Friday, October 23, 2009

View video of City Council hearing on BSD's capital facilities plan

The portion of the Oct. 19 City Council meeting
hearing on capital facilities plan begins about half-way through the video.

In the end, the Bellingham City Council voted to have staff prepare an ordinance for the council to adopt by the end of the year. But the discussion by council members is important for the public to know about.

City Council members questioned the rate of growth used in the Bellingham School District's plan (which guides the district for the next six years), and questioned whether the district would be overbuilding infrastructure for an overly optimistic population estimate.

Louise Bjornson questioned if there was a plan to get rid of portables, and Assistant Superintendent Ron Cowan's response was, possibly, at Happy Valley and Birchwood elementaries ....

Stan Snapp asked why the district's plan didn't fit with the city's comprehensive plan, saying the city wants more infill, and noting that Wade King elementary doesn't feel like a neighborhood school. He also questioned if the planned Aldrich elementary could be a neighborhood school.

Cowan said he doesn't know how you would define a neighborhood, but the Aldrich site has a 300+ parcel possible development to the south, and a park to the north.
he refered to Parkview Elementary's 50th anniversary, and that when the school was built it looked like it was carved out of the forest ...

Mayor Pike said he'd like to work with the state to find alternative sites for new schools, so they wouldn't necessarily need to find 10 acre parcels. Bjornson noted that other cities might be interested in state changes too, because they value neighborhood schools too, that don't have 10 acres.

New links on this site, under "City of Bellingham documents," include the video of this meeting,and the meeting materials, which include minutes from the planning commission meeting Aug. 20 and written public comments.

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