public comment period
A hearing has been set for 2 p.m. next Wednesday, January 19, in the Whatcom County Courthouse to review aspects of the proposed Great Links at The Bay development in Birch Bay.
The builder, Homestead Northwest Development Company, plans to erect two buildings on the 4.71 acre site at 7700 Birch Bay Drive, the first a 33-unit condominium and the second a yet to be designed smaller building with 22 units.
The building site, between Birch Bay Drive and Birch Bay Leisure Park and immediately north of the leisure park’s entrance, is heavily wooded with mature fir trees, several of which have been identified as eagle perches. The site is also across Birch Bay Drive from the mouth of Terrell Creek.
Hearing examiner Michael Bobbink said in a December 15 memorandum that he was “re-opening the record” to address concerns he has both with the number of trees Homestead might be able to save with some re-designing of some features, and distances that the buildings are set back from the property lines and from each other. Homestead proposes a 65-foot observation tower as part of the project which Bobbink said goes beyond the 35-foot height restriction and would require more separation than Homestead’s plans currently indicate.
Lisa Guthrie of Homestead said that while there is some confusion over some details in their plans, they will save over half of the trees under their current design.
Neighbor Kelvin Barton, employed as a plan reviewer by the city of Everett has a vacation home on nearby Francis Lane, said the question isn’t the amount of trees, but which trees will be cut.
“Every high tide the eagles come and perch in those trees to feed at the mouth of the creek. We don’t oppose the project. What I really want to see is those perching trees protected,” Barton said.