Meeting to focus on Birch Bay UGA

Published on Thu, Mar 19, 2009 by Tara Nelson

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New estimates from the Whatcom County planning department suggest the county can expect as many as 44,000 to 68,000 more residents and as many as 37,000 new jobs during the next two decades. Where all that growth is going to go and how development will be planned, however, is the topic of discussion during a series of upcoming meetings beginning next week.

The first in a series of three Whatcom County 2031 Regional Growth Alternatives workshops is scheduled from 7 to 9 p.m. Monday, March 23 at the Birch Bay Bible Community Church at 7309 Jackson Road.
County planner Kate Koch says the meeting will discuss countywide growth issues as well as issues specifically facing the Birch Bay community during the next 20 years. Participants will be asked how they feel the county can best manage future growth and how to direct growth away from rural areas and toward urban communities.

“What’s great about these meetings is that they’re covering the overall process but we’re also having one in Birch Bay specifically to work on that area’s issues,” she said.

County planning director Gary Davis said planning officials will use input from the workshops to review urban growth areas (UGAs).

“A big topic among UGAs surrounding cities now is finding the right amount of projected growth that can be allocated,” Davis said. “The county is going to be in the process of choosing not only an overall number for growth in the county but working with the cities to determine how that should be allocated or how big a piece of pie goes to each.”

Two other meetings are scheduled this month. They are scheduled for Tuesday, March 24 at the Bellingham public library at 210 Central Avenue from 9 to 11 a.m., and at Meridian high school at 194 W. Laurel Road in Bellingham from 7 to 9 p.m. For more information, call Kate Koch at 360/676-6907, email pds@co.whatcom.wa.us, or www.co.whatcom.wa.us/pds/2031.