Busy month as PRCAC considers zoning and priorities

By Meg Olson

The Point Roberts Community Advisory Committee (PRCAC) will hold two special meetings in March in addition to its regular meeting as the newly minted board sets its course for the year and honors its commitment to rewrite local zoning.

At their February 20 meeting PRCAC members selected at-large member Linda Hughes as chair and new at-large member Stephen Falk as secretary. Steve Wolf joined the committee as a new representative from the Point Roberts Taxpayers’ Association and Tessa Pinkston is representing the Point Roberts Registered Voters’ Association. David Gellatly continues as representative from the chamber of commerce.

PRCAC will hold a special meeting Saturday, March 9 at the Gulf Road community center at 9:30 a.m. “The meeting is to accept input from the community regarding any changes that people would either like to see or are opposed to seeing vis a vis WCC 20.72. (the Point Roberts Special District portion of Whatcom County Code),” Gellatly said. “The train of thought is that most non-resident property owners cannot make it to weekday meetings, so we thought that a Saturday morning meeting would perhaps encourage people to come out and make their views known.”

While a complete revision of the special district zoning is being considered in coming months, the change most recently on the table is the elimination of prohibited uses from the small town commercial zone along Gulf Road, opening the door for mini-storage, animal kennels, vehicle equipment storage and repair, as well as additional RV parks to locate there.

On Tuesday, March 19 at 6 p.m. the committee will hold another special meeting to determine their priorities for 2019. The list being considered by the committee includes a number of topics that were shifted to the back burner in 2018 as the community wrestled with changes to the garbage collection system: how to spend the gas tax, traffic safety, facilities at Lighthouse Marine park including the dock, economic development planning, trail maintenance at Lily Point and the possible replacement of the Maple Beach seawall. The committee was also approached in early 2019 to work on a potential project to restore the native vegetation and tree canopy along APA Road.

Efforts to get the “sliver tax,” or the portion of sales tax collected on mail order purchases shipped to a location that is able to be collected by local government, used for local projects is also on the list for 2019 priorities.

The city of Blaine derives a significant portion of its annual sales tax revenue from parcels delivered to shipping and receiving businesses in the city. According to Blaine finance director Jeffrey Lazenby, of the approximately $1.7 million in sales tax the city collected in 2017 $200,000 came from parcels delivered to addresses in the city. Point Roberts is home to several similar shipping businesses but currently the local sales tax collected from parcels delivered to them goes into county coffers.

Finally, PRCAC will hold its regular monthly meeting on Thursday, March 21 at 6 p.m. at the Gulf Road community center.

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