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Bellingham Herald   June 20, 2009

Letter to the Editor

Laws, rules against Chuckanut water

I attended the Bellingham City Council hearing where they voted 7-0 to support 19 years of consistent response and say the city can't provide water for new development on Governor's Point.

It is tempting for people to want to turn this into a private property rights vs. a NIMBY issue. It is neither. The issue is simply do the laws that govern the rest of the citizens apply to the Sahlin family and their land. Governors Point is outside the city's water service zone and has been for 30 years.

The family owns land four miles outside the city limits. The laws are very clear that utilities will not be expanded outside the city limits into rural areas. No one owning land down Chuckanut Drive is eligible to apply for any new water service regardless of the underlying zoning that may allow further subdivision of land.

Although private property rights are guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, there is no such right to use public resources or access public utilities to increase the profitability of one's private property.

I find it very disturbing that the Sahlin family believes it reasonable to sue the citizens of Bellingham for $2.8 million to pay the estimated cost to provide water for their project, without any public benefits.

Laura Leigh Brakke

Bellingham