Although Lynden is known as an agricultural community, it is also a place where, in recent years, the business community has been growing. To maintain its economy, the city’s economic development plan includes allowing space for local businesses to expand.
In its most recent move, the city annexed 104 acres of agricultural land, to the south of West Main Street and west of Meridian Street, to make way for future business expansion. What will become of the land remains to be seen, but investors are in on the ground floor.
“Businesses are demanding more space,” said Amy Harksell, planning director for the city of Lynden. She said evidence of business growth can be seen at one of Lynden’s largest companies, Lynden Door, where the number of employees and square footage of the facilities have grown tremendously. Marketing manager Andy Anderson said the company has gone from about 135 employees to 200 and added approximately 180,000 square feet to its facilities in the last five years.
“The goal of the annexation is to keep businesses in the city and serve their needs,” said Harksell. “About six years ago we lost Andgar Corporation, because there really wasn’t any room for them to grow,” she said.
To accommodate growing businesses, there is no doubt farmland will be consumed, admitted Harksell. The city of Lynden, however, looks to allow for the conversion of land to take place when the time is appropriate, and not before, she said. According to Harksell, it is also in the city’s economic development plan to preserve farmland, and to promote and support agriculture-related businesses.
There are no plans for the annexed area yet, but it has been zoned for industrial development. Harksell said she expects some of the area will eventually be developed into business parks. The area could also sustain some form of heavy industry, she said.
Driving the recent annexation were two developers, Jim Wynstra and Dick Vandenburg. Harksell said it was the property owners, which include Wynstra and Vandenburg, who requested the area be annexed, so they would be eligible to receive the utilities and services necessary for future development.
Wynstra said there are no set plans for the approximately 60 acres he acquired with business partner Dick Vandenburg. He said the two bought the property a little more than one year ago to provide more business opportunities for the area. He said there has already been interest from local businesses in the property.
Also, owners of property in the newly annexed land, according to the Whatcom County Treasurer’s Office, are Paul Kenner, Jerry Blankers, Bob Kildell and Herm Douma, who bought 38 acres within the annexation.
Kenner said the land, which now has one home on it, is just an investment, and his plans for the site are undecided.
According to a release from the Whatcom County Treasurer’s Office, the 38 acres were sold for $1.64 million.
Both groups of investors acquired the land before the annexation was final.
The next step for the area, according to Harksell, is to review plans for development so infrastructure can be laid out and the land can be subdivided.