USA: Plan for Bellingham Waterfront Redevelopment Moves Ahead
Port and City officials have made public the latest draft Waterfront District master plan and have scheduled meetings of the Waterfront Advisory Group, in anticipation of submitting a draft plan into the formal review process by the end of the year.
“Our goal has been to complete and submit a draft plan by December 31st, and the Port and City teams are on track to meet this goal,” Bellingham Mayor Kelli Linville said.
“We have made significant progress on the documents and agreements necessary to implement proposed changes to the 2010 draft plan, and we look forward to beginning the public review process,” Port of Bellingham Executive Director Rob Fix said.
City and Port officials met last May for a joint status report on their efforts to bring forward a redevelopment plan. At that time, Linville and Fix committed to completing necessary planning documents by the end of 2012, including proposed changes to the 2010 Waterfront District Draft Sub-Area Plan.
The Waterfront Advisory Group has been asked to review and comment on the proposed sub-area plan changes at meetings planned for Nov. 28 and Dec. 6. The meetings will be from 6-9 p.m. at the Harbor Center Conference Room, 1801 Roeder Avenue. The documents being reviewed by the Waterfront Advisory Group are posted on the City and Port websites.
The Waterfront Advisory Group’s comments and recommendations will be included in the package of planning and regulatory documents that will be submitted to the City’s Planning and Community Development Department by the end of the year.
City planners will prepare the package of documents for the City’s legislative review process, which begins with the Planning Commission. During Planning Commission review, the proposal will be discussed and multiple work sessions and hearings held to seek public feedback. The Planning Commission makes recommendations to the City Council, where further public feedback will be sought before a final plan is considered and adopted by the Council. The final plan also will need approval by the Port’s Board of Commissioners.
Other City advisory groups, such as the Transportation Commission and Parks Board, will be asked to review and comment on the proposal as well early in 2013.
Fix and Linville said the completion of these key proposals represents a significant work effort by City and Port staff.
“We look forward to putting the final touches on these proposed agreements and getting them ready for public and legislative review ,” Linville said. “We expect these proposals to go through a robust public input process beginning early next year. When that time comes the public will have available to them all the information they need to participate in decisions about how the waterfront will develop. ”
“Redeveloping the waterfront property will create new jobs and opportunities for our community,” Fix said. “Both Port and City teams are dedicated to working together and moving ahead.”
The port also plans to begin in-water work for the Whatcom Waterway cleanup and has nearly $21 million budgeted for that project in 2013. Most of the cost will be reimbursed through a pre-paid environmental insurance policy and state Model Toxic Control Act funds. The multi-year project includes dredging, capping, shoreline improvements and disposal of contaminated sediment.
Press Release, November 19, 2012