Developer planning 119 homes near King Mountain in Bellingham


BELLINGHAM - A developer plans to build 119 homes on 34 acres at the foot of King Mountain, on James Street north of East Kellogg Road.

The proposal, which will receive a public hearing with the city hearings examiner, includes 106 single-family homes on 14 acres, and multi-family units. About 10 acres are set aside as unbuilt open space or reserve tracts, under the city's option for clustering homes.

Developer Ralph Black seeks exceptions to the city code. He is asking for residential streets on a 50-foot-wide right of way rather than the standard 60 feet, and he wants to condense lots by reducing a setback by five feet.

The code variances will help the city meet its goal of maximizing residences on unused properties rather than expanding the city boundaries, according to the developer's application. The narrower streets, along with a request to build sidewalks on only one side of the streets, will reduce stormwater runoff, the application said.

A May 24 email from Bill Geyer, Black's planning consultant, to the city said the project includes a 75-foot buffer between any construction and nearby wetlands, 25 feet more than the city requires.

The developer anticipates occupancy of the homes by 2018, according to the application materials.

The city will take comments at the public hearing, which has yet to be scheduled. To prepare its recommendation on the project, city staff is taking written comments through June 12. Submit comments or get more information by emailing planner Kathy Bell at

Black has paid preliminary plat fees to the city totaling $14,706, according to a May 2 receipt on file with the Planning and Community Development Department. The developer also must pay a traffic impact fee, to go to road improvements needed to accommodate additional traffic created by the subdivision. A traffic study submitted as part of the application estimated the fee will be $299,075.

Reach Ralph Schwartz at 360-715-2289 or Read his Politics blog at or follow him on Twitter at @bhamheraldpolitics.

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