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Street Vacation Petition of an unnamed east-west right-of-way north of Bakerview Road


Hearing Examiner #: HE-13-PL-033
Planning #:VAC2013-00001
Incident #:
Filing Date:09/13/2013
City Contact:Steve Sundin
Hearing Date: 10/23/2013
Description: Street Vacation Petition of an unnamed east-west right-of-way north of Bakerview Road
Decision Date: 11/06/2013
Decision Summary:Recommended to Council

This matter came before the Bellingham Hearing Examiner for hearing on the 23rd day of October, 2013 on the Petition of Harvey and Dixie Pottle; Richard Gray and Janis Barsetti; Jack and Myrtle Webster; the Merrick Estate; and Alfred and Elma Brown for the vacation of an unnamed right-of-way located north of West Bakerview Road between Dover Street (Arctic Avenue) and Pacific Highway.
Testimony was received from Steve Sundin, Planning and Community Development Department; and David Rogers, Costco Wholesale, Inc. representative.
In addition to the Bellingham Municipal Code and Comprehensive Plan, the following documents were considered as part of the record: See Exhibit List.
I. FINDINGS OF FACT
1. The owners of property abutting the un-named right-of-way north of West Bakerview Road between Dover Street (to be named Arctic Avenue) and Pacific Highway, Harvey and Dixie Pottle, Richard Gray and Janis Barsetti, Jack and Myrtle Webster, the Merrick Estate, and Alfred and Elma Brown, have petitioned for the vacation of the right-of-way.
2. The subject right-of-way is located within the Bakerview Gateway General Binding Site Plan #BSP2003-00008, Recorded May 16, 2005 under Auditor's File No. 205050277, and is legally described as shown in Attachment 1 to the Staff Report.
3. The subject right-of-way is located in Areas 3 and 5 of the Cordata Neighborhood. These areas are designated Commercial and Industrial.
4. The right-of-way proposed for vacation is 60 feet in width and approximately 630 feet in length. It contains approximately 37,720 square feet in area. It is currently undeveloped. It begins at the intersection with Dover Street and runs to the west, terminating at the boundary of the Binding Site Plan.
5. The subject right-of-way was required to be dedicated as a condition of approval of the Bakerview Gateway General Binding Site Plan, BSP2003-00008. It was intended to eventually connect Dover Street and Pacific Highway. Additional dedications would be required to connect to Pacific Highway to the west.
6. During review of an annexation proposal in the area, the City's Six-year Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) and potential future development other transportation linkages and alignments were identified that would provide better service and function.
7. Development of Arctic Avenue is listed as Project #13 on the City's TIP for 2014-2019.
8. Development of Mahogany Avenue (Division Road) connecting Pacific Highway and Northwest Road is listed as Project #17 in the TIP. Mahogany Avenue/Division Road is located to the north of the subject right-of-way.
9. Costco Wholesale, Inc. has submitted land use applications for the development of a new membership warehouse on the abutting properties. As part of the proposed development Costco Wholesale, Inc. would be required to dedicate and improve Arctic Avenue/Dover Street from West Bakerview Road north to Division Street/Mahogany Avenue. The Binding Site Plan would also be extinguished as part of the development process.
10. The new right-of-way to be dedicated between the existing intersection of Dover Street and the subject right-of-way north to Division Street/Mahogany Avenue, and additional width of Dover Street south to West Bakerview Road, would contain approximately 57,237 square feet in area.
11. The Technical Review Committee has considered the Petition for Vacation of the subject right-of-way and has determined that the right-of-way is not needed for current or future circulation purposes of the city.
12. Private utility providers were given notice of the vacation petition on October 1, 2013. No private utilities have notified the City of any facilities located within the subject right-of-way. The City has no public utilities located within this right-of-way.
13. Notice of Public Hearing for the proposed vacation was issued on October 2, 2013.
14. BMC 13.48 provides for street vacation petitions, appraisals, hearings and payment. The hearing in this matter was set by the City Council by Resolution on September 30, 2013. The Planning and Community Development Department Director determined that an appraisal was not needed to determine fair market value of the right-of-way proposed for vacation because a new right-of-way with greater area, in the immediate vicinity of the subject right-of-way would be dedicated in exchange for the vacation.
15. RCW 35.79 governs vacations of streets by cities. It establishes procedures for street vacation petitions, hearings, and payment and restricts vacations in cases where a majority of abutting property owners object or where the subject street abuts a body of water.
16. City Vacation Policies are set forth in the Staff Report.
17. The proposed vacation will not land-lock any parcel. All abutting parcels also abut another right-of-way.
18. The subject right-of-way does not abut a body of water.
19. The right-of-way does not lead to a park, open space, view, natural area or attraction. It abuts private property which is currently forested or developed with single-family residences. The abutting property is intended for Commercial or Industrial development. A small, isolated, depressional wetland, Wetland K, is located on the western edge of the subject right-of-way. This wetland is an abandoned agricultural pond approximately 3,000 square feet in area. It is a Category III wetland with a low habitat rating of 12.
20. Vacation of the right-of-way will facilitate development of the abutting property. The right-of-way bisects large parcels of land. Vacation facilitates full utilization of these parcels. The City's circulation needs will be better served by other alignments, including the proposed dedication and improvement of Arctic Avenue between West Bakerview Road and Division Street/Mahogany Avenue. The proposed vacation and dedication/street improvement offered in exchange for the vacation will serve the public good.
21. The vacation petition was signed by all abutting property owners.
22. No utilities are located within the right-of-way. Retention of utility easements is not necessary. Utilities and street improvements will be extended within the new Arctic Avenue right-of-way.
23. City staff recommends that no payment be required for the vacation other than the dedication/improvement of the new rights-of -way (Dover Street/Arctic Avenue).
II. CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
1. All procedural requirements for signatures, notices, Technical Review Committee review and recommendation, and hearing for the proposed vacation have been satisfied. The appraisal requirement has been waived in accordance with BMC 13.48.
2. The proposed vacation is not prohibited by RCW 35.79. It does not abut a body of water and it is supported by all of the abutting property owners.
3. The proposed vacation is consistent with the City's Vacation Policies. It will provide a public benefit by facilitating development of the abutting property consistent with the zoning designation of the property and the new right-of-way proposed for dedication and improvement will better serve the circulation needs of the city.
4. The City Council determines whether, and what amount of, monetary compensation is required for a street vacation. The proposed compensation is dedication/improvement of a new right-of-way. The area of the new dedication greatly exceeds the area of the proposed vacation.
5. The proposed vacation should be approved, subject to the dedication of the new rights-of-way, as proposed.
III. RECOMMENDATION
The proposed vacation is recommended for approval, subject to the dedication of the new rights-of-way for Arctic Avenue between the subject right-of-way and Division Street/Mahogany Avenue and additional width of Dover Street between West Bakerview Road and the subject right-of-way, as proposed and shown in Attachment 1.

ENTERED this 6th day of November 2013.
Bellingham Hearing Examiner
________________________________
Dawn Sturwold
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