Council also selected hearing examiner; Korthuis announced reelection bid

LYNDEN — For the first time since 2004, the city of Lynden is increasing its park impact fees.

The fees, which only apply to new development in the city, were set at $936 for a single-family home in 2004 and have not been updated since then. Ordinance 1622, as approved unanimously by the Lynden City Council at its meeting Monday evening, amends the unified fee schedule and updates park impact fees to be more in line with current costs. Like the 2004 ordinance, the cost varies based on what is being built on the property, but a single-family home now incurs a $2,925 impact fee.

Council member Gary Bode asked what these fees will be used for.

“These are to be charged to new residences, I understand that, but can we or do we use the impact fees for just the general ongoing maintenance of our parks or are they supposed to be in a fund for new park acquisitions and development?” Bode asked.

Lynden Mayor Scott Korthuis said the fee money needs to be used for growth, but growth can include improvement of property already owned by the city.

“My goal is to use it for improving the parks that we’ve purchased already,” Korthuis said.

Korthuis said he’s looking forward to using this money to improve Lynden’s parks.

“In my opinion, this is a big deal for our community,” he said.

Also at Monday’s meeting, the council selected a hearing examiner as mandated by Ordinance 1516, adopted March 1. The council went about selecting the hearing examiner via a committee of council members, committee members and city staff to select a preferred candidate from the three responses the city received.

“I wanted to just mention that there were two stellar candidates,” council member Mark Wohlrab said. “Really, they were all great candidates but two were stellar candidates.”

The council unanimously voted to select Rajeev Majumdar as the city’s new hearing examiner. Working out of Whatcom Law Group, Majumdar has served without a contract as a land use hearing examiner pro tem for the city of Oak Harbor, Island County and Whatcom County, along with serving on contract since 2019 as the land use hearing examiner pro tem for Island County. Whatcom Law Group provides hearing examiner services for the city of Blaine as well.

Before heading into executive session, Korthuis announced he plans to seek reelection as mayor, citing active city projects and his ongoing service on county committees.

“I plan to file next month for the mayor position and would be privileged to serve the community for another four years,” Korthuis said.

Korthuis said he wanted to announce sooner than the filing date in the interest of full disclosure to prospective candidates for the city administrator position, as current administrator Mike Martin will soon end his tenure in the position.