The Buzz, December 2008


Larrabee Springs owner appeals recent GMA decision

Caitac USA, owner of the proposed Larrabee Springs development, and former Whatcom County Councilman Robert Wiesen have filed an appeal against the Western Washington Growth Management Hearings Board’s Oct. 13 decision upholding the Whatcom County Council’s 2007 decision to add only 266 acres instead of 2,128 acres into Bellingham’s Urban Growth Area (UGA) as recommended by the Bellingham City Council’s 2006 Comprehensive Plan.

Wiesen said the county’s efforts to minimize Bellingham’s growth into the county will have unintended consequences.

“Contrary to what many people believe or hope, making the UGA smaller doesn’t force development into the city,” Wiesen said. “It forces people out to the county, and it does so in ways that nobody likes, in that five-acre, leapfrog fashion that defines sprawl. Ironically, it’s the County Council that has approved all of that development.”

Dick Settle, attorney and expert on Washington’s Growth Management Act (GMA), as a part of its comprehensive planning efforts, the City of Bellingham undertook a rigorous process that analyzed local land supply and population projections, which yielded the 2,128-acre recommendation.

“[Bellingham] has targeted aggressive goals aimed at limiting the expansion of city limits in order to create a vibrant urban character on the one hand, and preserve important resource lands on the other,” Settle said. “Our concern is that the county’s decision in basically ignoring Bellingham’s findings — in the absence of any other study — sends a signal throughout the state that you don’t really have to ensure that growth will occur in the city.”

Settle said there have been very few court decisions that analyze whether a UGA is too small, because they often are looking at UGAs that are potentially too large and encouraging low density.

“The GMA states in very strong terms that UGAs must be sized appropriately to actually accommodate population, housing and job growth in a realistic manner,” Settle said.


Back Porch Alley to open in Callaloo space

A new restaurant and lounge is set to open in the former Callaloo space at 1212 N. State St.

Owners Layne Southcott and Ted Williams said the establishment, called Back Porch Alley, will serve a variety of southern food and host live jazz and blues bands.

Southcott, who is also a real estate agent for Exit Realty, said the menu will include items from all over the Southern coastal region and some traditional southern favorites like hushpuppies and ribs. On occasion, there will also be some Northwest flavor on the menu.

“There’s no way I’m going to have a restaurant in the Northwest and not serve Dungeness crab when its in season,” Southcott said.

As for the music, Southcott said bands will start early in the evening so people can enjoy the tunes during dinner. And the noise level will remain low so people can hold a conversation without yelling at each other.

This is Southcott’s first venture into the restaurant industry, but Williams has previous experience; he owned a similar establishment in Mississippi. The pair are currently renovating the space to add two more restrooms and a stage. Southcott said he hopes to be open the week before Christmas.

For more information, call Southcott at 305-4444.


Hospice program to build new hospice house
in Happy Valley

Whatcom Hospice Foundation, a St. Joseph Hospital program that helps terminal patients experience their final days with dignity, is planning to open a hospice house in the Happy Valley neighborhood.

The foundation, which is located at 800 E. Chestnut St. Suite 1-C, has announced intentions to purchase three buildings on 4.3 acres of land at 2806 Douglas Ave. from Catholic Community Services.

Mike Kirkland, executive director of Whatcom Hospice Foundation, said the foundation is currently in the “quiet phase” of their capital campaign working to raise half of the $5.3 million, which is the total cost of property acquisition, design and renovation/construction. The foundation will also work to create a $1 million endowment fund to ensure the hospice house continues in perpetuity.

Kirkland said the site’s main building will be a 12-bed hospice house, while a smaller building will house the foundation’s in-home hospice services and administration. The third building is a covered basketball structure, which the foundation has no immediate plans for, but it gives the hospice house room to grow.

“It’s important to us because we will need to grow within that footprint,” Kirkland said.

Kirkland said the property lends itself well to the hospice process.

“It is really a serene, picturesque setting right in the middle of the city,” Kirkland said. “Hospice is really about providing a peaceful, homelike environment so that someone can experience their last days with dignity.”

Kirkland said the timeline of the project depends on the progress of the foundation’s capital campaign.

For more information about Whatcom Hospice Foundation or how to donate, call 733-1231 or visit


Local nonprofit to open temporary jewelry store

Slum Doctor Programme, a Bellingham-based nonprofit that works to help people impacted by AIDS in Kenya and Uganda, is opening a silver jewelry store called Silver for Life just for the month of December in the old Newstand location at 111 E. Magnolia St.

Jesse Papineau, program coordinator for Slum Doctor Programme, said the shop will sell artisan Mexican silver jewelry by the gram at a more than 60 percent discount with one-third of the profits going to support the nonprofit.

“A pair of silver earrings could only cost about $10 to $15,” Papineau said, “and it’s beautiful handmade jewelry.”

Papineau said the silver jewelry makes an excellent holiday gift that is easy on the wallet and the conscience.

“It’s a win-win because it’s affordable and it’s for a good cause,” Papineau said.

Papineau said the store will give the nonprofit a temporary but sustained presence downtown to talk with the community about its mission of providing hope to those impacted by AIDS.

“It’s a place to buy jewelry but it’s also a place to learn and ask questions,” Papineau said.

The store will have a grand opening between 6 and 9 p.m. on Dec. 1, World AIDS Day, which Papineau said will be an informal gathering with drinks, food and information about Slum Doctor projects.

Slum Doctor Programme also has a benefit concert featuring Alex Kajumulo coming up on Nov. 30 at the Wild Buffalo. Doors open at 8 p.m. and tickets are $16 at the door, $8 for students.

For more information, call 224-1644 or visit


Arrowac Fisheries closes Bellingham facility

Arrowac Fisheries closed its Bellingham location last week, laying off about 30 people.

The seafood production facility, located at 207 Harris Ave. next to the Bellingham Cruise Terminal, had been in Bellingham since 1982 and employed about 100 people when it was in full production.

“Increasingly restrictive fishing regulations resulting in decreasing supplies of raw materials and poor fishing seasons over the past years made it no longer feasible for us to continue our Bellingham processing facility,” said Arrowac’s owner, Frank Mercker. in a press release. “It is with great regret that after so many years and especially during this severe global economic crisis, I have decided to terminate our lease for our processing plant with the Port of Bellingham.”

Arrowac will continue to operate its Seattle facility and corporate offices. Meanwhile, the Port of Bellingham has begun searching for a new tenant.

“Arrowac Fisheries has been a valued port tenant for about 30 years and has contributed to the health of our local economy,” said Commission President Doug Smith. “We are saddened that they have closed their fish processing plant.”

For more information, call Arrowac’s Seattle offices at (206) 282-5655 or visit


Digs dedicates space to art

Digs, a downtown modern home décor store located at 200 W. Holly St., has permanently dedicated a portion of its space to displaying local artists.

Owner Gretchen Bjork said half of the store’s upper mezzanine level now houses a rotating artist showcase.

“It was an area of the store that we knew we wanted to utilize eventually, but we weren’t sure exactly what to do with it,” Bjork said.

In addition to the art, Bjork said there could be some mid-century vintage furniture in the space as well.

“I think the mezzanine space will be great for that,” Bjork said. “But from now on, the walls up there will be dedicated to showing art.”

For more information, call 306-8301 or visit


Callaloo receives eviction notice

An eviction notice on the door of Callaloo, located at 1212 N. State St, states that “The tenants, Greg Daane and Joanna Daane dba Callaloo Caribbean Kitchen, have failed to pay rent according to the terms and conditions of that lease dated Aug. 2, 2005.”

Other conditions not met include: failure to maintain insurance, unauthorized alteration/improvement, sublet/assignment without consent, failure to maintain the premises, barring of landlord access, and abandonment of property.

The notice is signed by Kane Hall of Daylight Properties and signed Oct. 17, 2008. Hall was unavailable for comment about future plans for the location.

In late July, Robin Warma and Anguilina Zagorova applied to take over the liquor license, but the application has yet to be approved. The restaurant closed in August for “management changes” but has yet to reopen. The restaurant’s phone number has been disconnected.


Proforma to move into larger headquarters

Proforma Mountainview Printing, a Lynden-based branding agency, recently purchased its new 4,000-square-foot corporate campus at 164 Bay Lyn Drive in Lynden and will soon move from its current 1,500-square-foot warehouse at 210 Duffner Drive.

Brent Kok, president of Proforma Mountainview Printing, said the move would give the company more warehouse and manufacturing space plus room for a new customer showroom.

“The showroom will be a creative space for current and future clients to help design and implement the branded products that Proforma provides,” Kok said.

Proforma Mountainview Printing opened 10 years ago and offers multiple branding and promotions services including custom printing and business documents as well as eCommerce and multimedia services.

For more information, call 318-0414 or visit


Attorney Hayes continues as partners retire

Craig Hayes, partner in the local law firm Ludwigson Thompson Hayes & Bell, is opening up his own practice in Suite 1200 of the Bellingham Towers, located at 119 N. Commercial St.

Hayes will move himself and his assistant from the firm’s current 3,500-square-foot office in Suite 170, on the Bellingham Tower’s first floor, to a smaller 1,000-square-foot office on the building’s 12th floor.

Hayes said he is moving because two of his partners and long-time friends, Casey Thompson and Jim Bell, are retiring and even though he himself has been practicing in Bellingham since 1970—he is not quite ready to retire.

“I’m too young and too broke to retire,” Hayes said.

Hayes is a general practice lawyer who specializes in business-related cases but can work in several general practice areas.

“If you get run over by a bus and the driver is drunk—I will represent you,” Hayes said.

For more information, call 734-2000.


Fusion Dental Lab remodeling new space

Fusion Dental Lab, which makes dental crowns and bridges, is in the process of remodeling a new space at 2134 James St. near Moka Joe.

The company has been located at 3400 Squalicum Pkwy. Suite 202 since opening four years ago, but simply outgrew the space, said Gary Wrightson, who owns the business with Steve Munro. The pair bought the space in August and is updating the floors and the paint, among other improvements. Once the remodel is complete, the new location will offer about 900 square feet.

Wrightson said he hopes to move the business within six months.

For more information, call 647-4573.


New eatery rolls into Sunset Square

Wrap & Roll Fresh Mediterranean Cuisine, a new Mediterranean eatery, opened in Sunset Square at 1155 E. Sunset Drive Suite 105 on Oct. 27.

Owner Danny Finklestein said he moved to Bellingham two years ago after working in construction in Los Angeles for the past 15 years and when he arrived, he said he saw a need for authentic Mediterranean cuisine.

“There aren’t that many places that make fresh falafel and pitas on the spot,” Finklestein said.

As the restaurant gets on its feet, Finklestein said he is excited about making good food and meeting new people.

“I love seeing and meeting all the people that come in,” Finklestein said.

For more information, call 734-1917.


Luxury cat boarding facility opens

Cat Country Resort, located at 6912 Mecklem Rd. in Everson, opened last month.

The luxury cat-only boarding facility has 15 suites that all look out onto a garden with bird feeders, said owner Carol Tribe.

“There are a lot of bird feeders so they can watch the birds,” Tribe said.

The facility also has a play area where cats can socialize or just lounge around.

Tribe comes from a background of working with cats: Her family has run a cat boarding facility in England for the last 25 years and she worked as a vet technician for the past six years.

For more information, call 966-4342 or visit


Bella Cleaners moves to Meridian

Bella Cleaners opened up in its new location at 4210 Meridian St. Suite 101 on Nov. 1.

The dry cleaning business had been located in Sunset Square for the past 15 years. The new space offers 400 more square feet, for a total of 2,000, and more exposure, said Assieh Kazemi, who owns the business with her husband, Youssef.

Bella Cleaners offers regular dry cleaning services, as well as alterations and preservation of old gowns. For more information, call 715-9118.


The Paperdoll opens downtown

The Paperdoll, located in Fairhaven, opened its new downtown location at 312 W. Champion St. Nov. 7 during The Downtown Art Walk.

The new boutique is centered in downtown’s newly coined art district and across the street from the future Pickford Cinema. The shop carries select paper goods and fashion items that use sustainable practices and encourage ecologically responsible materials.

For more information, call 738-3655


Phaze 2 Salon doubling space

Phaze 2 Salon, located at 141 W. Kellogg Rd., is in the process of doubling its space and adding up to five new employees.

Owner Nancy Nguyen said the expanded salon will have about 2,000 square feet and will be completed in January. This is the first time the business has expanded since opening four years ago. Along with hair styling and nails, the salon will start offering spray-on tanning, Nguyen said.

For more information, call 714-8900.


Rent-A-Center plans to move

Rent-A-Center, which is currently located at 1155 E. Sunset Rd. Suite 120, is planning to move to 183 Telegraph Road.

The new location is larger than the current space, a company spokesperson said. A timeline for the relocation has yet be set, but it could take place in January.

For more information, call 734-7066.

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