Lake Whatcom is the drinking water source for Bellingham and surrounding areas, such as Sudden Valley. Many activities – from logging and development, to pesticides and invasive mussels hitching rides on uninspected boats – threaten the quality of our drinking water source. By the year 2066, the city and county are required to prevent 3,150 pounds of phosphorus from entering Lake Whatcom annually from the surround- ing landscape, as mandated by the EPA.
The way in which the city and county must do that is to have over 80 percent of the watershed mimic a natural forested condition. The majority of the land base, as well as much of the remaining developable areas in the watershed, is in Whatcom County’s jurisdiction. Whatcom County will be exploring an update to their development regulations in the watershed (known as the Lake Whatcom Overlay District) that includes preserving mature trees and discouraging large lawns for new residential developments. The purpose is to standardize its development codes with the city of Bellingham’s and require elements of the existing Homeowner Incentive Program to apply to new developments.
Do you support regulations in the Whatcom Overlay District to limit the size of lawns for all new developments, cap limits on the number of native trees that can be removed from a property (up to 35 percent or 5,000 square feet, whichever is lesser), and require the replacement of native trees when removing 50-plus-year-old trees? Please answer yes or no and explain.