The site of a former yard waste drop-off facility run by the City of Bellingham is being considered as the next location for a tiny home village operated by Homes Now!
City property at Old Woburn and Lakeway Drive, once home to the “Clean Green" program, will undergo a Type II review as a temporary site for a community of tiny homes operated by the local housing nonprofit Homes Now!. A Type II process requires a neighborhood meeting and relevant site plans for review by the Planning Director. Additionally, this process would require certain criteria to be included in the permit including, for example, on-site staffing, access to social services, and drug and alcohol restrictions.
Bellingham Mayor Seth Fleetwood announced Monday that he has directed City staff to begin the review and public process required to utilize the location for a temporary encampment.
“While not a permanent solution to our homelessness crisis, I believe tiny home villages can be an effective tool in transitioning people to more stable housing," said Mayor Fleetwood.
The site, if viable, would function similarly to the Homes Now! “Unity Village" currently housed near the City's Post Point wastewater treatment facility. Homes Now! could provide up to 20 tiny houses for overnight shelter for as many as 28 residents, and would include amenities such as communal bathrooms, showers, drinking water, an outdoor kitchen, garbage and recycling containers, as well as human and social services. If sited, the tiny home village would be approximately a quarter acre in size and permitted for up to two years. However, the actual term length will established in the course of the permitting process.
In accordance with a Type II review, notice will be provided to encourage public input on the proposal. The proposed use will be subject to a full public review process consistent with Bellingham Ordinance No. 2018-10-019, which includes regulations for temporary shelters. All requirements of Bellingham Municipal Code (BMC) 20.15.020 apply to the newest proposed temporary tiny house encampment.
Should the application be approved, the former Clean Green site would become the fourth City-owned property provided to Homes Now! for temporary encampments since 2018. Prior Council-approved sites included tent encampments, Winter Haven adjacent to City Hall and Safe Haven on the WhatComm Dispatch Center site, and the first tiny homes site, Unity Village.
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