Seventh Street will be rebuilt south of Grover 

LYNDEN ­— Real estate agent Kathy Stanford, a regular City Council          attender, could not let another extension of the building moratorium on the Pepin Creek Project Area pass without comment.

Stanford took advantage of the required public hearing on Sept. 3 to critique the city for not moving forward in now more than three years of wrestling with Pepin Creek issues.

The moratorium halts all applications for subdivision, planned residential development and building permits in the northwest chunk of town — west of Benson Road — that is expected to be Lynden’s next growth direction.

Stanford represents property for sale in the area. 

While thanking the city for work done, she said “it seems it’s kicked down the road” six months at a time. She totalled up what has been listed for Pepin Creek planning in annual city budgets, and came up with multiple millions of dollars.

Studies are done, properties bought and consultants hired, to what effect? she queried.

To which especially council member Gary Bode replied during the meeting, and Mayor Scott Korthuis afterward.

“The budget is a framework of what we would like to do,” Bode said. The money in a budget is not always spent. In fact, it is still often being sought, he said.

A master plan must be done right, up front, for roads and bridges and infrastructure, “the whole puzzle of what fits where” in an entirely new neighborhood, such asthis will be, and much of that has been done, Bode said.

Now it’s to the point of determining the amount of a “surcharge” to be applied to each dwelling unit — it was $6,000 per lot in east Lynden for sewage service — to see if development of the Pepin Creek area is feasible, Bode said.

Reliable data has to be gathered, and one more moratorium may do it, he said.

Korthuis said that although the engineering of creating a new Pepin Creek channel can be planned overall, he also wants to be able to “phase [development] effectivly” across the 460-acre area only part of which is actually in city limits.

“Let’s do it right,” he said in defense of this seventh six-month moratorium. “There’s just a lot of moving things here.”

In other action:

  • The council passed an update to the city’s Water System Plan, after working with RH2 Engineering on it. 

The plan extends well beyond city limits, to show how Lynden could serve surrounding water associations that have nitrates contamination — with an important proviso: “should the city first obtain sufficient water rights.”

These groups are shown as potential future additions to a retail service area, from Rader Farms labor camps on the east to the Rathbone Park Water Association on the west.

The water service map will now go to the county for comment. 

  • The city is searching for a new public defender to represent individuals accused of a crime but unable to pay for an attorney. 

In the interim, for up to 90 days, Sharon Westergreen, an attorney living in Everson, is willing to do the job, generally in accord with the previous contract.

  • The Lynden School District, in repurposing the former middle school property on Main Street, wants to create a bus loop and student drop-off area directly in front of buildings where now there is grass. 

Uses will be early-childhood classrooms and district offices. Eight parallel parking spaces are also desired on Main Street.

Code parking and loading changes will be made as requested.

  • A $1.7 million contract is awarded to DeKoster Excavating, out of eight bids received, to rebuild about 800 feet of Seventh Street, from Grover south to beyond Judson, and also part of an alley. 

The job includes installation of a storm drain system and water main improvements. 

  • The city gets $36,433 from the county to do a state-mandated buildable lands report, including densities and property availability to as far out as year 2036.
  • Strider Construction Company is arranged to remove the old elevated water tower foundation below downtown and do soil remediation there. Payment will be about $242,000.
  • An update to the city’s Shoreline Management Program is approved, after various outside agency reviews. This pertains to shoreline along Nooksack River and Fishtrap Creek.