Joint Policy Meeting Presentation 7/11/2011

posted Jun 30, 2011, 11:02 AM by City of Bellingham   [ updated Jul 14, 2011, 11:53 AM by Unknown user ]
Powerpoint Presentation from: 9:30-11:30AM @ County Civic Building - Garden Conference Room | 322 N. Commercial Street
Topic: Development Trends in the Lake Whatcom Watershed

Lake Whatcom Watershed Analysis July 2011

Lake Whatcom
City of Bellingham

Planning & Community Development Department

Environmental Resources Department

March 2011

Assumptions and Disclaimers:

Since 2005, the City of Bellingham Planning Department has performed a basic analysis of Existing Residential Housing Units and potential Developable lands in the Lake Whatcom Watershed.

This analysis has been general in nature and considered a “gross” analysis, so as to make the process simple and repeatable on a yearly basis.  The purpose is to provide a generalized view of development in the Lake Whatcom Watershed. The build-out analysis does NOT take into consideration specific lot restrictions such as 25 year restrictions, temporary or permanent restrictions, current issued/finaled permits, or critical area reductions.  Lands in public ownership (including all land owned by the Sudden Valley Community Association), land devoted to utilities/streets, and lands where residential construction is not permitted are excluded from the available land supply.


Existing  Dwelling Units: Parcels with an Assessor Land Use Code and Improvement Value greater than $10,000 (including uses coded with forestry or ranch descriptions and an improvement value greater than $10,000).

Developable Capacity (Potential Units on Vacant Land): Parcels that are within in an area with a residential zoning use (or where residential units are permitted) and also have an Assessor Improvement Value less than or equal to $10,000.

“Capacity”  is simply performed using current total parcel acreage (derived from GIS and excluding areas over water) and the underlying current zoning density. 

Parcel data since the beginning of this analysis in 2005 has varied greatly in accuracy.  In 2005, county parcel GIS data was not updated at the same time as the assessor’s database and resulted in “unmatched” GIS parcel records, or records that did not contain current information.  Recent efforts from both the City and County mapping/assessor departments has resulted in better and more accurate parcel data.  However, in 2010 the County Assessor’s Office implemented a new database and parcel maintenance system which resulted in back-logs to parcel updates.  Therefore the date of parcel data for the 2010 and 2011 analysis is approximate.

In looking back since 2005, there are several reasons for yearly discrepancies in capacity estimates.   First is the above mentioned “lag” in parcel data updates.  Assessor paper maps, assessor GIS datasets and the Assessor database are not always updated at the same time.  This results in data that is “out-of-sync” with each other.  Secondly, the GIS parcel data is spatially updated and made more accurate each year.  This results in minor changes to the parcel acreage in which capacity is calculated, and in turn can adjust the capacity potential.  Additional is the issue of predicting/modelling capacity based on current zoning and acreage versus what actually ends up happening in the “real world”.  Examples are lot consolidations and clustering.  Down/Up zoning can also have an impact on capacity calculations, as we saw in February of 2008 where the Geneva UGA boundary was adjusted and portions of that area were “down zoned”.  

Watershed Breakout Area Analysis
Summary of Gross Data
Average Number of New Units
Assessed Values and Trends

Watershed Map

Unknown user,
Jul 14, 2011, 11:54 AM
Unknown user,
Jul 14, 2011, 11:55 AM