City council to vote again on ordinance to acquire private property in east Blaine

Published on Fri, Dec 9, 2011 by Jeremy Schwartz

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Due to an address error, Blaine City Council will once again have to vote on an ordinance allowing the city to acquire two parcels of private property in east Blaine.

At its December 12 meeting, city council will vote to start condemnation proceedings on two parcels north of H Street between Harvey Road and the proposed Grandis Pond development. City council originally voted 6-1, with council member John Liebert opposed, to acquire the property on October 10.

Robert D. Martin Family, LLC, owns the property, but the notice that the October 10 ordinance was passed was mistakenly sent to Robert Martin’s personal address, not the LLC’s legal representation, said Jon Sitkin, the attorney representing the city of Blaine. The notice needs to be sent to the correct address, so city council must approve the ordinance with this change made.

Sitkin does not expect the council vote to be much different this time around, since the address change was the only alteration to the ordinance. The council meeting will not include a public hearing on this specific ordinance but will include the usual public comment period at the beginning of the meeting at which community members are welcome to speak on any topic.

On December 2, Whatcom County Council member Barbara Brenner sent a letter to Blaine City Council imploring them not to pass the ordinance to acquire the Martin property. She wrote that a vote of approval would lead Blaine residents to mistrust their city government, and that she is prepared to help Martin raise the necessary funds to legally contest the city’s condemnation actions.

“In the end, if the city council moves ahead with eminent domain, it will cost Blaine city government much more in the future as more residents realize they have no voice without a considerable amount of money,” Brenner wrote. “That would certainly cause residents to have less confidence about being part of the city of Blaine.”

Click here to read Brenner’s letter.

Blaine public works staff plan to carve a 30-foot-wide, 2,700-foot-long corridor through the two Martin properties in east Blaine under which sewer lines will be built. Staff determined this corridor, as a way to extend utilities to east Blaine, will have the least negative impact on surrounding property owners.

The city council meeting will start at 6 p.m. on Monday, December 12, in the Blaine City Council chambers. Click here for the council’s full agenda for that evening.


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