Port releases addendum to waterfront EIS

The Bellingham Business Journal

The Port of Bellingham released an addendum to the environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Waterfront District on Feb. 8, bringing the three-year environmental analysis one step closer to being done.

The addendum is the third round of environmental review for the proposed waterfront redevelopment and represents an analysis of previous areas of contention between Port and City officials, such as the road grid and the fate of several old brick buildings left by Georgia-Pacific.

The new study includes analysis of the traffic impacts from the new road grid with the anticipation of a significant shift away from single-occupancy vehicles to alternative transportation. It also includes detailed economic and architectural analysis of the feasibility of re-using remaining structures and of retaining some industrial icons. The addendum also features view analysis of one intersection that was impacted by the new road grid.

In January 2008, the Port released a draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) for the entire project, which analyzed four development alternatives. The alternatives varied primarily by development density.

Based upon that analysis, the Port and City focused on a mid-range development density and issued a supplement to the DEIS in October 2008. This supplement included two potential road grid alternatives analyzed at a medium development density of about six million square feet. This density is similar to the development density found in Fairhaven.

In April 2009, the Port Commission and the City Council adopted a new road grid concept — called the proposed planning framework — which has been analyzed in this latest environmental study as the updated preferred alternative.

The addendum is available for a 30-day public comment period starting Feb. 8 and continuing until March 10.

A public information session about the review process will be held at the Waterfront Advisory Group meeting at 7 p.m., Feb. 10 at the Bellingham Cruise Terminal. No public comment will be taken at the meeting; a formal public hearing will be held at 7 p.m., March 3 at the same location.

The addendum, as well as earlier environmental analysis documents, can be found on the Port of Bellingham’s website www.portofbellingham.com under the Waterfront Redevelopment/Project Updates section.

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