County says building planned for Birch Bay Drive may be too tall

By Oliver Lazenby

The Whatcom County Planning Department is requesting more information about a proposed 39-unit apartment complex on Birch Bay Drive.

The proposed development is at the current site of Richmond Resort, 8086 Birch Bay Drive, and would have buildings up to 35-feet tall and could potentially block views from residences behind it.

In a formal letter called a “notice of additional requirements,” the county asked for a variety of extra information and documents about the project, including information about how the proposed development’s height would impact its surroundings.

“The submittal as prepared does not demonstrate compatibility of the development with regard to size, scale and height of the surrounding community,” the letter said. “Please provide a graphic analysis or elevation detail demonstrating how the proposed buildings will impact the surrounding uses and the proposed mitigation measures, if necessary.”

The county requested a variety of other information from the developers, including details about the project’s landscaping, parking stall dimensions, setbacks and stormwater discharge.

Steve Taberner, property owner, and Tony Freeland of Bellingham-based Freeland & Associates proposed the project, which would include a 27-unit building, a 10-unit building, and a duplex on a 2.5 acre lot that currently hosts about 52 recreational vehicles and manufactured homes.

During a public comment period that ended July 20, several property owners near the proposed apartments requested that the county consider a section of the 2004 Birch Bay Community Plan that states: “multifamily housing should not obstruct or significantly limit views of the bay from existing

  1. I have to think blocking the view is not in the interest of the neighborhood.


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