York Neighborhood Association Emergency Meeting Minutes

Sunday, January 27, 2008

6:30 – 7:53pm

Nelson’s Market



Present:  Lynn, Kirsti, Tom, Stina, Nick, Seth, Jeff, Anne, Helen, Evan, Libby, Jessica




1.  WWU Let’s Talk Forum

A reminder to all that the Let’s Talk Forum for Yorkers meeting will be held on Feb. 13 at 7pm at GSUMC.  All are encouraged to attend.


Current Issue:


1.  Discussion of UGA Proposals and York Stance at City Council Meeting


Tom began by explaining that UGA means Urban Growth Area, and describes the areas slated for expansion into the County.  They are mostly periphery areas.  He stated that the issue at hand stems from disagreement between the City and County Plans.


City Council will meet Monday, Jan. 28 to vote on three proposals written in response to current issues with UGAs: one from Mayor Dan Pike, one from Councilwoman Louise Bjornson and one from Councilman Jack Weiss.  It is decided to review the proposals and craft a YNA Board statement in response to be read by Libby at the City Council meeting.


It is agreed that the Board will not support one particular proposal.  We do agree to support the idea of not expanding the UGAs, which all three proposals include.


We also agree that the process leading up to Monday’s vote was incredibly rushed and not considerate of neighborhood input.  Tom pointed out that at the recent MNAC meeting there was also criticism of rushed process and lack of time to respond.  He said neighborhood representatives are frustrated at the City’s lack of follow-through on their stated desire to “work with neighborhoods.”


Evan pointed out that the language in the proposals was vague and wondered whether if passed, it would be binding.  Helen stated that permitting and zoning are more important than “neighborhood characterization,” and she is frustrated with the lack of consistence in language coming from the City.


The current Wilson Motors site was brought up, and we discussed how to encourage multi-story mixed-use infill in that area rather than more infill in Area 5.  The area is subject to Design Review but there is no requirement for more creative mixed-use development.


Libby asked Board members to state their priorities for mention at the City Council meeting. We agree on the following statements:


  1. The process was flawed.  More time and information were needed for neighborhoods to properly respond.
  2. We support not expanding the UGAs.
  3. We demand more accountability to neighborhood involvement.  This should include an increase of staff time and resources available to neighborhoods.
  4. We also support the idea of urban villages/mixed-use centers like the one currently being proposed by the Sehome Neighborhood on Samish Way.


Anne made a motion to endorse Libby to represent the YNA Board with the above statements.  Seth seconded the motion and all approved.


See attached final letter from Libby on behalf of the Board to Mayor Pike and the City Council.


The meeting adjourned at 7:53pm.


Submitted by Jessica Bandstra



January 27, 2008


Mayor Dan Pike

Bellingham City Council Members

210 Lottie Street

Bellingham, WA  98225


Dear Mayor Pike and City Council Members,


The York Neighborhood Association Board of Directors held a meeting this evening to review and discuss Mayor Pike’s resolution regarding the UGA, as well as Council Member Weiss’s and Council Member Bjornson’s additional resolutions.

Our top four concerns are:

1)      Public process:  We are concerned about the hurried and harried nature of this resolution and troubled by the minimal public comment period.  We as a board had little time to review these documents, let alone hold a full neighborhood meeting to discuss the modifications to the UGA and how it will impact York Neighborhood and our stakeholders.  Major decisions regarding public policy should be made thoughtfully and be as inclusive as possible.

2)      UGA:  With the limited time to question and analyze the documents the York Neighborhood Association Board of Directors can only support not expanding the UGA at this time.

3)      Urban villages:  The York Neighborhood Association Board of Directors support urban villages / mixed use centers such as the proposed Samish Way Urban Village of which York has worked with the Sehome Neighborhood Association.

4)      Neighborhood involvement:  The York Neighborhood Association Board of Directors believe an increase in support services and assistance via staff time to the neighborhoods is a necessity to improve neighborhood involvement in planning processes.

I, and other Yorkers, will attend the meeting scheduled for Monday evening to comment further.





Elisabeth Stark


York Neighborhood Association

cc:        York Neighborhood Association Board of Directors