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directly impact business in their domains. Speaking to specific trouble spots that impair the business environment: Linville addressed zoning and impact fees. Louws addressed land use and zone compliance. Linville addressed city B&O tax distribution. Louws addressed how to distribute rural tax effectively. Linville addressed permitting, both on line and at different fee levels for differing target areas. Louws addressed codes, regulations, hearing boards, and compliance. They agreed that many things – lag time, fee schedules that seem random to many even if they are not, altered attitudes and customer

“We strive hard to be business-friendly. We streamline permitting ...” Gary Young, City Administrator, Ferndale

‘THIS IS WHERE I WORK’— Mayor Linville shuffles documents in an office anteroom with prioritized tasks set before her on a big board. Staff Photo

service (can-do instead of no-way), more user-friendly regulations, and clarity in communication with the constituents – must change. And will, they concurred. Louws said, “If we work together as a community, County Council, and staff, we can make a positive economic impact by facilitating investment and growth in the private business sector.” The leaders of the County and the County seat, Bellingham, and their staffs in their planning departments, particularly those who work in hot-button areas of permits, inspections, zoning, code compliance, and determining impact fees, face a large wall of negativity that looms over private sector business. Anecdotal evidence abounds. During recent times, some highprofile businesses moved out of Bellingham to relocate in Ferndale, which has experienced a business


Business Pulse Magazine: Summer 2012  

The Publication of The Whatcom Business Alliance

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