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Reference Documents:


Testimony of the City Attorney (PDF file, 1.5MB)



Contents:

Declaration of Alan A. Mariner for the City of Bellingham, to the Superior Court (page 1)

Exhibit 1 - Resolution No 705 of the LWWSD - Nov 23, 2005 (page 7)

Exhibit 2 - Developer Extension Agreement - D0601 - between LWWSD and Vineyard Development Group. (page 11)

Exhibit 3 - Water Service Feasibility Study by LWWSD and the Developer. (Includes budget estimate of $4.6 million, and an illegible map) (page 27)

Exhibit 4 - Letter, City of Bellingham, Mayor Tim Douglas, to LWWSD - July 2, 2007 (page 38)

Exhibit 5 - Letter, City of Bellingham, Mayor Tim Douglas, to Whatcom County Council - September 25, 2007 (page 41)


Why Didn't the Conditional Use Permit Issued to LWW&SD
Limit Water Service to the Lake Whatcom Residential Treatment Center?

Virginia Watson

A feasibility study (Exhibit #3) was done at the request of Vineyard Development Group LLC and states that the acquisition of the Lake Whatcom Residential Treatment Center water system is the first step toward providing water service to a proposed clustered development on Squalicum Mountain. There is a contract between the developer and Lake Whatcom Water & Sewer District (Exhibit #2) to provide water for this development. Resolution 705 (Exhibit # 1) passed by the commissioners of LWW&SD supports providing water to this project. These three documents were presented and discussed in Superior Court on Friday, January 18, 2008. This written evidence was sufficient to cause the ruling that the CUP be remanded back to the Hearing Examiner. What was also stated in the courtroom, more than once, is that the plaintiff's have no objection to the Treatment Center receiving water service. The plaintiff's want sufficient conditions attached to the CUP that will limit service to the Treatment Center only. All that was ever needed was for the CUP to expressly state the waterline and reservoir are to serve the LWRTC exclusively. LWW&SD refused to put this in writing, the Hearing Examiner did not add it to the CUP. The county's attorney prevented County Council members from learning of the city's motions to intervene and supplement the record. Consequently, the council was not able to review the documents that were presented in court. Why didn't LWW&SD request the CUP specifically state the waterline and reservoir are to serve the Treatment Center exclusively? Why didn't the Treatment Center request LWW&SD specify on the CUP that these improvements are to serve it alone?

Our water association serves 70 families with four and six inch pipes. The Treatment Center was built before 1990 and is pre-GMA. That may explain the eight-inch pipe connecting their fire hydrants and fire water reservoir. That certainly explains their sewer line. The county comprehensive plan states a six-inch water pipe is sufficient. The Whatcom County Coordinated Water System Plan doesn't even require fire protection in the rural zone. There are other options for the Treatment Center: a six inch looped system for fire protection, a cistern to store water during the wet season to serve them in the dry season, and a chlorination system. All of these options are less expensive than the project being proposed by LWW&SD. It is interesting to note that the Treatment Center was approached by LWW&SD. In addition to the grants sought on the Treatment Center's behalf by Wilson Engineering, the improvements will cost the center $250,000. The infrastructure that results from this project will be owned and managed by LWW&SD.

Although the Lake Whatcom Center granted a conservation land easement to Whatcom Land Trust several years ago, the concern is about the property that abuts the Treatment Center. The principals of Vineyard have increased their holdings around the Treatment Center since first revealing their plans for the clustered development on Squalicum Mountain back in 2005. What happens with that easement if the Treatment Center decides to sell all or part of their property? It may be that no construction of any kind can occur on their 75 acres that does not solely benefit the Treatment Center applies only as long as there is a Treatment Center operating on the property.

As president of SqVCA, I want to state that I want the Treatment Center to get its water and fire protection and so do my neighbors. It is crucial that this service does not foster inappropriate development in the watershed or promote sprawl. It is a matter of law; the GMA issues are germane. It's Bellingham's drinking water supply that is at risk, and this is about protecting Bellingham's reservoir. Fortunately, the city government is up to the task, while it appears the county government is not. I suggest interested citizens obtain and read a transcript of the proceedings from the hearing in Superior Court.


Virginia Watson, President
Squalicum Valley Community Association

(text edited Feb 3 2008)






Acronyms:


LWW&SD - Lake Whatcom Water & Sewer District

CUP - Conditional Use Permit

LWRTC - Lake Whatcom Residential Treatment Center

GMA - Growth Management Act of the State of Washington

Protect Lake Whatcom: This website is maintained by a concerned citizen, following from a Citizens' Initiative brought forth in 1999, with the purpose of directing the City to implement Goal #2 of their own 21 Goals for the management and preservation of the Lake. Copyright 1999-2008 ©LakeWhatcom.org. c: [an error occurred while processing this directive] Our bottom-line principles are: Protect the water supply in perpetuity -- maintain ecological viability of the lake for natural species -- distribute the financial burden fairly among those benefitting -- take immediate action if prudent -- take definitive action -- avoid actions which cut off future options.
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