Bellingham Neighbors Critical of Proposed Student-Housing Complex

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Developers of a 164-unit student housing complex in a residential part of the Puget neighborhood have asked if they can exceed the height limit. Neighbors have taken the opportunity to express concerns that go well beyond building height.

The city's hearing examiner will consider the developer's request at a hearing at 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 20, at City Hall, 210 Lottie St.

Two of the four apartment buildings need to be 58 feet tall to fully develop the 11-acre property while keeping more open space and staying clear of wetlands, according to the height-variance application submitted on Feb. 8. The height limit in the neighborhood is 35 feet.

Bellingham-based Ronald T. Jepson and Associates, the local agent for the developer, said the project at 4413 Consolidation Ave. will have minimal impact on the neighborhood and in fact will improve the view of neighbors living to the east, higher up the hill, because trees will be removed for construction.

The downhill neighbors in the vicinity of Nevada Street have sent most of the critical comments to the city's department of Planning and Community Development. Their concerns range from added traffic on inadequate roads and increased storm runoff to excessive partying among the hundreds of new college-age neighbors and their friends.

The project site and the surrounding area are zoned for apartments, but the neighborhood primarily has single-family homes.

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