Chapter 20.12
GENERAL STANDARDS

Sections:

20.12.010    Parking.

20.12.020    Loading.

20.12.030    Landscaping.

20.12.040    Signs.

20.12.050    Fences.

20.12.060    Vision clearance triangle.

20.12.070    Walkways.

20.12.080    Adult entertainment.

20.12.010 Parking.

A. Applicability.

1. This subsection contains the complete text of parking regulations for all uses.

2. Off-street parking in accordance with the provisions herein shall be provided whenever:

a. A main building is constructed or relocated upon another lot; or

b. The cost of interior alteration or repair within any 12-month period exceeds 50 percent of the actual valuation; or

c. The number of required parking spaces is increased by the change of use, floor area expansion, or any other modification, in which case the additional number of parking spaces resulting from the change is required, unless already provided.

3. The director shall have the authority to waive parking requirements for subsections (A)(2)(b) and (c) of this section, when there is no existing space available on site to provide additional parking, no parking can reasonably be provided within 500 feet of the generator, and the surrounding streets will not be adversely affected due to the existence of ample on-street parking. The director shall have the authority to require the proponent to construct, with concurrence from the public works director, on-street parking on streets adjacent to the development for use by the general public if space is available within the right-of-way.

4. The director shall have the authority to waive parking requirements for subsections (A)(2)(a), (b) and (c) of this section, when consistent with an area-wide parking plan and/or district which has been instituted together with a mechanism for providing required parking for the area or district. These plans and/or districts must have been approved by the city council after public hearings before the planning commission and city council. This provision is intended to allow on-street parking and off-site parking to meet parking requirements in those areas.

5. The director shall have the authority to reduce the number of required off-street parking spaces for subsections (A)(2)(a), (b) and (c) of this section, up to a maximum of 25 percent, when:

a. A parking generation study is prepared by the applicant or an independent consultant; and

b. Whatcom Transportation Authority GoLine route is provided within one-quarter mile of the site. The amount of reduction shall be based on the number of transit runs during peak hours each business day; and

c. The applicant demonstrates enhanced bicycle and pedestrian facilities; or

d. The applicant pays into a city adopted fee-in-lieu-of-parking program.

6. Shared Parking.

a. The amount of off-street parking required by this chapter may be reduced by an amount determined by the director when shared parking facilities for two or more uses are proposed, provided the following requirements are met:

i. Parking for each use is utilized at different times of the day;

ii. The shared parking facility is within 1,000 feet of the use(s) deficient in parking as measured by a pedestrian walkway between the shared parking facility and generator;

iii. The total number of parking spaces is not less than the minimum required spaces for any single use;

iv. The applicant submits a parking generation study demonstrating to the director’s satisfaction that the resultant parking will be adequate for the anticipated uses; and

v. A shared parking agreement specifying respective rights and/or operating times is signed by all participants and the director and filed in the county auditor’s office.

b. Parking lots associated with approved conditional uses in urban village residential transition areas may be used as shared parking during off-peak hours of the primary permitted use on site provided the requirements in subsection (A)(6)(a) of this section are met.

B. Number of Spaces Required.

1. All uses shall provide, at a minimum, the number of spaces required herein.

2. Repealed by Ord. 2014-09-049.

3. Any use clearly similar to the uses listed below shall meet the requirements specified. If the similarity is not apparent, then the planning director shall determine the standards which shall be applied.

 

USE

PARKING SPACE REQUIREMENT

(a) Residential

 

i. Single‑Family/Manufactured Home

Two parking spaces; single-family attached units shall provide one additional parking space for each bedroom over three. No more than two enclosed garage parking spaces per unit may count toward meeting parking requirement.

 

ii. Duplex/Multifamily

a. One for each studio unit.

b. One and one-half for each one- or two-bedroom unit.

c. Two for each three-bedroom unit.

d. Duplex with four or more bedrooms: one parking space per bedroom. No more than two parking spaces per unit may be located in an enclosed garage.

e. Multifamily: one additional space for each bedroom over three per unit. No more than two parking spaces per unit may be located in an enclosed garage. This provision shall not limit the number of parking spaces that may be provided in common areas in an enclosed under-building parking floor or structure.

 

iii. Boarding House

One for every two bedrooms.

 

iv. Hotel

One for every two bedrooms.

 

v. Motel

One and one-fourth for each bedroom.

 

vi. Accessory Dwelling Units

One for each bedroom, minimum of one for each ADU. These spaces must be located on site.

 

vii. Senior Citizen Housing

The planning director may reduce the parking requirement below the amount required for other dwelling units, but not less than one-half space per unit, based on the actual anticipated demand after considering the following factors:

a. A parking study supplied by the proponent showing the actual anticipated demand.

b. Minimum age requirement to reside in the residential facility.

c. Amount of services provided at the residential facility, including transportation.

d. Parking management methods to be employed. If senior citizen housing ceases to be used for such purposes, additional off-street parking shall be required in compliance with this chapter.

 

viii. Live/Work Unit

One parking space per live/work unit or one parking space per 500 square feet of gross floor area of all units in a project, whichever is greater.

(b) Commercial

 

 

i. General Business, Personal Service Establishments (exclusive of shopping centers, and food markets larger than 20,000 square feet)

One for every 250 square feet of floor area open to the public.

 

ii. Furniture and Large Appliance Store

Four plus one for every 500 square feet gross floor area.

 

iii. Neighborhood and Community Shopping Centers and Food Markets

Five for each 1,000 square feet of gross floor area.

 

iv. Offices (business and professional, including financial institutions, but not including doctor/dentist offices)

One for every 350 square feet of floor area.

 

v. Eating and Drinking Establishments, Dance Halls

One for every 75 square feet of floor area open to the public with a minimum of seven spaces.

 

vi. Commercial Recreation

Four for each bowling lane, tennis or racquetball court, pool or billiard table; or one for each miniature golf hole or in the case of a driving range for each tee area; or one for each 100 square feet of open recreational area. Where an eating and/or drinking facility is located within a main building used as a commercial recreation use, additional parking shall not be required.

 

vii. Service Stations

Five

(c) Health Care

 

 

i. Hospitals

One for every two patient beds, exclusive of bassinets.

 

ii. Doctor/Dentist Offices and/or Laboratories

Five for each 1,000 square feet of gross floor area.

 

iii. Medical Care Centers

One for every four beds.

 

iv. Small Animal Hospitals

Five spaces for every veterinarian.

(d) Public and Semi-Public Assembly

 

i. School, Institution of Higher Education, Art School

One per classroom and office plus one for every four students normally enrolled who are over the legal driving age. Public assembly areas, such as auditoriums, stadiums, etc., that may be adjunct to the school shall provide parking required herein; however, parking provided for the school may be considered as parking for the assembly area.

 

ii. Libraries, Museums, Art Galleries and Aquariums

One for every 200 square feet of floor area open to the public.

 

iii. Church

One for every 100 square feet of floor area used for public assembly. In cases where there are two or more separate assembly areas within the church and upon proof such areas would not be used concurrently, then the director shall assess the amount of spaces required for each area and require the greatest number of spaces.

 

iv. Community Center, Convention Hall

One space for every 150 square feet of floor area open to the public.

 

v. Theaters, Stadiums, Auditoriums

One for each four seats, or one for each 80 inches of bench.

 

vi. Bus Stations, Passenger Terminal Facilities

One for every 100 square feet of floor area open to the public.

 

vii. Private Club and Lodge

One for every 150 square feet of floor area devoted to assembly or meeting area. If eating/drinking facilities are included, there shall be one space required for each 75 square feet devoted to such activity.

 

viii. Neighborhood Club/Activity Center

One for every 150 square feet of floor space.

 

ix. Golf Course Facility and Parks/Playgrounds

The director shall determine the required number based on the type and extent of the particular facility.

(e) Industrial

 

 

i. Manufacturing

One for every 5,000 square feet of gross floor area or one per employee (working at the same time), whichever is greater.

 

ii. Warehousing and Wholesale

One for every 20,000 square feet of gross floor area or one per employee (working at the same time), whichever is greater.

 

iii. Mini-Storage

One space for every 2,000 square feet of storage area plus three spaces for the manager’s office.

(f) Miscellaneous Uses

 

 

i. Mortuaries/Funeral Parlors/Crematory

One for every 100 square feet of floor area open to the public.

 

ii. Nursery, Agricultural Wholesale/Retail

To be determined by the office of planning and development.

 

iii. Day Care, Service Care, and Day Treatment Centers

One for each staff person working at any time. Provisions shall be made for an adequate drop off area located off the street.

C. General Provisions.

1. Whenever off-street parking facilities are constructed, whether required or not, the facility shall meet the standards and requirements within this section.

2. All required parking shall be located off street and on the subject property in areas which meet the minimum requirements of this section. Parking on the public right-of-way shall not be considered as off-street parking unless approved pursuant to subsections (A)(3) and (4) of this section. Shared parking may be allowed pursuant to regulations found in subsection (A)(6) of this section.

3. The provisions of off-street parking and loading in the manner and extent required herein shall be a continuing obligation to the owner of a given use so long as the use is in existence. It shall be unlawful to discontinue, change, or dispense with parking and/or loading facilities unless alternative facilities are established which meet the requirements of this section.

4. Scaled parking plans shall be required which indicate ingress, egress, grade, base and surface material, as well as parking lot dimensions.

5. Off-street parking for single-family and duplex dwellings shall be a minimum of nine feet in width by 18 feet in length with 22 feet of maneuvering aisle depth behind each space. Off-street parking dimensions for other uses shall not be less than shown on BMC 20.08.020, Figures 10, 11 and 12.

6. Unapproved revision to any approved parking facility which would affect the design, or failure to maintain the facility in accordance with good practice, shall be deemed a violation of the land use development ordinance, subject to the penalties as established. Failure to keep the parking lot surface reasonably clean of debris, failure to replace dead plant material or to remove noxious weeds shall be specifically included in the phrase “failure to maintain the facility in accordance with good practice.”

D. Design Provisions.

1. The parking facility shall be located totally within property lines except for egress, ingress and maneuvering areas as permitted below.

2. a. Alley rights-of-way may be utilized toward meeting the maneuvering area required herein.

b. Where required by special regulation in Chapter 20.00 BMC, Zoning Tables, when access is available from a city maintained alley, no vehicular access shall be taken from the street frontage except when the planning director determines that alley access is impractical or environmentally constrained.

3. No portion of any parking area shall be permitted within any required front yard, side yard on a flanking street, vision clearance triangle, or other front yard setback established on the recorded plat (e.g., a lot frontage such as a pipe-stem that does not meet minimum lot width and is not buildable). Driveway crossings and tandem parking within a driveway, when allowed by other city codes, are not prohibited by this provision. Single-family homes and duplexes that are required to provide on-site maneuvering due to driveway access onto an arterial street or location near an intersection under subsection (D)(7) of this section are not prohibited from providing a single backup area within the front yard or side yard on a flanking street.

4. a. For single-family dwelling units, open parking spaces may be located within required interior side yard and rear yards.

b. For all other uses, no portion of any open parking facility except an ingress/egress lane shall be located within five feet of any property line except when an alley is used for direct maneuvering. In industrial designations the five-foot setback requirement shall apply only when open parking areas are adjacent the front and side-flanking property lines.

c. In the residential multi and commercial general use type designation, the five-foot parking space setback and landscaping requirement may be waived by the director when:

i. An alleyway is used for direct access; and

ii. The landscaping is replaced with a fence which screens from view the parking area; and

iii. The elimination of the five-foot parking setback will result in the provision of additional parking spaces beyond that required in the land use development code.

5. a. For uses permitted within the residential multi general use type, an area of at least five feet in width and 10 feet in length must be provided to separate every 20 adjacent open parking spaces.

b. For uses permitted within the commercial general use type, an area of at least five feet in width and 10 feet in length must be provided to separate every 30 adjacent open parking spaces.

6. a. All required parking spaces shall be designed such that any vehicle parking in any space may enter and exit without interference or blocking any other vehicle parking in any other required space, except as allowed in subsection (D)(6)(b) of this section.

b. Tandem parking (two cars maximum) as allowed when enclosed within a structure.

i. Tandem parking garages shall be set back a minimum of four feet from the front face of a building.

7. Single-family homes and duplexes may utilize city rights-of-way for maneuvering unless the right-of-way is a designated arterial, or when the driveway would be within 50 feet of a tangent of an intersection; provided, that if there is no curb, the distance shall be 80 feet measured from the edge of pavement of the intersecting street; in which case the maneuvering area shall be provided on site. The city engineer may approve an administrative variance from on-site maneuvering room requirement if it is determined that there will be no detrimental impact to public safety resulting from on-street maneuvering.

E. Improvement Standards.

1. Hard surfacing shall be required of all parking facilities including those portions within the right-of-way. Single-family homes, duplexes, churches, agricultural nurseries, industrial and manufacturing uses are exempt from this requirement, provided the facility is surfaced with no less than three inches of crushed gravel and is maintained in a dust free condition.

2. Permeable paving shall be used unless infeasible, per infeasibility criteria found in BMP T5.15 of the Ecology Manual. Projects that include less than 2,000 square feet of new or replaced impervious surface are exempt from this requirement.

3. A portion of a standard parking space may be landscaped instead of paved, provided the requirements in BMC 20.12.030(C)(4)(e) are met.

4. When parking facilities are surfaced with gravel, the driveway and approaches shall nevertheless be paved with hard surfacing.

5. Any lot used in whole or part as a retail parking facility shall install a city sidewalk across the full width of the lot abutting the street.

6. Wheel stops shall be provided to protect landscape areas and city sidewalks from encroachment by vehicles. (Single-family homes are exempt from this requirement.)

7. All parking facilities shall be clearly marked as to stalls and traffic flow and for handicapped and compact spaces. (Single-family homes and duplexes are exempt from this requirement.)

8. Drainage systems for parking facilities shall be designed and approved in accordance with Ordinance No. 8827, as amended.

9. Retail parking facilities shall install adequate lighting in accordance with standards approved by the public works director.

10. All parking facilities with more than 50 parking spaces shall provide a bicycle storage area in which to temporarily store bicycles. Bicycle storage space shall consist of a conveniently located and sturdy rack, hooks, bar or locker permitting locking or enclosure of the bicycle frame and both wheels to prevent thefts. With the exception of hanging hooks, bicycle storage facilities shall be designed so as not to support the full weight of the bicycle on one or both wheels. The bicycle storage area shall have the capabilities to hold 10 percent of the number of required parking spaces. This requirement may be waived by the director if it can be demonstrated that the rack would not be reasonably utilized due to the location of the facility.

11. The public works department shall approve the location of all curb cuts. A driveway for a single-family attached dwelling unit or duplex shall not exceed 20 feet in width within a front yard or side yard on a flanking street. For other uses, no single curb cut shall be wider than 30 feet. For parking lots with less than 10 spaces, the curb cut shall be no wider than 12 feet. Parking lots with separate points of ingress and egress shall have no more than a 12-foot curb cut separated by a distance of at least 20 feet and shall comply with Chapter 13.52 BMC, Driveways Giving Access to Arterial Streets. [Ord. 2017-03-009 § 16; Ord. 2014-09-049 §§ 30, 31; Ord. 2010-12-077; Ord. 2006-12-122; Ord. 2006-12-121; Ord. 2003-03-010; Ord. 2002-10-069 § 45; Ord. 2002-06-045 § 21; Ord. 2001-04-033 §§ 1, 5, 8; Ord. 10643 § 4, 1995; Ord. 10469 § 3; Ord. 9907, 1989; Ord. 9582 §§ 6, 9, 10, 12, 15, 1986; Ord. 9024, 1982].

20.12.020 Loading.

A. Applicability. All new buildings and uses shall meet the loading requirements herein specified.

B. Number Required.

1. Any building intended to be used for retail, wholesale, warehouse, freight, hospital, industrial and manufacturing uses shall be provided with off-street loading berths according to this schedule:

a. One berth for each building containing 10,000 to 25,000 square feet of floor area.

b. Two berths for each building containing 25,000 plus square feet of floor area.

2. Any building intended to be used for a hotel, eating or drinking establishments, community center, convention hall or other similar use shall be provided with off-street loading berths according to this schedule:

a. One berth for each building containing 20,000 to 50,000 square feet of floor area.

b. Two berths for each building containing 50,000 plus square feet of floor area.

C. Loading Design Standards.

1. Off-street loading facilities shall be designed and maintained in accordance with the standards herein.

2. Each loading berth shall be at least 10 feet wide and 45 feet long.

3. Loading berths shall not be located within any required yard.

4. Loading berths shall be located entirely on the property they are intended to serve and designed in such a way that the street does not serve as a maneuvering area.

5. Access to loading berths shall be from an alley when such exists.

6. If it is desirable, two or more buildings having a common wall may locate their required loading berths in one location, provided the number of berths shall not be less than the sum of the required berths for all the buildings concerned, and further, there shall be access from each building to the loading berth.

7. Loading areas shall be so designed that traffic congestion and interference is avoided and the highest possible degree of safety is maintained. [Ord. 9024, 1982].

20.12.030 Landscaping.

A. Applicability. This section is intended to provide the minimum landscaping requirements for all uses. Additional requirements and provisions may be required for certain uses and within urban village areas.

B. General Provisions.

1. The provisions of this section shall apply to all new construction and to the remodeling of same when the cost of remodeling exceeds 50 percent of the assessed valuation of the structure to the extent that there is space available for the landscaping. (Single-family homes and individual manufactured homes are exempt from any landscaping requirements.)

2. Prior to issuance of a building permit, a scaled landscape site plan shall be submitted and approved by the planning department consistent with the provisions herein. Said plan shall specify species name, size and location.

3. Landscaping pursuant to the approved site plan shall either be installed or bonded for (in an amount no less than 150 percent of cost of material and installation) prior to issuance of a certificate of occupancy or if no certificate is required prior to final inspection approval.

4. Existing trees which will be saved and which meet the minimum specification herein specified shall count toward meeting the requirements herein, provided they are an acceptable species as to their location.

C. Requirements.

1. Street Trees (For Residential Multi, Commercial, Industrial, and Planned General Use Types).

a. One street tree shall be required for every 50 feet of street frontage abutting the property. Said trees shall be installed adjacent to the right-of-way within the property lines or within the right-of-way subject to the approval of the public works and parks department.

2. Yards and Open Spaces.

a. Only required 25-foot yards for uses permitted in the industrial general use type shall be installed with a wall of trees.

b. All yards required (except the vision triangle) for all uses permitted in the commercial general use type shall be screened.

c. For all uses permitted in the residential multi general use type a minimum of 25 percent of the required open space area shall be landscaped.

d. Landscape-based LID facilities are permitted within landscaped open space and passive recreation areas.

3. Garbage Receptacle Areas. Garbage receptacle areas for multifamily dwelling units shall be screened on at least two sides.

4. Parking.

a. For every 10 open parking spaces, one tree shall be installed around the facility perimeter. These trees may be grouped or spread lineally. This provision shall not apply to industrial use type areas.

b. Separation areas as required in BMC 20.12.010(D)(5) shall be landscaped. This provision shall not apply to industrial general use type areas.

c. Areas between the parking facility and adjacent property as required in BMC 20.12.010(D)(4)(b) shall be landscaped if the adjacent property is of the same general use type. If the adjacent property is of a different general use type, said area shall be screened.

d. Parking Facility Interior Landscaping for All Uses Permitted in the Commercial General Use Type.

i. Surface parking lots with 15 or more parking spaces shall provide internal landscaping at the rate of 20 square feet of landscaped area per parking stall.

ii. The landscaping must be dispersed throughout the parking area.

iii. Landscaping around the facility perimeter may not substitute for interior landscaping. However, interior landscaping may join perimeter landscaping as long as it extends at least four feet into the parking area from the perimeter landscape line.

e. When adjacent to landscaping, a portion of a standard parking space may be landscaped instead of paved, as follows:

i. The landscaped area may be up to two feet of the front of the space as measured from a line parallel to the direction of the bumper of a vehicle using the space, as shown in Figure 20.12.030(A). Any vehicle overhang must be free from interference from sidewalks, landscaping, or other required elements.

ii. Landscaping within the parking overhang area must be ground cover plants.

iii. The landscaped area counts toward parking lot landscaping requirements and toward any overall open space requirements.

iv. Where landscape-based LID BMP is utilized, the impervious area shall be sized as prescribed by the BMP. Where landscaping is required by BMC 20.12.010(D)(4)(b) or (D)(5), a minimum seven-foot width of landscaping shall be provided, including parking overhang area, regardless of whether landscape-based LID BMP is utilized.

Figure 20.12.030(A)

f. Unless infeasible, landscape-based LID BMPs shall be used within parking lot landscaping to meet drainage requirements. This requirement does not apply to parking provided within structures.

5. Freeway Trees (For Residential Multi, Industrial and Planned General Use Types).

a. One tree shall be required for every 25 feet of freeway frontage abutting the property and shall be installed along that frontage.

D. Standards.

1. Trees.

a. Species.

i. Street Trees. As recommended in the Bellingham street tree plan and approved by the parks department.

ii. Other Required Trees. Species shall be native to the area or recognized as being easily adaptable to the climate.

b. Size (Unless Otherwise Specified).

i. Street trees shall be no less than 10 feet in height at time of installation with a minimum caliper size of two and one-half inches measured one foot above grade.

ii. Other required trees shall be no less than six feet in height at time of installation with a minimum caliper size of one inch measured one foot above grade.

c. Spacing and Location.

i. Street trees shall be spaced and installed as recommended in the Bellingham street tree plan subject to approval of public works and parks department.

ii. Other required trees may be installed where desired by the applicant within the general constraints of this section.

2. General Planting.

a. No landscape bed shall have artificial impervious material placed underneath the surface bed.

b. i. Provisions should be taken to ensure each landscape bed has proper drainage.

ii. The excavation pocket should be dug 12 inches below the root ball and six inches larger in circumference around the root ball. The excavation pocket should be filled with an approved planting mix.

iii. Each excavation pocket should take provision to ensure proper drainage. If the subsoil is impervious, an additional foot of excavation backfilled with gravel to lower the water table should be required or an auger hole sunk down to porous material and the hole sack filled with gravel to the bottom of the planting pocket.

iv. All trees over eight feet high should be securely staked or guyed until the roots become established but in no case less than one year. Street trees should be staked according to the staking guidelines of the street tree plan.

E. Green Factor Measurement. The following standards apply to certain areas and uses that require landscaping to meet a minimum green factor score.

1. The green area factor score for a lot is determined by:

a. Multiplying the square feet, or equivalent square footage where applicable, of each of the existing and proposed landscape elements in Table 20.12.030 by the green area multiplier shown for that element.

b. Adding together all the products computed under subsection (E)(1)(a) of this section to determine the total green area factor.

c. Divide the total green area factor by the lot area to determine the green area factor score.

2. If multiple landscaping elements occupy an area (for example, ground cover under a tree), the full square footage or equivalent square footage of each element is used to calculate the product for that element.

3. Public right-of-way is not included in parcel size calculation.

4. Landscape elements that are in rights-of-way may be counted to calculate the score if they are contiguous with the parcel.

5. For vegetated walls, use the square footage of the portion of the wall covered by vegetation.

6. For all elements other than trees, large shrubs and vegetated walls, square footage is determined by the area of the portion of a horizontal plane that underlies the element.

7. For projects that include more than 2,000 square feet of new or replaced impervious surface, permeable paving is required for hard surface ground cover areas unless infeasible, per infeasibility criteria found in BMP T5.15 of the Ecology Manual. Permeable pavement may not qualify for more than one-third of the green factor numerator for any one site.

 

Table 20.12.030 – Green Factor Landscape Elements

1. Landscaped Areas (select one of the following for each area):

 

 

a. Landscaped areas with a soil depth of less than 24"

0.1

 

b. Landscaped areas with a soil depth of 24" or greater

0.8

 

c. Bioretention facilities

1.0

2. Plantings (credit for plants in landscaped areas above):

 

 

a. Mulch, ground covers, or other plants less than two feet tall at maturity

0.2

 

b. Plants two feet or taller at maturity, calculated at 16 square feet per plant (typically planted no closer than 18 inches on center)

0.3

 

c. Tree canopy for “small trees” in the Bellingham List of Approved Street Trees or equivalent (canopy spread of 15 feet) calculated at 50 square feet per tree

0.3

 

d. Tree canopy for “small/medium trees” in the Bellingham List of Approved Street Trees or equivalent (canopy spread of 20 feet) calculated at 100 square feet per tree

0.3

 

e. Tree canopy for “medium trees” in the Bellingham List of Approved Street Trees or equivalent (canopy spread of 25 feet) calculated at 150 square feet per tree

0.4

 

f. Tree canopy for “large trees” in the Bellingham List of Approved Street Trees or equivalent (canopy spread of 30 feet) calculated at 200 square feet per tree

0.5

 

g. Tree canopy for preservation of “exceptional trees” or other large existing trees 6" or greater in diameter, calculated at 15 square feet per inch DBH (diameter 4.5 feet above the ground)

0.8

3. Green Roofs:

 

 

a. Over at least 2" and less than 4" of growth medium

0.4

 

b. Over at least 4" of growth medium

0.7

4. Vegetated Walls

0.7

5. Approved Water Features

0.7

6. Permeable Paving:

 

 

a. Permeable paving over at least 6" and less than 24" of soil or gravel

0.3

 

b. Permeable paving over at least 24" of soil or gravel

0.5

7. Structural Soil Systems

0.4

8. Bonuses:

 

 

a. Drought-tolerant or native plant species

0.1

 

b. Landscaped areas where at least 50 percent of annual irrigation needs are met through the use of harvested rainwater

0.2

 

c. Landscaping in food cultivation

0.3

[Ord. 2017-03-009 § 17; Ord. 2011-08-044; Ord. 2009-08-047; Ord. 2001-04-033 § 11; Ord. 9024, 1982].

20.12.040 Signs.

A. Development Handbooks. The following represents a compilation of the sign regulations found in the development handbooks.

1. General Provisions. No sign shall be permitted unless it complies with the provisions of this chapter.

2. Exemptions. The following signs shall be exempt from the provisions of this title:

a. Traffic signs installed by a government agency.

b. Directional, wayfinding program signs installed by a government agency if the signs are consistent with the provisions of the applicable neighborhood plan.

3. Public General Use Type. Signage shall be unlighted or indirectly lighted and limited to a size and message to adequately identify the use. If city owned, the sign shall be subject to review by the Bellingham arts commission. If not owned by the city, signage visible from beyond the property line shall be subject to the same limitations as the permitted uses of the most stringent adjacent general use type.

4. Residential Single General Use Type.

a. Generally.

i. No signs are permitted unless specifically authorized herein.

b. Regulations by Use.

i. Use – Subdivision. One sign per main entrance, which may be indirectly lighted, not to exceed 50 square feet in area may be erected on private property within the subdivision or upon public right-of-way adjacent to the subdivision with approval by the public works department. Message shall be limited to the name of the subdivision only.

ii. Use – Residential and Home Occupation. One sign, which may be indirectly lighted, not more than two square feet in area per sign face shall be permitted. Message shall be limited to name/address/phone number of the occupant/business.

iii. Use – Nonresidential (Conditional Use and Mixed Uses). One sign, which may be indirectly lighted, not to exceed 16 square feet in area per sign face. Message shall be limited to name/address of use only.

iv. Temporary Building Sign. One sign, unlighted, not to exceed eight square feet shall be permitted.

v. Real estate sign.

(A) One sign, unlighted, not to exceed six square feet shall be permitted per residential street frontage.

(B) Two open house directional signs for each such open house, not to exceed eight square feet per sign face may be placed in the unpaved portion of the street right-of-way only during daylight hours and only when seller or agent is in attendance of property for sale. Signs shall not obstruct vision at intersections, interfere with traffic of any kind, or create a traffic hazard.

(C) Signs advertising a subdivision shall be limited to one single-faced sign per main entrance not to exceed 16 square feet. Said sign shall be placed wholly on private property within the subdivision and shall be taken down after the close of sale of 60 percent of the lots. Thereafter signs shall be limited to individual properties as regulated in subsection (A)(4)(a) of this section.

5. Residential Multi General Use Type.

a. Generally.

i. No signs are permitted unless specifically authorized herein.

b. Regulation by Use.

i. Use – Duplex/Multifamily Dwelling Unit. One sign for every abutting street, which may be indirectly or internally lighted, not to exceed 16 square feet is permitted. Message shall be limited to name of complex and address only.

ii. Use – Home Occupation. One sign not more than two square feet in area, flush to the building shall be permitted. Message shall be limited to name/address/phone number of occupant/business only.

iii. Use – Nonresidential (Conditional or Mixed Use). One sign, which may be indirectly or internally lighted, not to exceed 32 square feet per sign face shall be permitted. Message shall be limited to name and address of the use.

iv. Use – Temporary Building Sign. One sign, unlighted, not to exceed 16 square feet shall be permitted.

v. Use – Real Estate Sign.

(A) One sign, unlighted, not to exceed 16 square feet shall be permitted per street frontage.

(B) Two open house directional signs, not to exceed eight square feet per sign face may be placed in the unpaved portion of the street right-of-way only during daylight hours and only when seller or agent is in attendance of property for sale. Signs shall not be located in the vision triangle, obstruct vision at intersections, interfere with traffic of any kind, or create a traffic hazard.

6. Commercial General Use Type – Regulation by Use Qualifier.

a. Neighborhood.

i. No off-premises signs shall be permitted.

ii. No sign shall exceed 35 feet in height.

iii. Roof signs are prohibited.

iv. No sign or any portion of a sign hereafter erected shall be located on or over public property; however, signs on existing buildings abutting upon a right-of-way may protrude over the right-of-way for a distance not greater than six feet nor closer than two feet from the edge of the curb. There shall be a minimum eight-foot vertical clearance.

v. Signs may be lighted in accordance with the regulations found within the city sign code; however, no flashing or revolving signs shall be permitted.

vi. The total gross area of all permanent exterior signs for any one use shall not exceed one square foot of area to one lineal foot of street frontage, or 100 square feet, whichever is more restrictive.

vii. When neighborhood commercial areas are designed in a coordinated shopping center fashion, only one freestanding sign shall be permitted. Said sign shall not exceed 150 square feet and shall be limited to the name of the shopping center and occupants therein, with the exception that if a gasoline station is represented on the sign, the sign may contain gasoline price information.

viii. Unlighted temporary building signs shall not exceed 32 square feet.

ix. Real estate signs shall be limited to one sign per street frontage, shall be unlighted, and shall not exceed 32 square feet.

x. Specific service signage as defined herein shall be permitted on the public right-of-way consistent with the policies and approval of the public works department.

b. Auto.

i. No off-premises signs shall be permitted. Billboards are permitted in the billboard overlay zones when in accord with the provisions of this code.

ii. No sign or any portion of a sign hereafter erected shall be located on or over public property. Signs flush against a building which abuts upon a right-of-way may protrude over the right-of-way for a distance not greater than two feet. There shall be a minimum eight-foot vertical clearance.

iii. Signs may be lighted in accordance with the regulations found within the city sign code.

iv. Signs may not exceed 250 square feet in area on any one face.

v. Signs may not exceed the height regulations unless oriented to I-5, in which case they shall be no more than 20 feet above the surface of the nearest primary driving lane at the nearest point of the sign.

vi. Unlighted temporary building signs shall not exceed 32 square feet.

vii. Real estate signs shall be limited to one sign per street frontage, shall be unlighted, and shall not exceed 32 square feet.

viii. Specific service signage as defined herein shall be permitted on the public right-of-way consistent with the policies and approval of the public works department.

c. Waterfront.

i. No off-premises signs are permitted.

ii. Signs shall not exceed 35 feet in height.

iii. Signs may be lighted in accordance to standards within the city’s sign code.

iv. Signs shall not exceed 200 square feet in area on any one sign face.

v. Temporary building signs shall not exceed 32 square feet.

vi. Real estate signs shall be limited to one sign per street frontage, shall be unlighted, and shall not exceed 32 square feet.

vii. Specific service signage as defined herein shall be permitted on the public right-of-way consistent with the policies and approval of the public works department.

7. Industrial General Use Type – Regulations by Use Qualifier.

a. Light and Heavy.

i. No off-premises sign shall be permitted. Billboards are permitted in the billboard overlay zones when in accord with the provisions of this code.

ii. No sign or any portion of a sign hereafter erected shall be located on or over public property; however, signs on existing buildings abutting a right-of-way may protrude for a distance not greater than six feet nor closer than two feet from the curb. There shall be a minimum eight-foot vertical clearance.

iii. Freestanding signs shall not exceed 35 feet in height unless oriented to I-5, in which case the sign shall be no higher than 20 feet above the elevation of the nearest driving lane.

iv. Signs shall not exceed 300 square feet in area.

v. Unlighted temporary building signs shall not exceed 64 square feet.

vi. Real estate signs shall be limited to one sign per street frontage, shall be unlighted, and shall not exceed 64 square feet.

vii. Specific service signage as defined herein shall be permitted on the public right-of-way consistent with the policies and approval of the public works department.

b. Marine.

i. No off-premises signs are permitted.

ii. Signs shall not exceed 150 square feet in area.

iii. Signs shall not exceed 25 feet in height.

iv. Unlighted temporary building signs shall not exceed 64 square feet.

vi. Specific service signage as defined herein shall be permitted on the public right-of-way consistent with the policies and approval of the public works department.

8. Planned Use Qualifier.

a. Planned Multi.

i. One sign, which may be indirectly lighted, may be located near the main entrance roads on private property. Said sign shall not exceed 50 square feet in area. Message shall be limited to the name of the planned project only.

b. Planned Commercial.

i. All signage must be an integral, coordinated part of a sign design plan for the entire complex under one ownership.

ii. Roof signs are prohibited.

iii. All signs shall be flush against the side of the building except as provided below.

iv. One freestanding sign not higher than 25 feet shall be permitted at the main entrance. The determination of whether an entrance functions as a main entrance shall be made by the director of the department of planning and economic development. Said sign may be lighted but the message shall be limited to the name of the complex and its occupants, with the exception that if a gasoline station is represented on the sign, the sign may contain gasoline price information. Sign area on any one face shall not exceed 275 square feet.

v. Planned commercial areas larger than four acres shall be permitted one project identification sign not higher than 25 feet at each secondary entrance. Said sign may be lighted and the message shall be limited to the name of the complex and address. Total square footage of all secondary signs shall not exceed 250 square feet. The maximum size of an individual secondary sign shall not exceed 150 square feet.

vi. One freeway-oriented sign shall be permitted upon property abutting the right-of-way of I-5 provided:

(A) The sign shall be located on site, advertising the use located thereon.

(B) The sign shall be limited to a maximum height of 25 feet, or 20 feet above the surface of the nearest primary driving lane of the freeway at a point nearest to the proposed location of the sign.

(C) The sign area shall not exceed a maximum of 275 square feet.

(D) The sign shall be located so as to minimize impact on residential areas.

(E) The total number of freeway-oriented signs shall be limited to one such sign per parcel of record as of June 18, 1984. The council may further limit the extent and number of such signs if felt to cause adverse impact to the general public.

(F) The applicant shall be responsible for coordinating any such sign with the state of Washington and the State Scenic Vistas Act.

vii. Specific service signage as defined herein shall be permitted on the public right-of-way consistent with the policies and approval of the public works department.

viii. If a gasoline station is located within a shopping center or multiple use site and is not represented on the center’s signs, it shall be allowed one freestanding sign, not to exceed 75 square feet in area nor 25 feet in height. The message on the sign shall be limited to the name of the use and gasoline prices.

ix. Off-premises signs are not permitted. Billboards are permitted in the billboard overlay zones when in accord with the provisions of this code.

c. Planned Industrial.

i. All signage must be an integral coordinated part of a sign design plan for the entire complex.

ii. Roof signs are prohibited.

iii. All signs shall be flush against the side of the building except as provided below.

iv. One freestanding sign not higher than 25 feet shall be permitted at each main entrance. Said sign may be lighted but the message shall be limited to the name of the complex and its occupants, with the exception that if a gasoline station is represented on the sign, the sign may contain gasoline price information. Sign area on any one face shall not exceed 275 square feet.

v. One freeway-oriented sign shall be permitted upon property abutting the right-of-way of I-5 provided:

(A) The sign shall be located on site, advertising the use located thereon.

(B) The sign shall be limited to a maximum height of 25 feet, or 20 feet above the surface of the nearest primary driving lane of the freeway at a point nearest to the proposed location of the sign.

(C) The sign area shall not exceed a maximum of 275 square feet.

(D) The sign shall be located so as to minimize impact on residential areas.

(E) The total number of freeway-oriented signs shall be limited to one such sign per parcel of record as of June 18, 1984. The council may further limit the extent and number of such signs if felt to cause adverse impact to the general public.

(F) The applicant shall be responsible for coordinating any such sign with the state of Washington and the State Scenic Vistas Act.

vi. Specific service signage as defined herein shall be permitted on the public right-of-way consistent with the policies and approval of the public works department.

viii. If a gasoline station is located within a shopping center or multiple use site and it is not represented on the center’s signs, it shall be allowed one freestanding sign, not to exceed 75 square feet in area nor 25 feet in height. The message on the sign shall be limited to the name of the use and gasoline prices.

ix. Off-premises signs are not permitted. Billboards are permitted in the billboard overlay zones when in accord with the provisions of this code.

B. Off-Premises Signs. Off-premises signs are not permitted. Billboards are permitted in the billboard overlay zones when located according to the provisions of this code.

C. Nonconforming Signs.

1. A nonconforming sign shall be permitted to remain until such time that said sign becomes abandoned or unsafe; or is proposed to be replaced, relocated and/or structurally or electronically altered (except for off-premises signs).

2. A nonconforming sign advertising a conforming use, when replaced or changed as in subsection (C)(1) of this section, shall comply with the provisions of this chapter (except for off-premises signs).

3. A nonconforming sign, when replaced or changed, shall comply with the provisions of this chapter, or one sign may replace all existing exterior signs if the total square footage of said sign does not exceed 75 percent of the aggregate total square footage of the existing signs nor constitutes more than 150 percent of the sign area permitted by regulations of the applicable land use designation (except for off-premises signs or billboards).

4. Off-premises and outdoor advertising signs shall be allowed until March 13, 1996, to amortize their value. All off-premises signs existing after the last date of amortization shall be considered in violation of this chapter and shall be removed from the city; provided, that nothing contained herein shall require the removal of any sign where such requirement is prohibited by state or federal law or would require the payment of compensation for removal.

D. Noncommercial Messages. Any sign, display, device or other message permitted, but not required, under this code or ordinances of the city may contain, in lieu of any other copy, any otherwise lawful noncommercial message that does not direct attention to a business operated for profit or to a commodity, service or property for sale or rent, and that complies with all other requirements of this code and other ordinances of the city.

E. Billboard Standards.

1. A billboard may be relocated or replaced under the following provisions:

a. Owners of relocated or replaced billboards shall obtain a transferable billboard relocation permit at the time of the release of a demolition permit for a billboard structure. This permit shall include the site, number, and size of the billboard. The permit is valid for five years from the date of issuance.

b. Relocated or replaced billboards require a building permit. Building permit applications shall be accompanied by a billboard relocation permit. One-time-only registration fees and yearly tracking fee is required.

c. A holder of a billboard relocation permit may combine multiple small billboard faces to make larger boards of up to the maximum size (300 square feet).

2. A billboard may be relocated provided:

a. If a billboard structure is eliminated in the relocation process, such as by combining multiple structures, the eliminated structure may not be recreated.

b. A relocated billboard face will not exceed the size of the original face or 300 square feet, whichever is smaller. A holder of multiple billboard relocation permits may trade billboard face areas between permits. For instance, two 140-square-foot billboard faces may be relocated as one 280-square-foot billboard face. If a billboard face is eliminated in the relocation process, such as by combining multiple faces, the eliminated face may not be recreated.

c. A back-to-back, a side-by-side, or a “V” billboard may not be relocated to two separate billboards. A back-to-back, a side-by-side, or a “V” billboard may relocate as a back-to-back, a side-by-side, or a “V” billboard, if it meets the standards of this code.

3. Performance Standards.

a. Billboards which do not meet the standards of this chapter are nonconforming.

b. Landscaping shall be provided as follows:

i. Provide a new street tree if none exists within 50 feet.

ii. No removal of street trees and code-required landscaping. Maintenance and trimming in and around the base of the billboard structure is allowed.

iii. Landscaping (defined in Chapter 20.08 BMC) of evergreen plants at the billboard base in industrial designations.

iv. In planned and commercial designations, provide substantial screening of the billboard base by placing six-foot-tall evergreen plants in the area below the billboard face. These plants shall, at maturity, grow as tall as the bottom of the billboard face, but may be less than six feet tall if the billboard face is less than six feet off the ground.

v. Landscaping shall be of native vegetation and low-water using.

c. Signage shall not be a hologram or appear to move. Three-dimensional extensions from billboard faces are allowed if they do not appear to be three-dimensional from the front. Lighting shall be indirect and glare shielded from traffic and nearby residences. Lighting shall not be within the billboard graphic, move, flash, or blink.

d. A billboard shall not be located within 300 feet of a residential zone unless it can be demonstrated the structure will not have a significant negative visual impact on adjacent residences. This determination shall be made by the director at least 10 days after written notice is mailed to residential property owners within 300 feet of the proposed structure.

e. Billboards in planned designations under development may remain only if included in the new planned contract. The billboard must be compatible in terms of scale, use and location. A planned contract is required if a billboard is proposed on a vacant planned site. Conditions of the planned contract shall only address the impacts created by the billboard.

f. The minimum spacing between billboards on the same side of the street facing traffic in commercial and planned designations is 300 feet and in heavy and light industrial designations is 150 feet.

g. All billboards are subject to the technical approval of the public works department.

h. Billboards are not allowed in required setbacks from residential and public designations or in the right-of-way, as measured from the vertical extension of any portion of the billboard.

i. “V” boards are allowed if the angle between the billboard faces is no more than 30 degrees.

j. No more than two billboard structures may be located within 100 feet of all the property corners of an intersection. See Figure 20.12.040.

k. The maximum number of billboards on both sides of a street shall be four within any 1,320 feet.

l. Maintenance. All damaged or disfigured billboards, including posters, shall be repaired within 20 days of the occurrence of damage or disfigurement.

m. Billboard height shall not exceed the allowed height for signs in the underlying land use designation, and in no case shall exceed 35 feet in height.

F. Signs Prohibited in Median Strips and Roundabouts.

1. Signs are prohibited citywide within any median strip or roundabout located within the city right-of-way, regardless of use type, zoning, or neighborhood.

2. Traffic signs installed by a government agency, and directional, wayfinding program signs installed by a government agency, are exempt from this provision if the signs are consistent with the provisions of any applicable neighborhood plan.

Figure 20.12.040

[Ord. 2014-09-049 § 32; Ord. 2011-08-042; Ord. 2001-04-019; Ord. 10674 §§ 7 – 16, 1995; Ord. 10592 §§ 1, 2, 1994; Ord. 10039 § 2, 1990; Ord. 9908 § 2, 1989; Ord. 9652 §§ 2, 3, 1987; Ord. 9582 § 6, 1986; Ord. 9545 § 2, 1986; Ord. 9333 § 1, 1984; Ord. 9024, 1982].

20.12.050 Fences.

A. Fences, walls, and hedges when located within a required yard shall not exceed the following height limits:

1. Front yard on an interior lot: 54 inches (four feet, six inches).

2. Front yard on a corner lot: 42 inches (three feet, six inches).

3. Side yard on a flanking street: 42 inches (three feet, six inches).

4. Interior side and rear yards: 72 inches (six feet).

5. Vision clearance triangle: 36 inches (three feet).

B. Fences, walls and hedges when located on private property but not located within a required yard shall not exceed the height limitation of the zone.

C. Fences, walls and hedges may be permitted to exceed the maximum height if the following information is submitted, and an administrative exception is approved as provided below:

1. Plans showing the location of the proposed fence and all buildings within 50 feet.

2. An illustrative drawing of the fence, type of construction material, and the proposed height.

3. The written consent of all abutting property owners. Upon submittal of the information, the planning and public works directors or their delegates must find that the fence as proposed will not be detrimental to the neighborhood in terms of view, light, and air; nor would be injurious to traffic safety. [Ord. 9024, 1982].

20.12.060 Vision clearance triangle.

A. All corner lots in areas designated other than commercial or industrial which require a front and side yard on a flanking street shall provide and maintain a clear vision triangle at the intersection of the street rights-of-way for the purpose of traffic safety.

B. All corner lots within commercial areas abutting an intersection which does not have a stop/go light shall provide and maintain a clear vision triangle for the purpose of traffic safety.

C. The vision triangle shall be the area defined within boundaries determined by measuring 20 feet along both the front and side fee title property lines and diagonally connecting the ends of the two lines. (See BMC 20.08.020, Figure 7.)

D. No building, structure, vehicle, object, sign or vegetative growth over 36 inches in height shall be permitted within this triangle; provided, however, that the public works department may authorize the location of one sign within this triangle if the lowermost portion of that sign is at least nine feet above the ground and the support for said sign will not in their opinion constitute a traffic hazard.

E. Upon request, the director of public works shall have the authority to grant an administrative waiver from the vision clearance requirement if the director of public works determines that construction within this triangle will not adversely impact traffic or pedestrian safety. Reasons for the waiver shall be limited to special circumstances such as the existence of available right-of-way in excess of city standards or unique traffic flow (one-way).

F. It shall be the responsibility of the property owner adjacent to the vision triangle to maintain the visibility within this triangle pursuant to the requirements herein. [Ord. 9024, 1982].

20.12.070 Walkways.

Pedestrian walkways connecting private properties shall be encouraged and the planning and economic development director shall have the authority and sole discretion to waive landscaping requirements to the extent necessary for the construction of such facilities. [Ord. 9908 § 1, 1989; Ord. 9620 § 2, 1986].

20.12.080 Adult entertainment.

A. Adult entertainment uses shall be prohibited in all use districts unless they are located in the adult entertainment overlay district. The adult entertainment overlay district shall consist of the following planned industrial districts: Area 1 of the Puget neighborhood plan, Area 2 and 5 of the Mt. Baker neighborhood plan and Area 18 of the Guide Meridian neighborhood plan, all as shown on Figures 20.12.080(A), (B) and (C). Adult entertainment uses may only be permitted in these planned industrial districts if specifically approved through a planned development contract or contract amendment. Planned development contracts, resolutions or ordinances which specify that all uses listed in the planned industrial district are permitted, but do not specifically list adult entertainment, shall not be construed to allow adult entertainment uses.

B. Adult entertainment uses are prohibited within 500 feet of the following; provided, that an adult entertainment use shall not be made nonconforming by the location of one of the following uses within 500 feet after the adult entertainment use has become established:

1. Use districts with a general use type of residential single, residential multi, or any other type of residential classification; or districts which specify residential uses as a mixed use;

2. Another adult entertainment use or an adult motel as defined in BMC 6.30.020;

3. A single or multiple-family residential use;

4. Public or private primary or secondary schools or facilities owned and operated by such schools;

5. Day care centers, preschools, nurseries, or other child care facilities;

6. Public parks, including trails, vistas and other recreational facilities;

7. Churches, temples, synagogues and chapels;

8. Public facilities, including but not limited to libraries, post offices, government offices and courthouses;

9. Residential, day treatment or workshop facilities primarily oriented to the physically or mentally disabled;

10. Senior citizen service centers or residential facilities with the primary emphasis oriented to senior citizens;

11. Historic landmarks as formally designated by city, state or national guidelines;

12. Taverns or bars where alcoholic beverages are sold and consumed.

C. The 500-foot distance shall be a straight, horizontal line, measured from the nearest point of the wall of the building or portion of the building (for example, a tenant space within a multi-tenant building) proposed to be used for an adult entertainment use to:

1. The same point of another adult entertainment use;

2. A lot or portion of a lot owned or leased for any of the uses listed in subsection (B)(3) through (11) of this section; or

3. A residential land use district as described in subsection (B)(1) of this section.

D. The following sign and display regulations apply to all adult entertainment uses which are nonconforming uses. These regulations are also intended to be used as guidelines for drafting sign regulations for planned contracts allowing adult entertainment uses.

Each use shall be limited to one sign, flush against the wall of the building, not to exceed 100 square feet per face. There shall be no pictorial or graphic symbols on the sign, on any portion of the building, or in a window display visible to the public. Revolving, moving and flashing signs are prohibited. Inflatable signs, banners, private flags, streamers, twirlers, balloons, advertising search lights and flares are prohibited. Signs placed on vehicles or trailers which are parked or located for the primary purpose of displaying the sign are prohibited. No sign shall extend higher than the top of the wall or parapet of the building and shall not be higher than 25 feet. Roof signs are prohibited. Informational material on the outside of the building in window displays visible to the public, including the sign, is limited to the name and address of the business, identification of the establishment as an adult use, and the days and hours of operation. No signs shall be oriented to the freeway (I-5).

Figure 20.12.080(A)

Figure 20.12.080(B)

Figure 20.12.080(C)

[Ord. 10528 § 9, 1994].