Draft EIS released for Fairhaven Highlands

The Bellingham Business Journal

City officials announced the release of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Fairhaven Highlands development on Monday, Sept. 28.  Tim Stewart, planning director and State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) official for the project, said that along with the DEIS, an updated schedule has been released that includes a 45-day, public-comment period.

A public hearing on the DEIS is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 20, in City Council chambers at Bellingham City Hall. If necessary to accommodate a large number of speakers, the hearing will be continued to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 21.

Fairhaven Highlands is a development proposed in April 2005 by Greenbriar Northwest Associates LLC and located within Bellingham city limits between Chuckanut Drive, the Interurban Trail, Old Fairhaven Parkway, and Old Samish Highway. This planned development proposal includes 739 units of single- and multi-family residential units and related public and private infrastructure.

In February 2007, Greenbriar requested  the city Planning and Community Development Department to initiate the preparation of an EIS for Fairhaven Highlands. The city contracted with the environmental consulting firm ESA Adolfson to conduct the EIS process.  A public hearing to hear feedback on the DEIS will be held October 20, and the public- comment period extends through Nov. 12, 2009.

“The purpose of the EIS is to provide fair, objective and factual information about the site and its environment,” Stewart said in a statement. “Good information, generated in an open and transparent process, will result in higher-quality decisions about the proposal, the site and, ultimately, the land use and development permits that will be required before any development may occur. The EIS process allows us to seek the very best information before any decisions are made about the permits,” he said.

Copies of the DEIS are available to review at the Bellingham Public Library and the Planning Department, and hard copies and CDs are available for purchase in the  department.  The entire DEIS is also available to view online at the city’s project page here.  An updated EIS schedule and timetable has been posted, as well as all sub-consultant reports.

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