SAMISH HEIGHTS MIXED USE RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT

BELLINGHAM WASHINGTON

CLIENT:  SAMISH HEIGHTS INC.

The Samish Heights property represented one of the largest undeveloped tracts of land in the south east section of the City of Bellingham and a unique opportunity to prepare a large scale planned development.  The heavily wooded, relatively steep site with numerous rock outcroppings presented the usual challenges of topography but also sensitive environmental areas, access and extensive upgrades to municipal services.  

Before any applications could be made for the development of the property it was necessary for the Samish Neighbourhood Association (SNA) and the City to prepare a comprehensive Neighbourhood Plan for the Samish Heights area.  As a major stakeholder in the neighbourhood, our Client had our firm engage with the SNA to assist them with the preparation of the new Neighbourhood Plan and integrate our unique proposal for our Samish Heights development into the new plan.  Our firm was able to introduce many new development concepts into the plan, through regular attendance at SNA Board meetings and a series of Public Open Houses, which had not previously been used in Bellingham to create a distinctive neighbourhood concept.

Our collaborative work and leadership with the community resulted in a very rewarding process and significant resident participation and buy in throughout the plan development exercise.  Ultimately the Neighbourhood Plan and new concepts were embraced by the Samish Neighbourhood and eventually by the City of Bellingham Planning Committee and City Council.  The integrated process and ultimate Plan was acknowledged by all involved as a rewarding and successful concept unlike any that had previously been undertaken in the City.

During the Plan development process our firm continued to undertake the environmental and servicing studies necessary to move forward with the development that proposed a mix of single family, townhouses totaling 440 units and a small local retail centre.  Designing the new community around protecting and highlighting the environmental areas, topographic features and major servicing issues including a new water tower and a major service road, our firm worked closely with City Departments and local consultants to resolve long standing limitations to the development of this site and the surrounding area.