County may rezone more land in Birch Bay

Published on Wed, Sep 21, 2011 by Jeremy Schwartz

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Nearly 500 acres of land in Birch Bay could be rezoned to allow more homes per acre if the Whatcom County Council approves the changes.

The council will consider an ordinance at its September 27 meeting that would rezone 470 acres of land along the western portion of Drayton Harbor Road from one house per 10 acres (R10) to one house per 5 acres (R5). The section of land is bordered by Lincoln Road to the south, Harborview Road to the east, Drayton Harbor Road to the north and stretches just past Shintaffer Road to the west.

The rezone, if approved, could result in 38 more parcels. According to county planning staff, 72 percent of the parcels in the area are 10 acres or more in size, while 64 of the 87 parcels are five acres or less.

At its July 28 meeting, the Whatcom County Planning Commission voted 5-3 with one planning commissioner absent to recommend the zoning change to the county council. According to the minutes of the planning commission meeting, three property owners in the area showed up to express their support for the rezone, citing their frustration with a 2009 county council vote that stripped the land of its four homes per acre zoning (UR4) and made it R10.

Whatcom County Council member Sam Crawford submitted the request to change the current zoning in March citing multiple complaints from landowners in the area. County planning staff advised the commission to recommend the zoning change to the county council, saying the rural character of the area will be protected by existing development standards, which include special regulations due to the land’s proximity to Drayton Harbor.