The previous Blog suggested some additional actions that may be considered under Bellingham's Moratorium.
Here are some specific ideas that were left incomplete from the adoption of the Silver Beach Ordinance, better known now as BMC 16.80 -Lake Whatcom Reservoir Regulatory Chapter.
Readers may recall the 28 categories listed below, some of which had multiple IDEAS for consideration.
21 of these IDEAS were 'AGREED TO' by the Task Force.
This summarizes the 30 remaining potential actions that the City could decide to consider again.
Some of this is dated material which may have already been addressed, and the list is probably not as comprehensive as it could become, but it is a starting point that can be built on.
[Note: A complete listing is contained in the Task Force Minutes which appears in my 12/4/07 Blog]
Category 1. SCIENCE
#1- Perhaps the community can now agree that the SCIENCE proves there is a problem!
Category 2. PUBLIC EDUCATION (3)
It has already been AGREED1 that PIE efforts should be expanded, and AGREED2 that they should have a high priority.
#2- Perhaps the community can now also agree that these efforts can have a significant influence in solving watershed problems?
Category 3. MORATORIUM (1)
#3- Now that the TMDL Study has been released, perhaps the community can understand that a moratorium is needed for the purpose of a strong management response to DOE's warning?
Category 4. COMPREHENSIVE PLAN (1)
#4- Perhaps the community will now understand why the Comp Plan needs to have strong policy language on the Reservoir protection issue?
Note that stronger language has already been incorporated into our Comp Plan, but additional strengthening may be desirable.
Category 5. NEIGHBORHOOD PLAN (1)
#5- Perhaps the ENTIRE Silver Beach neighborhood will now better understand its crucial role in Reservoir protection?
Note that strong efforts to update the Silver Beach NH Plan were undertaken by the Neighborhood Association in 2007, but these were largely thwarted by those still in denial that the Reservoir faces serious challenges that will require the best efforts of all citizens to mitigate.
Neighborhood Plans are also part of the Comprehensive Plan and should represent what is considered important to each neighborhood.
Category 6. DENSITY/MINIMUM LOT SIZE (2)
It has already been AGREED3 that minimum lot size is needed.
#6- Perhaps the community can now consider whether lot consolidations should be allowed.
Category 7. TRANSFER OF DEVELOPMENT RIGHTS (TDRs) (1)
It has already been AGREED4 that TDRs are a useful concept, but implementation has been poor.
Now it is time to make this mechanism work the way it can, by designating sufficient RECEIVING areas.
Category 8. BUILDING SETBACKS & PARKING REQUIREMENTS (2)
It has already been AGREED5 to reduce setbacks.
#7- Tandem parking was also considered and has been subsequently allowed in some instances.
Category 9. PERMITTED/CONDITIONAL USES (4)
It has already been AGREED6 to reduce livestock uses.
#8- Perhaps its time to consider whether to further restrict or expand permitted uses.
#9- Perhaps its time to consider whether to further restrict or expand conditional uses.
#10- Perhaps its time to consider whether to further restrict or expand permitted ADUs.
Category 10. SUBDIVISION CODE (1)
It has already been AGREED7 to allow careful cluster development.
Category 11. STREET STANDARDS (4)
It has already been AGREED8 to allow narrower ROWs on thru streets & cul-de-sacs.
It has already been AGREED9 to allow narrower ROWs on Full Standard streets.
It has already been AGREED10 to allow sidewalks on only one-side of streets.
It has already been AGREED11 to allow narrower sidewalks & the use of pervious materials.
Category 12. OPERATING ORDINANCES, SEPA, CLEARING, GRADING, STORMWATER (4)
It has already been AGREED12 to not allow filling without a permit.
It has already been AGREED13 for single lots to comply with strict stormwater regulations.
#11- Perhaps its time to consider whether more stringent SEPA reviews should be required in the watershed.
#12- Perhaps its time to consider whether to allow clearing in the watershed without a valid building permit.
Category 13. WETLAND & STREAM ORDINANCE (2)
#13- Perhaps its time to consider whether more stringent Wetland and Stream buffers should be used.
#14- Perhaps its time to consider whether more stringent Dock restrictions should be adopted.
Category 14. SHORELINE MASTER PLAN (2)
It has already been AGREED14 that residential shoreline setbacks should be increased where feasible.
#15- Perhaps its time to consider whether more stringent Bulkhead restrictions should be adopted.
Category 15. IMPERVIOUS LIMITS (1)
#16- Perhaps its time to consider whether reduced impervious limits should be adopted, with or without additional requirements.
Category 16. ADDITIONS & REMODELS (2)
#17- Perhaps its time to consider whether new impervious additions or remodels to existing homes that already exceed impervious limits should allowed.
#18- Perhaps its time to consider whether reconstruction be allowed for damage due to fire, regardless of impervious area.
Category 17. PERVIOUS SURFACE LIMITS (1)
It has already been AGREED15 that having some limits on non-vegetated, pervious systems is desirable.
Category 18. TRANSFER OF IMPERVIOUS CREDITS (1)
It has already been AGREED16 that having some mechanism to earn additional impervious credits is desirable.
Category 19. FLEXIBLE INCENTIVES (1)
It has already been AGREED17 that having flexible incentives to earn additional impervious credits, while maintaining lake protection goals, is desirable.
Category 20. NATIVE VEGETATION & LANDSCAPING (2)
#19- Perhaps its time to consider whether some native vegetation or landscape requirement for single lots is desirable.
#20- Perhaps its time to consider whether some lawn area limits on single lots is desirable.
Category 21. VEGETATION MANAGEMENT (1)
#21- Perhaps its time to consider whether the use of pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers should be restricted.
Category 22. SEASONAL CONSTRUCTION LIMITS (3)
#22- Perhaps its time to consider whether additional seasonal limits on ground disturbance would be desirable.
#23- Perhaps its time to consider whether the current earthwork exemption area of 500 sq.ft. is desirable.
#24- Perhaps its time to consider whether reconstruction due to damage should be allowed off-season.
Category 23. CONSTRUCTION PRACTICES (3)
It has already been AGREED18 that requiring certification to do construction work, even in season, is desirable.
#25- Perhaps its time to consider whether construction practices with little or no probable impact should be permitted off-season.
#26- Perhaps its time to consider whether contractors that complete construction BMP course/certification can work off-season.
Category 24. FEES/ASSESSMENTS (2)
#27- Perhaps its time to consider whether all water users should pay for stormwater impact remediation in the watershed.
#28- Perhaps its time to consider whether stormwater fees should remain on a flat rate per ERU basis.
Category 25. PUBLIC WATERSHED LAND ACQUISITION IN THE WATERSHED (4)
It has already been AGREED19 that that public land acquisition should be either an essential, or a helpful, part of lake watershed management.
It has already been AGREED20 that City money should be used for public land acquisition in the watershed.
It has already been AGREED21 that use of funding from all available sources is desirable.
#29- Perhaps its time to consider purchasing priorities again.
Category 26. ENFORCEMENT (1)
It has already been AGREED22 that enforcement should be firm, focussing on intent, and yield effective results.
Category 27. BENCHMARK/EFFECTIVENESS OF ACTIONS
#30- Perhaps its time to consider establishing better Benchmarks to evaluate the effectiveness of watershed protection efforts.
Category 28. ONGOING ADVISORY/STAKEHOLDER GROUP (1)
It has already been AGREED23 that an ongoing stakeholders group should remain empowered to advise Council on watershed issues.
All of these ideas will be helpful to some degree, but many will also be controversial and difficult to administer and enforce.
The TMDL Study should provide a good incentive to implement as many new measures as possible.
Other initiatives, like the consolidation of Water & Sewer services in the watershed, the establishment of a Joint County-City Management Team, the creation of new Stormwater entities and funding, the consideration of the DNR Reconveyance of forest lands for parks, promotion of the Watershed Stewards program, water metering, monitoring for fecal coliform at swimming areas, enforcement of watercraft rules, limitations on exempt wells, inspection of septic systems and the like should all be seen as other useful parts of the massive effort needed to preserve the Lake Whatcom Reservoir.
Time is not on our side in this endeavor, and any notion of complacency needs to be firmly ad continuously reckoned with!
Informed citizens MUST be a big part of this effort!