BELLINGHAM - Neighbors of a proposed apartment complex for almost 600 college students say they want more information about the project that some of them learned about just a week ago.
They will get their first opportunity at a public meeting Thursday, Jan. 3.
A national developer of student housing plans to build 164 apartments in four buildings at Nevada Street and Consolidation Avenue, on the south end of Puget neighborhood. The 11-acre property is zoned for apartments but is surrounded by houses. The site is immediately behind a row of homes on Nevada Street, north of Consolidation.
Residents within 300 feet of the site's boundaries received notices about the project in the mail around Dec. 21.
Some residents have said there doesn't appear to be a sufficient buffer between the houses and the proposed project, although the zoning allows for a complex on such scale.
The property is on a hillside, and residents below would likely have the greatest impacts, said Mary Chaney, president of Puget Neighborhood Association.
The complex will be designed to channel traffic to the west, down the hill to Lincoln Street and a large park-and-ride lot, according to the developer's one-page description of the project, posted on the Puget neighborhood blog.
Chaney said drainage, traffic and noise are likely to be among neighbors' concerns.
"And general hubbub - the kind of behavior we get from some student rentals," she said.
Residents higher on the hill, on Puget Street, probably would appreciate the improved views, after many of the trees on the lot are removed for the development, she said.
There were other reasons to look at the project favorably, Chaney said. Based on an initial meeting with the developer, the apartments look better than other types of housing that could be built there.
Management will keep noise and rowdy behavior under control around the clock, Chaney said she was told at the meeting.
Bellingham engineering firm Ronald T. Jepson and Associates, local representative for developer Ambling University Development Group, did not comment for this story before deadline.
The apartments, with 576 beds, would be furnished, and rents would not be cheap, Chaney said.
"It sounds like an upper-end project for students who are serious about school and whose parents can afford it," she said.
Besides Thursday's meeting, there will be other opportunities for public comment, said Kathy Bell, a city planner. The developer must apply for multiple permits and submit to an environmental review.
Without permit applications in hand, Bell said more details about the project weren't available. She did say the developer is likely to extend Consolidation Avenue a short distance to the east.
The neighborhood association wants a trail built from the east end of Consolidation to Puget Street, Bell and Chaney said.
ATTEND THE MEETING
What: Information for neighbors of proposed student housing complex
When: 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 3
Where: Carl Cozier Elementary School, 1330 Lincoln St., Bellingham.
More information: pugetneighborhood.blogspot.com.
Reach RALPH SCHWARTZ at email@example.com or call 715-2298.