Police chief says ATVs, UTVs, golf carts not OK on streets 

LYNDEN ­— The idea of adding two floors with five residential units to the building at 610 Front St. is testing the system.

Ron Hanson and Tim Keiper brought their hopes for renovation of what is known as “the liquor store” to the city Community Development Committee May 29, and now there are some hoops to get through.

The two ownerdevelopers and city officials talked through issues mainly related to parking requirements — one space per dwelling unit — and also protecting the view space of the 135-foot mural on the west side of the building that serves as a welcome to downtown.

Various items talked about are included in draft minutes, with both the city and the developers agreeing to consider certain next steps forward, said councilor Brent Lenssen and Planning Director Heidi Gudde after Monday’s City Council meeting.

For instance, the two new owners will create a parking proposal that could be a pilot for the downtown area, periodically reviewable, including the idea of letting downtown residents park in downtown lots overnight. The city will look into revising its parking code to allow payment in lieu of residential requirements.

The city supports the creation of residential units in the downtown core.

On the issue of protecting the mural, the committee was supportive of a 10-foot no-build easement contingent upon this proposed project happening. The whole 7th Street corner area is now a public parking lot.

The committee also addressed the downtown idea of a Hops Down Front Street beer walk as part of the already planned Hot Thursday Nights starting July 25.

Some of the basics are that all alcohol will be served inside businesses and that proceeds of this event will go to the nonprofit Backpack Buddies program.

In discussion, Jesse Nelson, proprietor of Overflow Taps, noted that having special events such as this is critical to the survival of that business.

Also at the regular Monday City Council meeting:

Michael Knapp, recommended interim police chief starting in July, was introduced and spoke briefly. He commended outgoing two-year chief John Billester and emphasized that he would do this only until a permanent replacement will be chosen.

Knapp will also be at the 4 p.m. June 13 city Public Safety Committee meeting at police headquarters.  City administration is asking that council concur with Knapp’s appointment at its June 17 meeting, so he can have some overlap time with Billester the next week.

Knapp is retired from being police chief in Ferndale, and earlier in Cosmopolis and Medina, Washington.

No one spoke at three public hearings on related aspects of updating the residential design standards for the city of Lynden.

This months-long process has involved the Planning Department, Planning Commission and Design Review Board. It was triggered by preparing standards for the proposed Pepin Creek growth area, but turned instead into doing more across-the-city standardizing of rules on site design, architecture, accessory structures, landscaping and screening, and setbacks.

Staff proposes that the new design standards take effect on Oct. 1 to allow time to inform residential developers, designers and builders of these changes.

Police Chief Billester reported that his department has been issuing warnings for ATVs, UTVs and golf carts illegally on Lynden streets. 

The city has not allowed these types of all-terrain vehicles or utility task vehicles, even though state law gives the option of allowing them, he noted.