Brian Calder and Tommy O’Brien have formed a new group, the Point Roberts Independent Business Council (PRIBC). Their mission statement can be found here: bit.ly/2yLKiQK.
PRIBC is calling for the repeal of Section 20.72 of the Whatcom County Code – and is asking community members to sign a petition in support. Several dozen residents and businesses have indeed signed on – perhaps without appreciating the impact of such a move.
Section 20.72, also known as the Point Roberts Special District, is “An overlay zone which imposes additional controls and creates opportunities not available in the underlying zone districts to fit the needs of Point Roberts. This district is designed to protect the rural character of Point Roberts while allowing opportunities for community growth and self-reliance.” The full text can be found here: bit.ly/31xloRv.
The move to repeal 20.72 is deeply problematical for several reasons that the members of PRIBC and the signers of the petition may not know about.
First, without 20.72 we wouldn’t have won the nearly three-year fight to block the radio tower array that was slated to be built at the corner of Tyee Drive and McKenzie Way. There is a height restriction in 20.72, which, as the judge ruled, takes precedence over other regulations, including those of the federal communications commission. If 20.72 were repealed, we would lose our protection against similarly inappropriate projects.
Second, PRIBC’s material maintains that the regulations in 20.72 hamper the economic development of Point Roberts. There is no evidence of any business failing to open because of the regulations contained in 20.72. There are myriad reasons why economic development is difficult here, but 20.72 isn’t one of them. There are aspects of 20.72, in particular those that were appended from the character plan, that create problems but these are being addressed by the Point Roberts Community Advisory Committee (PRCAC).
Third, PRCAC has almost completed its mission to revise 20.72 and make recommendations to council for code scrubs and text amendments. It would be folly to repeal the current version of 20.72 at this time and similarly inappropriate to undertake a business development study before PRCAC has finished its efforts.
To be clear, we support having an independent economic development study that can make sensible recommendations for changes in the Whatcom County Code but not until after PRCAC has filed their report and council has acted.
Arthur S. Reber
Suzanne M. Rosser
I am concerned by the effort of the Point Roberts Independent Business Council (PRIBC) to eliminate WCC 20.72 (Point Roberts Special District) and surprised by the level of support PRIBC claims to have received.
WCC 20.72 is far from perfect, arguably out of date, but probably not a serious detriment to economic development in Point Roberts. In any case, there is a major effort going on right now by PRCAC to thoroughly review and revise 20.72 to better serve today’s needs and preferences in Point Roberts, including reducing any undue restrictions hindering economic growth.
Why in the world would we want to eliminate an existing mechanism that allows us to have special Point Roberts-specific restrictions and regulations of our choosing, and instead fall exclusively under general cookie-cutter, county-wide regulations, over which we have little control? We will probably never be in a position to incorporate Point Roberts. Instead, I favor at least keeping and strengthening any mechanisms and special provisions we can in order to enhance our own self-determination and local options.
Fix 20.72 as needed; don’t repeal it.
The Editor and State Representative Sharon Shewmake and Councilmember Barry Buchanan:
Thank you for attending last night’s taxpayer’s forum in Point Roberts.
I appreciate your open-minded response to my question, “Would you support a serious offer from the government of Canada to purchase Point Roberts?”
Despite some sophomoric catcalls of “Trump” and “Greenland” from a few audience members, I can assure you that purchase of Point Roberts by Canada is a serious proposal. It was raised at a taxpayer’s meeting over one year ago. Personally, I had private discussions with an elected Member of the Legislative Assembly in Canada nearly two years ago.
The common thread is that all elected officials on both sides of the border have been receptive to the principle of allowing the voters of Point Roberts to decide their own destiny.
There are persuasive economic reasons that Point Roberts should become a part of Canada. Our five square miles are contiguous with the Canadian peninsula in Delta.
Point Roberts has no strategic or commercial value to the United States.
The artificial constraint of a border crossing is killing the economy of Point Roberts and will continue to do so until the Point becomes part of Canada. These are the facts from someone who has lived in Point Roberts since 1993. No amount of continued artificial economic stimulus from Whatcom County will change this. You can observe the effects of economic isolation by taking a drive around the Point. Businesses are closed. Restaurants are closed. The marina is bankrupt. The golf course is struggling. The middle class is gone.
Once the benefits for the 1,300 permanent American residents on the Point are negotiated and environmental and zoning safeguards are in place, every person in last night’s audience will support eliminating the border that separates Point Roberts from Canada.
Thank you for making the 100-mile round trip from Bellingham and attending last night’s meeting in Point Roberts.
And thank you for the courtesy of listening with an open mind.
Very soon, coastal district 5 residents will choose our representative on Whatcom County Council. For me, that choice is clear.
Natalie McClendon has the experience and temperament to be a productive council member from day one. Her two terms on the Whatcom County Planning Commission have prepared her for the most important issues facing us.
Among her priorities are affordable housing, rural broadband, family wage jobs, a healthy environment and transition to a clean energy economy. Water, one of our county’s biggest challenges, is something she has studied deeply. She will work to ensure that families, fish and farms all get their fair share of that most precious resource.
Natalie is seasoned and thoughtful, and a good listener who is committed to public communication. As council member, she will keep us, her constituents, fully informed. We are fortunate to have her on the ballot. Let’s put her on the council.
Thank you to everyone who came out to the third annual Rory’s Ride! I feel beyond grateful to have such amazing friends, family, and community that came together to support such a great cause so close to my heart.
Losing my dad was the worst thing imaginable to have happen to our family, but having the support from the Nancy Chan Palliative Care Clinic near the end of his life was vital. They supported and cared for my dad in ways we weren’t able to. They ensured he was comfortable and cared for at our home. But more than anything, they gave us the opportunity to step aside as caregivers and simply enjoy the last few months with our dad.
Ensuring every family who is in need of this support is able to access the care they deserve is crucial. With all your support we were able to raise over $11,000 for the Nancy Chan Palliative Care Clinic.
A big thank you to all the riders, volunteers and our amazing sponsors – the event wouldn’t have been possible without you. Can’t wait to see you all next year!