Elections

Sudden Upset

No sudden fix for Sudden Valley

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Sudden Valley Board President Larry Brown was in shock.

“I have to say this community just committed suicide,” Brown declared, Saturday afternoon.

The troubled community on Bellingham’s southeastern doorstep had just disposed of a plan to rescue its aging roads and other assets. The Sudden Valley Community Association turned down a proposal to borrow 12 million dollars to upgrade its roads and recreational amenities.

The 18-year loan was to be paid back with a dues assessment of $36 per month, added to the current $76 monthly dues.

To survive, the proposed dues increase needed the votes of 60 percent of the households who voted.  It failed even to gain a simple majority. Only 48 percent voted “yes,” with 52 percent voting “no.”

The rejection leaves the 46-year old home owners association with little visible means to repair its 40 miles of roads, a crumbling Whatcom Lake Marina, a leaking swimming pool and failing community buildings.  Two buildings were declared unsafe and were torn down in the past eight months.

“Soon we’ll have to start tearing down buildings that we are currently using,” Brown said, “and we’ll have to begin terminating services in order to find the money to do what we are required to do.”

“You can expect property values to plummet,” Brown predicted.

The leading spokesman for the opposition, former board member Mike Ashby, says the board could pare down the proposed loan, prioritize the projects that need fixing, and put the question to the voters again in the fall.

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