Public hearing to address Gateway stormwater pond project


A public hearing will be held concerning the Gateway Regional Storm Facility, a stormwater pond that is currently under construction near the Gateway parcel, also known as the old municipal airport site.

Following the public hearing, the city of Blaine intends “to assess a part of the cost and expense of those improvements against the property in that district specially benefited thereby,” according to the city’s notice of the public hearing. This would be achieved through the formation of a Local Improvement District (LID), a method by which property owners within a defined geographical area can finance an improvement benefiting their property.

The public hearing will take place on Tuesday, November 12 at 6 p.m. in Blaine Council Chambers located at 435 Martin Street. The hearing is being held pursuant to Resolution 1778-19, which was adopted on October 14.

The property owners who own pieces of the Gateway parcel and would be affected by the LID include Yorkston Oil Company, Mercer, Chuckanut Bay Foods and IK Truck Repair. The final two pieces of the Gateway property are currently being sold to Family Care Network and the White-Leasure Development Company, but those transactions are not yet final so the city of Blaine is currently still responsible for their portion of the $3 million project.

To help pay for the project, the city received an $883,227 grant from the Whatcom County Economic Development Investment Project and a loan in the amount of $1,766,454. The city has agreed to contribute $350,000 to pay for a portion of the improvements. If the LID is formed, “the cost of the improvements not covered by the grant and the city’s contribution, estimated to be $1,766,667, shall be borne by and assessed against the property specially benefited by such improvements,” reads Resolution 1778-19.

The Gateway Regional Storm Facility project dates back to 2009, but was delayed as a result of the recession, during which few buyers expressed an interest in acquiring pieces of the former municipal airport property. The purpose of the project is to provide a regional facility for the stormwater requirements for new development, said Blaine public works director Ravyn Whitewolf.

The project will construct a large stormwater pond to serve the Gateway properties, so that the property owners do not have to construct their own individual ponds. “It means the city has a better handle on the maintenance of the facility and its compliance with permits,” said Whitewolf. “It also allows for these properties to have their full square footage for development instead of taking square footage for a pond.”

The stormwater pond is currently under construction between Boblett Court and Pipeline Road, southeast of IK Truck Repair. The design consultant for the project is Reichhardt & Ebe Engineering, Inc. and the construction firm is Stremler Gravel.

Construction will pause over the winter and resume early next year. “We’ll start back again when conditions are better,” said Whitewolf. “It’s been too wet to get done what we wanted to get done.” Whitewolf estimated that construction could be completed by next May.

This pond will have a two “cells.” The first separates sediment from stormwater, which then goes into the second cell for storage before it is released into Cain Creek and out into Semiahmoo Bay through the existing stormwater system. Such ponds are necessary whenever development occurs. “If you have a site that’s all grass and dirt, the ground can receive some of that rainwater,” said Whitewolf. “But when you cover it with pavement and buildings, that rainwater doesn’t absorb into the ground.”

After the LID is formed, there will be another public hearing for the assessment against the participating property owners, said Whitewolf.


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