PUBLIC PROCESS AND THE BELLINGHAM WATERFRONT
On Monday, April 20, in a poorly publicized mid-day meeting, the Bellingham City Council and the Port of Bellingham Commission voted to accept a framework plan for the Bellingham waterfront that details the basis for a new street grid configuration and assumptions for the waterfront master plan. It also assumes the destruction of numerous historic buildings on the site. This was done with very short notice, in a rare mid-day meeting, WITH NO PUBLIC COMMENT ALLOWED. None of the materials were available to the public ahead of time.
The councils decided that they would ask the public later what we think of this plan. This decision can only be reversed by a vote of both councils, so it is virtually set in stone.
Is this how waterfront planning will now proceed? Vote now, ask the public later? What does this mean for other controversial decisions that the city council must make, such as Lake Whatcom planning or new shoreline rules? Will the council start voting first and asking questions later?
Regardless of whether you like the new plan, how do you feel about the process? Does this action encourage your involvement and make you feel that your voice is important or perhaps that your involvement is not really desired? If you think something is wrong with this approach, please come to the following meetings and send a message LOUD and CLEAR that public decision making processes require public input BEFORE council votes.
Bellingham City Council: Monday April 27, 7 pm open session
Waterfront Open House, Wednesday April 29, 6:30 Bellingham, Cruise Terminal
Port Commission Meeting, Tuesday May 5, 3:00 pm, Harbor Center Conference Room, 1801 Roeder Avenue
Questions? Contact Robyn du Pré, RE Sources, 733-8307, firstname.lastname@example.org