News in Brief
Go forth and buy...
Blaine city council has approved sending city manager
Gary Tomsic into negotiations to buy a sliver of property
needed for construction of the boardwalk planned for the
waterfront side of Peace Portal Drive. Following a January
10 executive session council members voted unanimously
to proceed with the purchase.
Earlier in the meeting Tomsic reported on progress in obtaining the final easement standing in the way of construction, which will go to court on February 4. At a public use and necessity hearing a Superior Court judge will decide if the city’s claim on the land is valid. If the city wins and the property owners agree to allow immediate use and possession of the property, the project can get underway. The property owner would also be able to petition for the city to pay their legal fees. If they do not agree the project will need to wait until after a valuation hearing in April to get started, Tomsic explained.
Visitors center nearly ready for visitors...
manager Gary Tomsic reported to Blaine city council that
the new Blaine visitor’s information center
(VIC) is almost ready for business. “We are kind
of moved in to the new VIC located in the Pizza Factory
building,” he said at the January 10 council meeting.
“The renovations are pretty much complete.” Tomsic said the city had spent approximately $20,000 improving the space and would be paying a similar amount of rent as for the previous Marine Drive location. The new location, he said, would draw visitor’s into the city’s downtown. “Everyone we’ve spoken to downtown, our business people, is very excited,” he said. Tomsic added the VIC would be developing a volunteer program in 2005.
Parks to work towards open space proposal...
Blaine city council gave their approval to official parks
board participation in a committee working to have the
land slated for development as the Seagrass Cottages condominiums
on Semiahmoo spit preserved as open space.
In December the parks board voted to join efforts to preserve the property and Ron Miller, who was part of a petition effort that gathered over 300 signatures, said their participation was crucial to showing a unified face to potential grant agencies and conservancy groups. “We need something official we can funnel our activities through,” he told city council at their January 10 meeting.
Miller said meetings with David and Jon Syre of Trillium Corporation, project developers who intend to purchase the property back from its current owners this year, had shown they were open to efforts to preserve the land. However, there is a price tag and Miller said they would be working to nail down a solid figure. “We’ve heard anything from 10 or 15 to 30 million,” Miller said. He reiterated the group has no expectation of financial participation from the city but will seek private funding.
As sure as death and . . . lower taxes?
Blaine city council voted to cut the city utility tax by 0.5 percent for wastewater, water and stormwater utilities to offset the coming surge in sewer rates. “The reason we are raising sewer rates is not to make a windfall for the general fund and that’s where these tax revenues go,” explained city finance director Meredith Riley. “We’re reducing the utility tax to try and mitigate the impact of the rate increase.”
Welcome to Zone 20...
The city of Blaine has asked for public comment on plans
filed last month to develop a 37-acre tract north of Semiahmoo
Parkway and roughly a half-mile west of Shintaffer Road,
where the westbound parkway begins to curve and climb the
hill. Known as Zone 20 at Semiahmoo, the gated development
includes 62 single-family lots and three multi family development
Plans for Zone 20 at Semiahmoo may be reviewed at city hall and written comments from the public on this proposal must be submitted by January 19 in person or by mail to the Department of Community Development, 344 H Street, Blaine. A public hearing is scheduled for February 10 in the Blaine city council chambers.