County council gives thumbs-up to two Birch Bay rezones

Published on Wed, Oct 12, 2011 by Jeremy Schwartz

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A total of 568 acres in the Birch Bay area have new zoning designations after a Whatcom County Council vote Tuesday evening.

The county council voted 5-2, with council members Ken Mann and Carl Weimer opposed, to rezone 470 acres in central Birch Bay from one house per 10 acres (R10) to one house per five acres (R5).

Council member Sam Crawford originally submitted this change after a November 2009 county council decision rezoned the land in question from four houses per acre (UR4) to R10.

Crawford cited landowner complaints as the reason for submitting the zoning change, and council member Barbara Brenner said she supported the rezone because she thought the UR4 to R10 change was a mistake. Weimer, however, voted against the rezone because he’s worried that allowing more homes per parcel could have negative effects on the health of Drayton Harbor.

In a separate vote, the county council voted 6-1, with council member Kathy Kershner opposed, to rezone 98 acres over three properties near the intersection of Blaine and Arnie Roads from R5 to R10.

The majority of the acres are in a 100-year floodplain, and the county growth management hearings board determined land in a floodplain should not be zoned R5.

Kershner said she thought the hearings board was mistaken in making that decision. She said the land could have just as easily been kept R5, with regulations in place against building on the sections of the properties that were actually in the floodplain.