BBWSD to intervene in county foreclosure on east Birch Bay lots

Published on Wed, Sep 7, 2011 by By Jeremy Schwartz

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Whatcom County is in the process of foreclosing on two parcels of land in east Birch Bay, but Birch Bay Water and Sewer District (BBWSD) officials want the county to wait until the parcels are made legal.

 The two parcels in question sit within the Double R Ranch area near the intersection of Blaine and Birch Bay-Lynden Road. They are not considered legal lots of record by the county and cannot be built on right now.

Both the county and the water and sewer district are owed property assessments and penalties on the parcels, district manager Roger Brown said. Approximately $60,000 is owed to the district alone.

 After 13 years of unpaid assessments, the county wants to foreclose on the property, but district officials think it should wait until the lots can be made legal through the county assessor’s office. This move would allow the property to be sold for much more money than in its current state, so the district and the county can recoup a greater amount of their owed assessments.

“The chance of getting enough money to pay off the property is better if [the land] can be built upon,” Brown said.

 Though the lots in question are technically illegal, the county can sell a property without making any guarantees on the quality of the sale, water and sewer district attorney Simi Jain said. District officials plan to stress to the county that foreclosing on and trying to sell the property would contribute to an illegal subdivision of lots, Jain said.

On July 22, the county sent a letter to the district announcing its intent to foreclose. Jain is in the process of filing paperwork with the county that would explain the district’s arguments for waiting on foreclosure until the lots can be made legal. The deadline for this paperwork is October 4, but Brown expects the paperwork to be filed by mid-September.