Challenges to Whatcom County’s Rural Zoning

New parties have launched challenges to rural zoning and policy changes  approved by the County Council in May. The city of Bellingham is one of the  challengers.

The council on May 10 approved a major update to rural zoning and growth  policies. The package of changes included designating areas that aren’t  considered “rural” under state law, allowing them to grow as they historically  have, but restricting their ability to expand. Examples include Nugents Corner,  Hinote’s Corner, Acme, and land along Guide Meridian.


























































































































































































































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Whatcom County retail sales on the rebound

The Bellingham Herald reported today that retail spending in Whatcom County stores is nearly back to pre-recession  levels, and it appears Canadian shoppers are a big reason for the rebound.

Overall Whatcom County retail sales in the first quarter of 2011 totaled  $657.7 million, a 3.6 percent increase compared to the same period in 2010,  according to data released by the Washington State Department of Revenue.

Whatcom’s increase was higher than the state average of 1.5 percent.  Bellingham had a particularly strong increase in overall retail sales, rising  6.9 percent to $446.4 million.

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Whatcom County home prices see slight rise.

July 6th, 2011

The median price of a Whatcom County home sold between April and June was $253,000, up 1.2 percent compared to the same period in 2010, according to data collected by Lylene Johnson of The Muljat Group. Johnson noted the median price of homes sold by real estate agents each month hasn’t strayed far up or down from the $250,000 mark in the past 18 months. The most significant increases in home prices took place in Lynden and Ferndale, which are also the communities experiencing some activity in new home construction, Johnson said.

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City Council approves plastic bag ban

BELLINGHAM – The City Council voted 7-0 on Monday, July 11, to approve an  ordinance that will ban most plastic shopping bags within the city.

The ordinance takes effect one year after it becomes law. What are your thoughts on this!

I’d appreciate your opinions.


Read more:

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Obama’s Housing Chief says now’s the time to buy

Housing prices have  hit rock bottom and the economic climate is prime to purchase a home, said Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan.In an interview broadcast Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Donovan said declining foreclosure rates make him hopeful, adding that it is “very unlikely we see a significant further decline.”

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Pending Home Sales Turn Around In May

Pending home sales rose strongly in May with all regions
experiencing gains from a year ago, pointing to higher housing activity in the
second half of the year, according to the National Association of

The Pending Home Sales Index rose
8.2 percent to 88.8 in May from an upwardly revised 82.1 in April and is 13.4
percent higher than the 78.3 reading in May 2010. The data reflects contracts
but not closings, which normally occur with a lag time of one or two

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Gateway Pacific, Cherry Pt. terminal, needs new permit

Developers of the Gateway Pacific Terminal must apply for an entirely new  shoreline permit if they want to build a facility capable of handling up to 54  million tons of cargo a year, including coal.

The decision from Whatcom County planners deals a setback to SSA Marine of  Seattle, which proposes to build the terminal at Cherry Point, west of  Ferndale.

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Big decisions expected by County on Cherry Pt. Cargo Terminal

Although the Gateway Pacific Terminal project faces years of regulatory  scrutiny, the coal and bulk cargo pier proposed for Cherry Point faces a key  regulatory decision in the next few days: the validity of a 1997 shoreline  permit issued by Whatcom County. Be watching, as this further enfolds throughout the week. Both sides of the issue will be expressing their views of the earlier granting of the permit.



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New Park Pass for State Parks

Think budget deficits won’t effect you? Come July 1, it’s going to cost you to play on state-owned lands. That’s when the Discover Pass, basically a parking permit, will be  required for vehicle access to state recreation lands or water-access sites  managed by Washington State Parks, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife,  and Washington state Department of Natural Resources. The pass went on sale June 15th. The annual pass will cost $30.





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Fannie Mae broadens foreclosure sales incentives

Between now and the end of October, buyers who purchase a foreclosed home listed on the company’s HomePath website can receive up to 3.5 percent of the final sales price to use toward closing costs.The incentives only apply when a buyer is going to live in the property, not in the case of investor buyers.The HomePath website only includes properties that are owned by Fannie Mae, which buys home loans from banks and other lenders, packages them into bonds with a guarantee against default and sells them to investors around the world. In addition to the sales incentives, buyers of the Fannie Mae properties may also be eligible for mortgage and renovation financing, which gives homebuyers the opportunity to buy with only a 3 percent down payment.

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