Progress Report on Activities
A number of management actions related to urbanization and development have been implemented over recent years. Many are associated with the tasks included in the Jointly adopted Work Plans but others may be implemented by one or more jurisdictions. This section provides an overview of some of the actions undertaken, with in some cases, links to other sites for additional information.
2005 - 2009 Work Plan Actions:
Six activities are identified and progress on them can be viewed at "2005 Urbanization and Development Progress Report".
2000 - 2004 Work Plan Actions:
- Silver Beach Ordinance - In 2001, the City adopted the Silver Beach Ordinance to limit impervious surfaces, retain native vegetation, and establish seasonal clearing restrictions in new and redevelopment in the watershed. This ordinance (2001-01-001; BMC 16.80.000) includes all portions of the Silver Beach Neighborhood within the watershed except subareas 11 and 15.
- Native Plant Handbook - The Silver Beach Ordinance contains a provision for gaining impervious surface credits through the retention or establishment of native vegetation, including coniferous trees, shrubs and groundcover. An impervious credit is granted at the ratio of 100 square feet of credit for every 1,000 square feet of qualifying native vegetation to be retained on the lot to be developed. The maximum impervious credit that may be earned by this mechanism is 1,000 square feet.
A handbook, Native Plants for Landscaping in Bellingham, WA, (link to http://www.cob.org/documents/planning/publications/native_plants_brochure2004.pdf ) was developed by City Planning staff to assist developers and citizens who wish to provide native vegetation in the their landscape plans or use native vegetation to receive additional impervious surface credits.
- County Watershed Regulations - Whatcom County enhanced land development regulations in the watershed through the Water Resources Overlay District, Water Resources Special Management Area, and Stormwater Special District requirements. The regulations included a decrease in allowable impervious areas, cluster subdivision requirements, on-site stormwater requirements, phased clearing, establishment of tree canopy area retention, and establishment of seasonal restrictions on clearing activity. For more details see WCC 20.71 Water Resource Protection Overlay Districts, WCC 20.80.635 Stormwater Special Districts, and WCC 20.80.375 Water Resource Special Management Areas.(link to http://www.mrsc.org/nxt/gateway.dll?f=templates&fn=whatpage.htm$vid=municodes:Whatcom)
- Watershed Regulation Fact Sheets - Whatcom County developed a series of fact sheets (link to http://www.co.whatcom.wa.us/pds/land_use/HandoutN.htm ) describing requirements that must be met while clearing or building in the watershed and the importance of these regulations in protecting water quality. These fact sheets are available at the County’s permit center. In addition, brochures describing erosion and sediment control best management practices and their proper installation and maintenance were created.
§ Check Dams
§ Construction Entrance
§ Straw Bales
§ Silt Fence
- Compliance with Watershed Regulations
The County and City established dedicated watershed staff that provide technical assistance to landowners developing in the watershed including explanations of the regulations and options that can be used to address the regulations. County and City inspectors coordinate with Department of Ecology to monitor the implementation and maintenance of erosion and sedimentation control and stormwater best management practices (BMPs) for permitted clearing and development sites. These inspectors are also responsible for the enforcement of seasonal restrictions on land clearing.
- Transferable Development Rights (TDR) Program - A brochure and information packet was developed to describe the Whatcom County TDR program to property owners both in the sending and receiving areas. These brochures have been available at public meetings/events and Whatcom County Land Use, Planning, and Public Works offices. Presentations describing the Whatcom County TDR Program were held with a few small business/community groups in 2000. Several newsletter and newspaper articles have been published about the TDR program.
The TDR program, originally established in 1999, was reviewed and enhanced identifying the Lake Whatcom watershed as a sending area, establishing additional receiving areas, transfer ratios and minor program adaptations to help facilitate the program. Recommendations to further enhance TDR program coordination between the County and City were developed. See Ordinances 1999-087, 2000-005, 2001-001, 2004-007 (link to http://www.co.whatcom.wa.us/council/code/main_ord_res.jsp)
- Sudden Valley Density Reduction: WHatcom County, the City of Bellingham, and LWWSD have worked to have permanent restrictive convenants removing development potential on almost 400 lots. This is in addition to over 675 potential units removed through restrictive covenants, lot line consolidations, and covenants to biond acheived by the Sudden Valley Community through their density reduction program.
- Lake Whatcom Watershed Downzone - The County implemented a rezone in the Lake Whatcom watershed that resulted in a reduction of approximately 1,400 potential dwelling units within the watershed. See Ordinance 2004-001 (link to http://www.co.whatcom.wa.us/council/2004/ord/ord2004-001.pdf)