Chapter 20.65


20.65.010    Purpose.

20.65.050    Permitted uses.

20.65.100    Accessory uses.

20.65.150    Conditional uses.

20.65.200    Prohibited uses.

20.65.250    Minimum lot size.

20.65.255    Minimum lot frontage.

20.65.350    Building setbacks.

20.65.400    Height limitations.

20.65.450    Site design.

20.65.500    Open space.

20.65.550    Buffer area.

20.65.600    Sign regulations.

20.65.650    Development criteria.

20.65.651    Facility design.

20.65.652    Landscaping.

20.65.653    Off-street parking and loading.

20.65.654    Sewer, water, and drainage.

20.65.655    Driveways.

20.65.656    Access.

20.65.657    Lighting.

20.65.658    Binding site plan.

20.65.700    Performance standards.

20.65.010 Purpose.

The purpose of the Gateway Industrial District is to supply sufficient areas arranged in a concentrated form for land use activities which promote Canadian-American business activity. In addition, the intent of this district is to encourage land uses and associated densities which will be complementary with light impact industrial park standards while allowing reasonable transition uses of the properties. The district shall be located within urban growth areas and implemented consistent with the goals, objectives and policies of the Comprehensive Plan. The district should be located near major international transportation corridors in such a fashion as to provide safe and convenient access that would not impact adjacent nonindustrial activities. Further, the district should be in areas where adequate public services including but not limited to all-weather roads, public sewer and water and stormwater drainage are available. The district provides for uses that present a positive development image to business travelers and may provide for commercial uses that serve the traveling public; however, commercial activities may not be dependent upon attracting freeway motorists except in areas within one-quarter mile of a full freeway interchange. (Ord. 2011-043 Exh. A, 2011; Ord. 98-083 Exh. A § 55, 1998).

20.65.050 Permitted uses.

The following permitted and accessory uses shall be allowed subject to an evaluation by the zoning administrator pursuant to the provisions of this chapter and Chapter 20.80 WCC. No permitted or conditional use shall be issued a building permit without provision of public sewer and water as defined in Chapter 20.97 WCC except as provided in WCC 20.65.058 and 20.65.654. Further, each permitted and accessory use shall be administered pursuant to the applicable provisions of the Whatcom County SEPA Ordinance, the Whatcom County Subdivision Ordinance and the Whatcom County Shoreline Management Program.

.051 General office buildings, business firm headquarters and professional offices.

.052 Custom brokerage houses, freight terminals, indoor warehousing and storage, parcel delivery service, freight forwarding, inspection weighing services, and indoor packaging and crating.

.053 Wholesale trade or sales of industrial equipment, including indoor storage of durable and nondurable goods, and outdoor storage of new or reconditioned equipment where such outdoor storage areas individually meet all of the design and development standards.

.054 Light impact industrial uses that are primarily related to services, distribution, manufacture and assembly of finished products, and are contained within buildings except as provided in WCC 20.65.103.

.055 The following uses within one-quarter mile of a freeway interchange; except, that where this boundary divides a single parcel up to 10 percent of the area of a parcel that lies outside of this boundary may be included within it for the purposes of lot coverage and open space provisions:

(1) Retail shops; provided, they do not exceed 10,000 square feet per shop in the Bellingham UGA. Retail shops in other Gateway Industrial areas shown on that map may not exceed 35,000 square feet per retail shop.

(2) Tourist information centers.

(3) Post offices.

(4) Repair garages, and towing services when based at a service station.

(5) Banks and/or bank machines.

(6) Hotels and motels.

(7) Indoor or outdoor commercial recreational facilities.

.056 The following uses; provided, that maximum allowable floor area of buildings on parcels located beyond one-quarter mile of a freeway interchange shall not exceed 6,000 square feet per individual use or an aggregate of 30,000 square feet within a single development:

(1) Barber and beauty shops.

(2) Bakery shops.

(3) Drug stores, hardware stores, food markets and other convenience retail shops.

(4) Adult care centers, mini-day care centers or day care centers.

(5) Recreational vehicle parks and associated sales and service facilities.

(6) Churches.

(7) Service stations.

(8) Laundry and dry cleaning establishments.

(9) Eating and drinking establishments.

(10) Commercial storage of personal recreational boats and trailers, recreational vehicles and accompanying mini-storage.

.057 Agriculture, including commercial horticulture and tree farming, but excluding intensive animal husbandry, with or without public services as long as services meet the requirements of the fire code and the health department.

.058 Public uses which because of locational requirements are necessary in the Gateway Industrial District, excluding state education facilities and correction facilities.

.059 One residential unit for owner-manager or caretaker when part of a building in which the primary use is located.

.060 One existing single-family unit per lot.

.061 One one-story detached accessory storage building per lot; provided, that the floor area shall not exceed 200 square feet and shall only be used for personal storage and not for habitation or business; and provided further, that the storage building shall contain no indoor plumbing but may be served with electrical power for lighting.

.062 Public parks and recreation facilities included in an adopted city or county Comprehensive Plan or Park Plan.

.063 Trails, trailheads, restroom facilities and associated parking areas for no more than 30 vehicles.

.064 Activity centers.

.081 Freight railroad switching yards and terminals. (Ord. 2018-006 § 3 (Exh. C), 2018; Ord. 2016-035 § 1 (Exh. A), 2016; Ord. 2009-034 § 1 (Att. A), 2009; Ord. 2005-079 § 1, 2005; Ord. 2004-026 § 1, 2004; Ord. 2004-014 § 2, 2004; Ord. 99-062, 1999; Ord. 99-040 § 1, 1999; Ord. 99-033 § 1, 1999; Ord. 98-020 § 1, 1998; Ord. 90-27, 1990).

20.65.100 Accessory uses.

.101 Employee recreation facilities and play areas.

.102 Temporary buildings for construction purposes while a building permit is valid for the primary use for a period not to exceed two years or the duration of such construction, whichever is less.

.103 Screened outdoor storage not to exceed five percent of the gross indoor floor area except as provided for in WCC 20.65.053 for new or reconditioned industrial equipment. Outdoor storage may exceed five percent where such storage is completely roofed with side screening preventing view from arterials or interstate highways, and meets the development and other standards of this district.

.104 Retail sales and repair of merchandise manufactured, assembled or stored on the site and consistent with the definition of accessory uses in Chapter 20.97 WCC (Definitions).

.105 Other accessory uses and buildings, including security and caretaker residences, customarily appurtenant to and necessary for a principally permitted use.

.106 On-site treatment and storage facilities for hazardous wastes associated with outright permitted uses or approved conditional uses subject to the most current siting criteria under Chapter 173-303 WAC.

.107 Mini-day care centers and day care centers operated by, maintained by or funded by business in the district for the purpose of serving the child care needs of employees whose place of employment lies within this zone district.

.108 Electric vehicle rapid charging stations and battery exchange facilities, accessory to service stations. (Ord. 2012-001 § 1 (Exh. A), 2012; Ord. 2009-034 § 1 (Att. A), 2009; Ord. 99-068, 1999; Ord. 89-10, 1989).

20.65.150 Conditional uses.

.151 Trailheads with parking areas for more than 30 vehicles.

.152 Public or private parks that are not included in an adopted city or county Comprehensive Plan or Park Plan.

.153 Athletic fields.

.180 Major passenger intermodal terminals.

.185 Type I solid waste handling facilities.

.186 Mitigation banks as a form of compensatory mitigation for wetland and habitat conservation area impacts when permitted in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 16.16 WCC; provided, applications for mitigation banks shall be processed as a major development project pursuant to Chapter 20.88 WCC. (Ord. 2005-068 § 2, 2005; Ord. 2004-026 § 1, 2004; Ord. 2004-014 § 2, 2004).

20.65.200 Prohibited uses.

All uses not listed as permitted, accessory, or conditional uses are prohibited, including but not limited to the following, which are listed here for purposes of clarity:

.201 Reserved.

.202 Adult businesses. (Ord. 2016-011 § 1 (Exh. L), 2016; Ord. 99-070 § 2, 1999).

20.65.250 Minimum lot size.

.251 Hotels and motels shall have a minimum net parcel size of 20,000 square feet.

.252 Other uses shall have a minimum lot size consistent with the area required to meet the building setback, lot coverage and development standards of this district.

20.65.255 Minimum lot frontage.

For the purpose of dividing property, minimum lot frontage shall be sufficient to provide adequate access and utility development, and meet applicable building setback, buffer, open space and development standards of the district. In no case shall the frontage be less than 30 feet. (Ord. 99-045 § 1, 1999).

20.65.350 Building setbacks.

Building setbacks shall be administered pursuant to WCC 20.80.200 except that all buildings shall have a minimum setback from all street classifications including interstate highways of 25 feet and side and rear yard setbacks shall be at least 10 feet.

20.65.400 Height limitations.

Maximum building height shall not exceed 35 feet; except, that an additional foot in height is allowed for each one-foot increase in setback in the yard adjoining the interstate highway up to 45 feet in the Bellingham Urban Growth Area. Height of structures, where applicable, shall also conform to the general requirements of WCC 20.80.675. (Ord. 2018-006 § 3 (Exh. C), 2018; Ord. 2016-035 § 1 (Exh. A), 2016; Ord. 2013-057 § 1 (Exh. A), 2013; Ord. 99-040 § 1, 1999; Ord. 99-033 § 1, 1999).

20.65.450 Site design.

In the Bellingham UGA, individual sites shall be designed in a clustered or concentrated form of development instead of lining the road frontage. (Ord. 2018-006 § 3 (Exh. C), 2018; Ord. 2016-035 § 1 (Exh. A), 2016; Ord. 99-040 § 1, 1999).

20.65.500 Open space.

.501 All commercial uses permitted by WCC 20.65.055 above shall keep 20 percent of the site free of buildings, structures, hard surfacing, parking areas and impervious surfaces.

.502 All other uses shall keep 35 percent of the site free of buildings, structures, hard surfacing, parking areas and impervious surfaces.

20.65.550 Buffer area.

When a parcel situated within this district adjoins an Urban Residential Medium Density District, side and rear yard setbacks shall be increased to 25 feet. In the Bellingham UGA, buffer areas shall be increased to 100 feet for commercial or industrial projects which exceed 5,000 square feet of floor area in one building or complex or generate more than 50 vehicle trips per day. Said area shall be landscaped consistent with the requirements of WCC 20.80.345. Use of buffer areas and setbacks for bicycle and pedestrian trails is encouraged. (Ord. 2018-006 § 3 (Exh. C), 2018; Ord. 2016-035 § 1 (Exh. A), 2016; Ord. 99-040 § 1, 1999; Ord. 99-033 § 1, 1999; Ord. 89-117, 1989).

20.65.600 Sign regulations.

Sign regulations shall be administered pursuant to the provisions of this chapter and of WCC 20.80.400. The following signs are permitted within this district:

.601 No on-premises signs advertising noncommercial uses shall be oriented to the freeway except one per use that meets the following standards:

(1) Corporate or business names and/or registered trademarks that are not freestanding shall be integrated into the design of a building, and shall not exceed the following size:

Total area of building side on which sign is mounted

Maximum size of sign

800 sq. ft. or greater

15% of total area of side

between 360 and 800 sq. ft.

120 sq. ft.

less than 360 sq. ft.

64 sq. ft.

(2) Or, a freestanding sign that is compatible in architectural design with the building and set in landscaped areas with a base treatment constructed of stone, masonry, or wood treated against water and insect damage that is at least two feet high, and at least one-half as wide as the sign face, and at least one-fourth as deep as the width of the sign face, and the sign shall not exceed 15 feet in height. The maximum size of the sign shall be 15 percent of the total area of the side of the building oriented towards the freeway or 250 square feet, whichever is less.

.602 No on-premises signs advertising commercial uses shall be oriented towards the freeway except on-site signs for commercial uses located within a one-fourth mile radius of a full freeway interchange.

.603 On-premises freestanding signs shall not exceed 30 feet in height nor 250 square feet in area on all faces, shall be set within landscaped areas, and shall not be located closer than 200 feet apart regardless of ownership or number of businesses.

.604 Wall mounted signs on walls facing away from the freeway are limited to one wall sign per business with a maximum size of 64 square feet. No roof-mounted signs are permitted.

.605 Lighted signs shall only be internally or indirectly illuminated.

.606 No off-premises advertising signs are allowed except as provided for in WCC 20.80.410, and as allowed by Chapter 47.42 RCW, the Washington Scenic Vistas Act. In addition, those signs along the interstate highway shall also meet the following requirements: maximum height of 20 feet; maximum size of 150 square feet; minimum separation between signs of 1,000 feet; and no more than two signs within any one mile of freeway frontage. (Ord. 90-85, 1990; Ord. 90-66 § 1, 1990).

20.65.650 Development criteria.

(Ord. 96-056 Att. A § A1, 1996).

20.65.651 Facility design.

(1) Each development shall screen roof-mounted mechanical equipment so as not to be visible from surrounding uses or roads.

(2) The site plan, building design, and landscape plan shall enhance the attractiveness and efficiency of the Gateway Industrial environment, within itself and in relation to other existing or proposed development through implementation of the following standards:

(a) The building masses, open spaces around them, landscaping, and signage are integrated so as to enhance the attractiveness of the project to the international traffic corridors.

(b) Portals, service loading areas, automobile access points, exterior public activity locations, parking areas and similar features are located in a manner that maximizes the efficient use of these facilities without decreasing its attractiveness from local transportation corridors.

(c) Individual developments are designed to accommodate additional development on adjacent property in an integrated manner.

20.65.652 Landscaping.

Refer to WCC 20.80.300 for landscaping requirements. (Ord. 89-117, 1989).

20.65.653 Off-street parking and loading.

Off-street parking and loading shall be administered pursuant to WCC 20.80.500, except that no gravel surfaces are permitted.

20.65.654 Sewer, water, and drainage.

Stormwater detention and retention shall be consistent with best management practices and shall be sufficient to prevent post-development runoff exceeding pre-development runoff. Drainage plans shall be reviewed and approved by the county engineer, pursuant to WCC 20.80.630. Public water and sewer service shall be provided by water districts, sewer districts, and/or municipalities before any development occurs with the following exceptions:

(1) Agriculture as specified in WCC 20.65.058 without public water and public sewer service; and

(2) In the Birch Bay-Blaine Subarea, all development that files a no-protest agreement to participate in a local improvement district to provide sewer and water services from Birch Bay Water and Sewer District or other public purveyor whenever the first one of the following occurs:

(a) Total acreage of developed land reaches 67 acres; or

(b) Application for a building permit is made for development that would necessitate either public water or public sewer service according to the Whatcom County health department or Whatcom County fire flow standards; or

(c) The zone district is amended to Gateway Industrial for the area zoned Rural 10A located between Portal Way and Interstate 5 north of the existing district.

All development activity within Whatcom County shall be subject to the stormwater management provisions of the Whatcom County Development Standards unless specifically exempted.

No project permit shall be issued prior to meeting submittal requirements relating to stormwater management in the appropriate chapters of the Whatcom County Development Standards. (Ord. 96-056 Att. A § A2, 1996; Ord. 94-022, 1994).

20.65.655 Driveways.

Consistent with WCC 20.80.640, driveway plans shall be reviewed and approved by the county engineer or, where applicable, the State Department of Transportation. (Ord. 2013-057 § 1 (Exh. A), 2013).

20.65.656 Access.

Access shall conform to the provisions of WCC 20.80.565 and 20.80.660. Any changes or improvements necessary for county roads to maintain the current level of service and prevent any increase in the accident rate will be provided for by the development as determined by the Whatcom County engineer.

20.65.657 Lighting.

Lighting shall be designed to avoid excessive glare onto neighboring properties, and to not create safety hazards or unreasonable interference with adjacent uses.

20.65.658 Binding site plan.

Should the commercial or industrial use be developed as part of a binding site plan, it shall be administered pursuant to Title 21 of the Whatcom

County Code (Subdivision Regulations) and additional requirements as applicable. The applicant shall demonstrate that the proposed development:

(1) Will be harmonious and in accordance with the general and specific objectives of Whatcom County’s Comprehensive Plan and zoning regulations;

(2) Will be designed, constructed, operated, and maintained so as to be harmonious and appropriate in appearance with the existing or intended character of the general vicinity, and specifically that it is harmonious with the intent of all sign and development standards of this district;

(3) Will not be hazardous or disturbing to existing or future neighboring uses;

(4) Will not result in the destruction, loss or damage of any natural, scenic or historic feature of major importance; and

(5) Will meet all development, performance, and other standards of this district.

20.65.700 Performance standards.

The following provisions shall apply to all uses within this district:

.701 The proposed use shall not be hazardous or disturbing to existing or future development within the district.

.702 There shall be no production of noise at any property line of any use in this district in excess of the average intensity of street and traffic noise found in the district.

.703 There shall be no emission of significant quantities of dust, dirt, odors, smoke, or toxic gases and fumes.

.704 There shall be no production of heat, glare or vibration perceptible from any property line of the premises upon which such heat, glare or vibration is being generated.

.705 There shall be no off-site release to soil or surface drainage ways of water borne or liquid pollutants. (Ord. 87-65, 1987).