Community Solutions Workgroups are a series of short-term, action-oriented groups convened by the mayor on specific topics of interest in the community. Mayor Kelli Linville, city staff, and community stake-holders meet over the course of several months to produce an action plan around the identified topic.
In Summer 2013, the City revisited the work done by the Countywide Housing Affordability Taskforce (CHAT) in 2008 and recommended possible changes to city code to help encourage and support affordable housing. Bellingham City Council President Seth Fleetwood and Mayor Kelli Linville convened a group of community members to revisit the work done by CHAT and to examine where the city has followed through on action strategies and where more actions can be recommended.
This “citywide” affordable housing taskforce met several times and focused on examining the list of six main goals produced by the 2008 CHAT taskforce:
The Workgroup concentrated on goals 3 and 4: strive to reduce land and building costs, and provide incentives for the creation of affordable housing. The group provided and refined a list of 16 recommended actions that the City could take to improve affordable housing in our community, including making it easier and affordable to build smaller houses, adjusting impact fees, examining allowing single-family homes to include additional dwelling uses, exploring the idea of wetland mitigation banking, and providing neighborhoods the opportunity to pilot some of these actions.
More Information on the 2008 CHAT report can be found here: http://www.cob.org/government/public/chat/index.aspx.
Convened in October, 2013 and completed in January, 2014, the Workgroup on Downtown Health and Safety sought to provide public health and safety solutions for various downtown challenges. The group was made up of city staff representing the police department, the parks and recreation department, the mayor’s office and the city attorney’s office, and community stakeholders representing social services, the Downtown Bellingham Partnership, property owners, business owners, residents, the Liquor Control Board and the Whatcom County Health Department. Together, the group identified and prioritized issues, identified solutions and produced a strategy for implementation.
For more information about the workgroup, please see the mayor’s Civic Agenda article “Work group formed to address downtown challenges".
The staff contact for the Downtown Health and Safety group is Vanessa Blackburn, Community Outreach Coordinator. She can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 360-778-8115.