Gene Bouma owns the land

LYNDEN ­— A rezone application will test whether a part of housing at Main and 19th streets can be multi-family.

As it is now on, almost all lots north of Main are RS-100 of 10,000 square feet. But the future of the area from 19th to Guide Meridian Road is in transition, with a few rezone attempts already.

Gene Bouma, a longtime developer in Lynden, proposes a rezone to RM-2 and building two four-plexes on the seven-tenths acre he owns on the northwest corner of Main and 19th streets.

It is land the City Bible Church already sold to Bouma back in 2016. It has part of a parking lot on it, but the church is no longer operating and the parking lot is not needed.

The rezone request comes to the Lynden Planning Commission for consideration, with a public hearing, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 11, in City Hall Annex, 205 Fourth St. 

Planning Director Heidi Gudde notes that any actual construction plans and design would have to go through their own review and approval process.

A sewer line runs across the southeastern corner of the property and cannot be built over, forcing buildings to the west and north, and Bouma has created a conceptual site plan, calling his development Rosewood, that complies with that constraint. 

Keeping RS-100 zoning would allow for three standard houses.

City analysis of the proposal says that the relatively low-density RM-2 zone could act as a buffer from single-family housing to busy Main Street. It also contributes to goals of city infill and reaching toward overall density of five units per acre across the city.

Bouma was the developer of the Oakwood Apartments further east on Main in the 1980s, the only parcel in the whole north-of-Main area that is not zoned single-family residential. It is RM-4.

Immediately to the north of Bouma’s 100-by-300-foot piece is city-owned potential street access into the interior of the church property in case it is developed into housing. Nineteenth Street is single-family residences.

To the west along Main, more than 26 acres is shown on county records to be owned by City Bible Church of Portland, Oregon. Previous to 2011 this was the Word of Life World Outreach Center. Buildings are now used by the home-based learning Lynden Academy of the Lynden School District as well as Ridnour Athletic Courts.

Earlier rezone proposals have included creating commercial zoning. But they were opposed by neighbors.