BirchBay survey cites need for local control

Published on Thu, Nov 1, 2007 by ara Nelson

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Birch Bay survey cites need for local control

By Tara Nelson

Local control over taxes and land use decisions were the most important issues to Birch Bay residents, according to a recent survey distributed by the Birch Bay Steering Committee.

The survey, organized by the committee’s incorporation subcommittee along with Whatcom County planning staff and the regional planning firm Berk and Associates, found that of 402 respondents, nearly half said they felt that local control over how tax dollars are spent was “very important.” Even more (58 percent) said control over land use decisions was “very important.”

Respondents also indicated that Birch Bay is in need of a post office, library, school and more retail – especially a grocery store.

Committee chair Kathy Berg said the survey was sent to all addresses within the Birch Bay urban growth area (UGA), which encompasses 5,600 residences. Of those, 386 responded with completed surveys. More than a quarter of respondents were part-time residents and seven of those 114 live outside Washington or British Columbia the rest of the year.

Berg said the survey was not meant to gauge whether the community was in favor of incorporation but rather to gather information about residents’ questions about incorporation.

“We want to find out what people want to know so those issues are addressed,” she said.

Berk and Associates has scheduled a community forum for 7 p.m. Monday, December 3 at the Birch Bay Bible Community Church. The meeting will discuss preliminary results of the incorporation study and give residents a final chance to give their input.