Newsin Brief

Published on Thu, Aug 5, 2004
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News in Brief

City permit activity ahead of county stats
First and second quarter construction stats are in and show a healthy increase in both residential and commercial development in Blaine. To date the city has issued 49 residential building permits, compared to 31 in the first two quarters of 2003. The increase translates to a 50 percent jump in residential construction, compared with 19.5 percent countywide for the same period.
Last year there were no new permits for commercial units issued in the first two quarters, while this year in that period the city issued four. These include new buildings for Point Roberts Press and Whatcom Physical Therapy and two expansions.
At their July 26 meeting Galvin also gave city council a report on new development permits being handled by city hall. The city worked on 22 development permits in the first two quarters of 2004, from the 36 unit Seagrass Cottages project at Semiahmoo to a site plan review for the Horizon Bank building in downtown Blaine. In the pre-application phase are six more projects, including a 55-unit multi-family development and three industrial expansions.

City budget mostly on track
The second quarter report from the city finance office shows the city’s revenues and expenses tracking close to budgeted amounts, with one potentially notable exception.
“I would bring to you one concern which is our sales tax,” said city finance director Meredith Riley at the July 26 meeting of Blaine city council. “It is 11.6 percent behind year-to-date figures for 2003. We’ll keep an eye on it and see if it picks up in the summer.” Riley speculated the city was behind this year because it didn’t have the sales tax revenue boost it got last year from several major school construction projects.

Public comment sought on Seagrass Cottages
The city of Blaine is seeking public comment on a proposal to build a 36-lot multi-family residential development project , Seagrass Cottages, on the Semiahmoo spit. The project is the same as previously submitted; however, the city has determined that a Planned Unit Development permit must be obtained. Comments will be accepted up til 5 p.m., August 25. A hearing date will be set later.

City public hearing continues
A public hearing to receive comments on a proposed ordinance that would impose a moratorium on multi-family or duplex residential developments in certain single-family neighborhoods during the comprehensive plan update process will continue August 9 at 7 p.m. Written comments must be received by 4:30 p.m. on August 9 and should be addressed to the department of community development, City of Blaine, 344 H Street, Blaine, WA 98230. The hearing takes place in city council chambers at city hall.

Bad news for the kids
The first day of school classes for Blaine school district will be Wednesday, September 1. A full day of classes will be held at all school buildings.
The primary, elementary, middle and high school offices will be open to the public beginning August 23 at 10 a.m. If you are new to Blaine school district, please bring a copy of your immunization information and your last year’s report card when you register. New students may register any day after August 23.
The district website is www.blaine.k12.wa.us and contains the 2004/05 calendar along with supply lists for grades kindergarten through fifth. For more information, please call the district office at 332-5881.

Sports news for high school students
There will be two fall sports information meetings for student athletes, parents and coaches at Blaine high school. Football only meeting is Tuesday, August 17 at 6:30 p.m. in the PAC. Football practice begins Wednesday, August 18.
All other fall sports (cross country, girls soccer, volleyball) will be Sunday, August 22 at 6:30 p.m. in the PAC. Practice for these sports will begin on Monday August 23.
Also all athletes need to have a current sports physical, on file in the office, to participate in high school athletics. All incoming freshman athletes need to have a new sports physical for high school, and all returning student athletes need to be sure their physical is still valid. All paperwork must be in the office prior to an athlete participating in practice.

Bus line announces pullout
The Greyhound bus line has announced it intends to discontinue bus service to Blaine, effective August 18, 2004. The company cited high costs and low ridership in its letter to the city of Blaine. City manager Gary Tomsic has asked the company if an appeal of the decision is possible, given that the bus service represents the only commercial interstate and intra-state transportation option available directly from the community.

Free airshow
The Canadian Snowbirds will fly a twilight air show routine above the White Rock waterfront Wednesday, August 11 at 7:30 p.m. Designed as a teaser for the Abbotsford Air Show, according to Snowbirds Captain Stephanie Walker, the routine will last about 20 minutes and should be readily visible from Semiahmoo and Peace Arch Park.