Birch Bay pedestrian facility update: Rights of way watched closely during project planning

Published on Wed, Mar 20, 2013 by Ian Ferguson

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Many of those who live and own property along Birch Bay Drive will be watching closely how the county delineates and uses 
county rights of way (ROW) as the Birch Bay Drive and Pedestrian Facility project moves forward. Recently released aerial images from engineers show part of the ROW corridor and in some places it clearly extends into the front lawns of abutting property owners.

However, as county executive Jack Louws pointed out, just because the ROW exists doesn’t mean the county will use it. Louws explained the history and function of ROW, and of the Birch Bay Drive ROW, specifically in a letter to the public. The full text of Louws’ letter is published below.

The Whatcom County Public Works department released the aerial image in the first project newsletter March 18. According to the newsletter, the project is under contract negotiations with a design consultant for preliminary engineering, and construction is anticipated to begin in spring 2014.

County surveyors will be in the area staking the existing county ROW over the next couple of weeks, and additional ROW acquisition may be required along portions of Birch Bay Drive. The public works department plans on sending periodic newsletter updates to area property owners during key project milestones.

The county road engineer will give a presentation to interested members of the public and the Whatcom County Council Public Works, Health and Safety committee regarding the existing Birch Bay Drive right of way in the Whatcom County Courthouse council chambers Tuesday, March 26 at 1:30 p.m. Anyone with questions is encouraged to call public works at 360/715-7450.