Bellingham City Council At Large
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. A healthy economy is essential to supporting the realization of our social and environment values. The business community drives much of our economy and thus must be treated as an equal stakeholder in our community processes.
2. Are you supportive of the current Port/City partnership and their vision for redeveloping the New Whatcom Site? Please explain.
Essentially yes, although the planning and financial approach the Port and City are taking need to be reviewed and assessed as they develop the Master Plan and we move through the process. I chaired a study last year for the Marina Advisory Committee on Marine Business Zoning, and I will be very interested to see how the Port and City do in fact support a working waterfront and the nurturing and development of the marine industry.
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 current situation is not good. Key planning personnel have left the county, enforcement appears to be non-existent and comprehensive plans are not consistent. As a council member I will help the council take a leadership role in forming an interlocal effort to coordinate planning efforts, have mutual representation/standing at hearings, review policies and procedures and develop coordinated enforcement.
4. Do you support efforts to limit the height of future development in the Fairhaven Business District to two stories? Why or why not?
The question of standards for building design, including height and volume, architectural appearance and location is very important. I support making improvements in the process for determining how and where infill is fulfilled as well as how our aesthetic values are impacted by development. It is essential that we have an understandable and fair process that includes all stakeholders equitably. This process needs to apply city wide, not just for Fairhaven.
5. Do you support the Shoreline Master Plan currently being proposed by City Staff? Please explain.
Not yet. I am not fully comfortable with possible impacts on property outside of buffer zones and potential economic impacts. This kind of oversight is needed in my opinion for zoning restrictions and changes of this type.
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?
It is unlikely that the reason is that this is a bad place to live and raise a family. If information reported in the media is correct, the most likely reason is economic. Higher wage to cost ratios elsewhere than here.
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?
I expect growth pressure to continue. Per state law and our community values, in order to avoid urban sprawl and loss of agricultural land, we need a well planned strategy that increases density in Bellingham. Increased growth is reality, barring scenarios of zero or negative growth due to extreme long-term increases in energy costs or other factors. From the perspective of the City Council, I think the council needs to provide more oversight of the planning process to make sure that the Comprehensive Plan is reviewed and validated regularly and consistantly as growth pressures increase. The council also needs to use that same oversight power to assure that all interested stakeholders are provided equitable access to our neighborhood and city planning processes. In my view, the City Council must show more leadership to set the tone that recognizes the realities of growth and respects neighborhood values and character.
8. What do you believe is the primary pollution issue in Lake Whatcom, and how do you propose to address it?
From all public reports, it is primarily phosphorous and the pollution products in storm water run-off. From the perspective of the role of the city council, I would work to help the council to show some additional leadership in requiring accountability and enforcement of policies and ordinances that are in place. I would also work to have interlocal agreements reviewed and validated. Additionally, as a council member, I would focus on setting priorities on resolving inconsistencies between county and city planning.
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?
Good business citizens that obey our laws, share our values and contribute to our community as a matter of policy should be treated fairly. Why, because it is in our best interest to have a healthy economy and jobs for our families.
10. If elected, what do you propose to do to interact on a regular basis with the Bellingham business community?
As a non-partisan councilor, I would represent all of my constituents. This means making time available to meet with them. A major portion of my time on the council will be devoted to open communications with constituents.