The following comment by “Driftwood” was left on my blog entry of yesterday (20 Aug) entitled Design Charrette? Sunnyland Beware. It was just too good to leave buried as a comment so I am reproducing it here. Any further comment by me would be polishing the hole.
"After attending the "Design Charrette" or "Poop Wagon" it seemed to me that the design firm hired by the city might as well been working for the developer directly. The proposal they submitted may not have been the highest density possible, I suppose we could fit a few more people on there if we stacked them like cordwood, but they had 48 units squeezed onto the lot! This does not fit into the existing community, the Sunnyland residents seemed to think that about half that number, anywhere from 24 to 29 units was a reasonable compromise, the developer wanted 49 units...what a coincidence! If the design firm was unbiased and impartial how did they arrive at such an inflated figure and why did they totally ignore the input from the current residents? Are we paying these folks or is the developer?
They presented an impressive bunch of diagrams, illustrations and color pictures that I must admit, were very pretty...there were just too many of them! The folks that did the presentation were personable and friendly but that doesn't mask the fact that they were trying to fit too many houses into too small a space. Who stands to gain from this whole project and who stands to lose...that is obvious. The developers interest lies in placing as many townhomes, duplexes, and cottages as possible onto the property, more money for him and I suppose he can get away from it all with an nice big Mc Mansion in Montana perhaps complete with a big log arch over the driveway to drive his Hummer under. We, the residents of Sunnyland, who purchased our homes in this neighborhood for the character of the area will bear the brunt of the project if it goes forward as currently proposed.
The design firm indicated that each unit would have parking for 1.5 vehicles, great...what about when they have visitors or what if they have more than one vehicle per household, and who has half a car anyway?! Where will the overflow parking go since they want to build with such density? My guess is they will park out into the surrounding neighborhood and you will find yourself parking a block and a half from your house and the effect will cascade down thru the area, so, even if you don't live immediately adjacent to this conglomeration, plan on seeing strange cars parked in front of your home. They didn't address the impact of all the new traffic on the area and the intersection at Sunset and James already experiences backups quite often, a lot of this traffic will be forced into the neighborhood to the south meaning more traffic thru what right now is a wonderful, quiet residential area. Zoom, Zoom.
One nice woman, whom, I'm sure was offering accurate advice, told us that we needed to draw up our own pictures and presentation to offer the city council since "they really liked that!" The developer has the resources to hire professional artists and draftsmen to come up with some really flashy visual aides to wow the council...although he really doesn't have to since the folks hired by the city seem to have achieved that already. Why should we have to convince OUR elected representatives to do the right thing for the neighborhood? Ideally a lot of folks would like to see the same number of homes go up on the site as already exist in it's surroundings in order to preserve the character of the community, the value of their homes, and the quality of life, but, we recognize that for the good of Bellingham and it's environs and to avoid sprawl and maintain our open space we need infill, but it needs to be done correctly balancing the needs of the current residents, newcomers, and the property owner...the proposal as it stands now needs to be revised, 48 units is not a compromise, we know when it's not rain that’s falling on us."