work more closely with Whatcom County and other municipalities in the County? If so, how?

Yes – the City of Bellingham must work closely with Whatcom County and the other cities in Whatcom County to provide a balanced community in our county. We should work together to create a very livable urban core in Bellingham surrounded by the rural charm in unincorporated Whatcom County. The smaller cites provide an additional economic and suburban element to this balance. We should work harder at coordinating to achieve this goal.


4.Do you support efforts to limit the height of future development in the Fairhaven Business District to two stories? Why or why not?

No – I do not support this. One look at Lynnwood or Southern Calif. shows you the result of 1 and 2 story sprawl. We need good design standards to ensure high quality projects and continue to involve businesses,neighborhoods, and advocacy groups in meaningful dialogue.


5. Do you support the Shoreline Master Plan currently being proposed by City Staff? Please explain.

Yes for the most part – The regulation of development on our shorelines is critical to keeping our natural environment pristine. I am a bit concerned on the 200 foot buffer requirements and think we need to hear from the public on the issue to examine this carefully. Many local businesses would be nonconforming under this requirement. It is a good thing to have a thorough inventory of our shorelines. With the following agencies advising on the plan and participating in the inventory process : Department of Ecology, Department of Natural Resources, WA State Fish and Wildlife, Port of Bellingham, Whatcom County, Lummi Nation and the Nooksack Tribe, ReSources, and the Puget Sound Action Team. I feel the level of expertise involved has produced a fairly well thought out plan.


6. What, in your opinion, is the primary cause of the decrease in the actual number of Whatcom County residents between the ages of 30 to 39 (primary working age) since 1996?

Minimal opportunities in our labor market for family wage jobs.


7. Are you supportive of efforts to promote infill development in the City of Bellingham? If so, what measures would you propose to accomplish this?

Yes – Infill is critical to be able to effectively manage growth. I believe neighborhood groups, businesses and other stakeholders need to form working groups and, with assistance and education from the Planning Department, find opportunities for infill in their neighborhoods while also looking at ways to protect the character of their neighborhoods. We need all neighborhoods to do their share of infill and find ways to accomplish both the goal of infill and protecting neighborhood character. It is essential that we grow our community in a way that reflects the concerns and ideas of our citizens.


8. What do you believe is the primary pollution issue in Lake Whatcom, and how do you propose to address it?

The primary cause is phosphorus loading of the reservoir. The City must prioritize spending on education and implementation of projects for source control of contaminants and invest heavily in Storm Water Management. I support the use of some flood tax revenue and utility funds to assist willing, existing homeowners in the Lake Whatcom watershed who want to implement on-site storm water runoff infiltration projects like rain gardens, rain barrels and other creative solutions.


9. Should all businesses in Bellingham be treated equally by the City, regardless of whether or not they are locally owned? Why or why not?

I think all businesses should have equal consideration by the city.


10. If elected, what do you propose to do to interact on a regular basis with the Bellingham business community?

I would propose to help set up working groups in all neighborhoods with businesses and neighborhood groups. These groups would meet to discuss growth and other issues that affect all interests. The work we need to do is long and arduous but we need to invest the time and energy to find solutions for Bellingham that benefit the business community, advocacy groups and neighborhoods. Our great community depends on all of us working together to ensure a bright future for Bellingham.

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