Local developer plans 1,200-space parking lot near Bellingham airport

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDMay 5, 2014 

bellingham airport parking

The parking lot at the Bellingham International Airport is packed April 18, 2012. Derek Stebner of Bellingham-based Sage-wood Holdings plans to build a 1,200-space lot just south of the airport, on undeveloped, forested property at the southeast corner of Airport Drive and Canterbury Lane.

PHILIP A. DWYER — THE BELLINGHAM HERALD Buy Photo

BELLINGHAM - To meet the demand for parking near Bellingham International Airport, a local developer plans to build a 1,200-space lot just south of the airport.

He's got a few paperwork hurdles to overcome first.

Derek Stebner of Bellingham-based Sage-wood Holdings would build the parking lot on undeveloped, forested property at the southeast corner of Airport Drive and Canterbury Lane. The state Department of Ecology seeks comments on Stebner's application for a water-quality certificate.

The lot would be built over 2.86 acres of wetlands. The application says Stebner would compensate for the lost habitat areas by purchasing credits from a Lummi Nation wetland "bank."

Whatcom County's planning department is considering an application that addresses the parking lot's environmental impacts. Planning officials couldn't say when they would complete that review because this was the first application they had seen that included Lummi wetland credits.

The parking lot is scheduled to be built in 2015 at a cost of about $2 million, according to the application with the state. Stebner declined to comment on the project, saying it was too early in the permitting process.

The lot will offer short- and long-term parking, and a shuttle to the terminal, according to the state application.

The state is accepting comments through May 31 at ecyrefedpermits@ecy.wa.gov; or Department of Ecology - SEA Program, Federal Project Coordinator, P.O. Box 47600, Olympia, WA 98504.

After double-digit growth in prior years, the number of passengers going through Bellingham's airport leveled off in 2013 and is not expected to increase much this year. Still, developers say the demand for parking spaces is not being met.

Another lot with 24-hour shuttle service opened recently at 3909 Bennett Drive. The Barlean family of Ferndale, known for health-food products, opened Bellingham Park n Fly in partnership with Diamond Parking of Seattle.

Reach Ralph Schwartz at 360-715-2289 or ralph.schwartz@bellinghamherald.com. Read his Politics blog at bellinghamherald.com/politics-blog or get updates on Twitter at @bhampolitics.

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