Padden Trails Rezone – October 6 – Planning Commission

Bill Geyer & George Huston, representing the Padden Trails project, visited the last Edgemoor Neighborhood board meeting to make us aware of changes that have been made to the Padden Trails proposal, at least partially as a result of a letter signed by representatives of the south side neighborhoods and sent to the Bellingham Planning Commission earlier this year.  Mr Huston recently sent a letter to all the southside neighborhood associations explaining the changes made to address the concerns.

An overview is given here in an email sent to the Edgemoor Neighborhood by Bill Geyer after their visit.

Thank you for taking time at the September 15 Edgemoor Neighborhood Association Board meeting to briefly discuss the Padden Trails rezone in the Samish Neighborhood.  Attached per your request is a copy of George Huston’s recent response to the Southside Coalition letter concerning the rezone.  A copy of the latter is also attached to enable a side by side comparison.   Four months of additional site analysis and discussion with neighborhood representatives have occurred since the Coalition letter.  George’s letter notes that a revised traffic study has been completed and accepted by WSDOT and the City.  The most pressing need is the I-5 Northbound off-ramp Connelly Ave presently fails due to existing conditions.  The Padden Trails owners have agreed to be part of the solution to improve the intersection which will benefit the general public as well as the Padden Trails site.  Please let me know if you would like an electronic copy of the report.   Several in depth meetings have also occurred with the Parks staff regarding open space.  We confirmed the parks/open space policies and standards adopted in the Comprehensive Plan and will apply those to the site within the rezone process.  The owners included these requirements with additional areas they are setting aside as open space which may result in 30-35% of the site remaining as open space.  An illustrative site plan at shows one possible design.   Most importantly, the rezone proposal increases the density from ½ acre single family lots (20,000 sq ft lot minimum set in 1969) to an urban infill density of 10,000 sq feet per unit using the City’s new infill housing toolkit, BMC 20.28.  The number of units possible would increase from 246 single family units to 492 infill units.  The City Fire Code restricts the number of multi-family units to 200, so the remainder will be a diversity of 292 infill units.  All 492 units will have sprinklers.  The Planning Commission hearing for this proposal is scheduled for October 6.  George and I would welcome the opportunity to discuss the proposal prior to the hearing and will await your invitation to do so.  Thank you for your consideration.

Our meeting schedule for the rest of the year is booked, but it is likely that this project will still be in process in January.  If that is the case, and if there is interest on the part of our membership, we will try to arrange a discussion with those representing Padden Hills after the first of the year.  In the meantime, we will continue to post notices of hearings and meetings open to the public regarding this project.

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