Group looking to sell northside parcel

by J.J. Jensen
More growth and development could be on the way in the north end of town.
William T. Follis Jr., a partner at Wm. T. Follis Realtors and president of the Bakerview Land Company, said this week that the land company wants to sell 121 acres of land north of West Bakerview Road, between Northwest Avenue and Pacific Highway.
   Real estate agent Rodger Spero, also of Wm. T. Follis, who’s been hired to sell the land, said several developers have already expressed interest in the property, which is located mostly in Bellingham’s urban growth area, with a portion already in city limits. The land company is asking $3.6 million for the property.
   “What I envision is a nice housing development that includes a lot of trails and parks to take advantage of the wetlands,” Spero said.
   What’s not known at this point, however, is what portion of the land is developable. Spero said a wetlands consultant was recently hired and their study should be concluded next month.
   Follis said the corporation has sought to sell the land in the past but the right opportunity has never come along. Given Bellingham’s current growth and residents’ desire for housing, though, he believes the land should sell this time.
   “Building lots are (currently) scarce and costly,” he said.
   Follis said the property was originally purchased in the 1950s by his father and seven others who formed the land company. Since then, the original members have all passed away and willed their shares to family members and others. The land is now owned by 17 shareholders, residing from Bellingham to New York City.
   “We’re in a position where we want to sell it and get out of it,” Follis said. “We’re not interested in (developing the property ourselves).”
   Spero said 107 acres of the property are zoned urban-mix, which allows for around six homes per acre, with a portion of the housing to be condominiums or apartments. About 14 acres, on the southwest portion of the property, are zoned light-impact industrial and could have freeway visibility.
   While the land company has expressed interest in selling to a developer, city planner Pat Carman said there’s no guarantee the land will soon be annexed into the city.
   Although it’s located in the city’s urban growth area, she said the city hasn’t been approached yet by property owners in the area interested in submitting a petition for annexation. Only owners of property located within Bellingham’s urban growth area are eligible for annexation.
   By state law, property owners representing 10 percent of the assessed valuation within an area must submit signatures to the Bellingham City Council in favor of annexation. The city council then decides whether to pursue annexation or not. If the city council chooses to initiate the annexation process, signatures of property owners representing 75 percent of the assessed valuation would then be needed.
   Spero said he believes the signatures required for annexation are there. Also, he said, he doesn’t foresee as much opposition to development as recent proposals around town.
   “This isn’t the Fairhaven Highlands,” he said. “There aren’t that many people out there and as long as it’s done as a quality residential development things should be OK.”

Judge rules against pub
Backs initial decision by Liquor Board
to revoke Station Pub’s license; owner has until June 13 to appeal

by J.J. Jensen
   It’s likely last call after all, for the Station Pub.
   On May 24, Administrative Law Judge Christy Gerhart Cufley made an initial ruling to cancel the embattled Railroad Avenue tavern’s liquor license. The final order could come later this month.
   Cufley’s ruling came after Station Pub owner Nancy Parkhurst requested to appeal the Washington State Liquor Control Board’s December decision to cancel the business’s liquor license.
   The Liquor Control Board proposed cancellation of the license after three liquor control agents on Dec. 3 alleged that they witnessed a Station Pub bartender serve alcohol to an apparently intoxicated person, a violation of state law.
   “Mindful of the serious impact on the licensee’s business and livelihood in enforcing the proposed penalty, there are no mitigating factors that would warrant deviating from the standard penalty,” wrote Cufley in her findings of fact. “The licensee has received four violations since Oct. 30, 2003, for the same prohibited activity: allowing an apparently intoxicated person to possess or consume alcohol. Accordingly the appropriate penalty is cancellation of the license.”
   According to court documents, tavern regulars testified that they believed the patron involved in Dec. 3 incident was not intoxicated and that he has “kind of a sway to him” and “always looks like that.” Parkhurst could not be reached for comment at press time.
   Tom Dixon, a Liquor Control Board enforcement officer, said Cufley’s order is not effective until a final order by the Liquor Control Board is issued.
   Parkhurst has until June 13 to file exceptions with the Liquor Control Board. If filed, the board would review any exceptions or legal arguments and then, in a final order, affirm, reverse or modify Cufley’s order.
   The Station Pub has gained notoriety among police and downtown business owners in recent years. Its license has been suspended twice in the last two years for overserving customers; numerous complaints about overservice have come from nearby residents and business owners, and, in April, a stabbing occurred outside the premises.
   Recently, the City of Bellingham, through the mayor’s office and Bellingham Police Chief Randy Carroll, have asked that the Liquor Control Board not renew the pub’s license.
   Reactions to the judge’s initial ruling were met with mixed emotions this week. Larry “Lefty” Hendrickson, a longtime Station patron who’s worked at Railroad Avenue’s Sandy & Vale’s Shoe Repair for more than 20 years, said he believes the tavern is being unfairly targeted by the Liquor Control Board and city and police officials.
   He believes troubles on Railroad Avenue stem from transients on the street, not the bar, and that other downtown bars are rowdier than the Station Pub.
   “Most of the people who come in here are retired,” he said. “We’re all over 50. A lot of people in here just drink coffee and play pool and watch ball games,” said Hendrickson.
   Ken Ryan, who along with his wife, Marguerite, own The Bagelry, a nearby eating establishment, said the absence of the Station Pub would help Railroad Avenue’s rough image.
   In the past, he said, pub patrons have left the bar and come to his establishment and caused problems with his customers.
   “We’re trying to create a family type atmosphere on the block,” he said.

Public Market set for soft opening

By Dave Gallagher
The Bellingham Public Market is almost fully operational and is enjoying a strong response to a soft opening that started at the end of May, according to market manager Gary Holloway.
   The 14,000-square-foot market, located in the former Safeway building at 1530 Cornwall Ave., had a pre-opening event at the end of May, and has remained open while many of the eight tenants continue to get ready. Holloway said all of the tenants should be ready to start serving customers by July; the market is planning an official grand opening in September.
   “We’re having a layered opening with the main tenant, Terra Organica, already open,” said Holloway, who has partnered with Stephen Trinkaus on the project. “We’ve had some permitting issues that have put some of the other tenants behind schedule.”
   Joining Terra Organica at the public market is Chocolate Necessities and Gelato, Curious Crow Espresso, Fair Trade Crafts, Juice It, Caf�� Maroc, Caf�� Ohya and Pescaderia Seafoods. This will be the second location for both Pescaderia Seafoods and Chocolate Necessities. The concept of the market is to get several vendors together under one roof to give downtown its own version of a food court. The space, located next to Tube Time, has been empty since Crazy Prices vacated it more than a year ago.
   For many of the tenants, half of whom are new business owners, it’s a chance to get a good start by having a steady stream of customers. “Having all these tenants around has already benefited my business,” said Colleen Mongan, who owns Curious Crow Espresso. “The advice and feedback I’ve received have been great. It’s been beneficial even
before I’ve opened.”
   Other tenants, such as Chocolate Necessities owner Kevin Buck, were attracted to the downtown location. At this location, Buck plans on offering Italian gelato, gourmet truffles and solid chocolates.
   “I wanted to open a downtown location to get more exposure but wanted a place that had a sufficient amount of parking available, and so far I’ve been very happy with the results,”  Buck said. “It’s been interesting seeing this public market concept become a reality.”


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