[What follows is a series of posts to Wendy’s Facebook page recording her perspective during her attendance at the Bellingham City Council Planning and Development committee meeting for December 7, 2015]
Now at the city council planning and development committee on the critical area ordinance. The mayor defends the fact that their is inadequate public notice.. just a cover page. She says all the information was provided in the past. Jack Weiss had to explain that this is not helpful to those who were not present last time. Seriously? The city has the nerve to defend its inadequate public notice?
Staff will be responding to the public comments for the hearing more than a month ago. Steve Sundin says that “this notion of doing an inventory” is not necessary. Oh geez, this is going to be a real doozy. They said they have adequate information.
Kim Weill is discussing the no net loss standard. It means to protect the functions and values of each critical area.
Holy fuck. They just said that you hardly ever see wetland impacts in the city anymore. Are you kidding me. How many acres of wetlands that were filed for Costco? How many are being filled for the Cordata Park? My god, these people are shameless.
Next lie.. the DRAFT RESTORATION masterplan are adequate to PROTECT no next loss. Understand? Restoration fixes what is broken. Protection keeps what exists from being degraded. They are not even the same thing. And there is NO habitat corridor identified. And the restoration plan has big gaps.. such as Lake Whatcom watershed. Habitat only has value based on connectivity. When one of the most important connectivity links is left out, that is NOT an adequate habitat plan.
claims that they deducted critical area from land use capacity analysis. I would like to see that.. oh wait.. “it did not include wildlife necessarily…”
Staff claims that the CAO only covers state priority habitat and species. That is true, but these are very broad and include biodiversity hot spots, like Whatcom Falls Park. Have you ever heard anything about that? I bet not.
YOU NEED TO DO ON SITE ASSESSMENT FOR A HABITAT AND SPECIES REVIEW. The city has not.
This is so misleading and there is no way I can rebut this point by point in 3 minutes tonight. What a stacked system.
Kim just stated we have on endanged species in Bellingham. THAT IS NOT TRUE. WE HAVE A SPECIES OF ROCKFISH THAT IS IN THE BAY. My god, the city must hire a real biologist.
staff now talking about the citizen science projects being done that COULD be referenced if needed. We need that information NOW, before this is passed.
Now talking about wetlands and change in decision to not make changes. IN the past, the city did not regulate small wetlands, although this was not compliant. So DOE MADE the city regulate all wetlands in this update. So in response, the city attempted to create a loophole that basically reduces the regulation so it is not protected. This is in response to heay pressure from BIA.
STAFF NOW LYING TO COUNCIL. STATING THAT SMALL WETLANDS DO NOT HAVE FUNCTION AND VALUE. NEW EPA REPORT SHOWS THAT SMALL WETLANDS OFTEN HAVE THE HIGHEST FUNCTION AND VALUE. LYING. NO NICE WAY TO SAY THIS.
Wendy Harris BTW, I provided staff with BAS on wetlands and proof, from DOE, that exempting small wetlands is NOT BAS, but they are allowing it for convenience. Again, that is not test. I do not think this would withstand a legal challenge.
They explain the reason for this based on expense. says it costs residential home owner $1400. Not usually. More like several hundred in most cases. And besides, the cost to homeowners is not the test that must be followed.
Now trying to justify this based on Lummi mitigation bank. This is violating the principle of mitigation sequencing. First you must try to AVOID the impact. And off site compensatory mitigation is the least preferred form of mitigation. Somehow the staff is just skipping over this.
If staff keeps referring to “low function small wetlands”, I am going to fucking scream.
Mayor opens mouth and promotes Lummi mitigation banks and she is misinformed as she believes this increases wetland function. If that were the case, then it would not be the lasts and least preferred form of mitigation, right? Someone just shoot me.
Next subject to mangle… cumulative impacts.
God, I wish they would have a debate on this, and I could respond to the city tit for tat.
Staff now addressing temporal loss. Says that it is factored into mitigation. NO, it is not. Not in the city. BTW, these are all the points that I was raising extensively throughout the public process. Instead of doing the right thing, they choose to go on the record and justify doing the wrong thing.. the thing that definitely will NOT protect NNL.
Steve Suindin now going through the Costco project because some people (gee, I wonder who they mean?) thinks of this as the worst of the worst, and they want to show how great and protective this project is.
They are justifying wetland fill of over an acre because it was being used as trash dump site by local residential homes. Doesn’t that show how poorly the city protects its critical areas, rather than justify infill?
Wendy Harris Can some of you PLEASE come out tonight at open session to rebut this bullshit?
If we accept the city’s rationale, they will always have justification for neglecting critical areas and allowing degradation. Why would they ever keep critical areas pristine, if they really want to develop and pave over critical areas
They are trying to show how large centralized wetlands have more functional value. FALSE. small wetlands help provide habitat connectivity that would be other wise lost. Large wetlands create habitat islands that the CAO was intended to avoid and prevent. Council has no idea how much bullshit they are being fed because this is technical material and you need expertise to understand.
Wetland ratings include a habitat element, but that can not be used for rating habitat conservation areas. That is a big problem.
4. 2 acres of fill actually increase function and value according to staff. Gee, how about talking about location of bear creek to freeway, and the way Ann Eissinger referred to this as deathtrap for whole families of animals.
Staff claims they have increased funciton and value. HEY MORONS, YOU CAN NOT PROVE THAT BECAUSE YOU FAILED TO ESTABLISH A BASELINE STANDARD AND QUANTIFIABLE STANDARDS.
OMG TERRY BORNEMANN IS THANKING STAFF FOR A GREAT PRESENTATION AND SHOWING HOW THE MITIGATION WORKS
Terry wants to know what the staff needs from them. Why, all they want is a ordinance to move forward and enact into law.
Jack is only one asking questions from the ordinance. Concerned about exception for public works projects.. like Cordata Park, San Juan Blvd.
Passive outdoor recreation is now exempt because they are so diminimus. At least according to staff. What a bullshit lie. There is BAS that shows this is not true.
Holy fucking shit. the planning director is now stating that if the city tries to establish high level of protection that required by state, it could be a regulatory taking.
The law is clear. these are minimum standards. MINIMUM STANDARDS. it is not a regulatory taking to increase protection to critical areas. the nexus between science and law shows how this protects public health and safety.
Jack thanks staff. says he learned alot and they will prepare recommendation to approve this ordinance.
You can read these posts of Wendy’s on her Facebook page by clicking on the time link on any of the entries above.