Chapter 20.68
HEAVY IMPACT INDUSTRIAL (HII) DISTRICT

Sections:

20.68.010    Purpose.

20.68.050    Permitted uses.

20.68.100    Accessory uses.

20.68.130    Administrative approval uses.

20.68.150    Conditional uses.

20.68.200    Prohibited uses.

20.68.250    Minimum lot size.

20.68.255    Minimum lot frontage.

20.68.350    Building setbacks.

20.68.400    Height limitations.

20.68.450    Lot coverage.

20.68.500    Repealed.

20.68.550    Buffer area.

20.68.600    Sign regulations.

20.68.650    Development criteria.

20.68.651    Landscaping.

20.68.652    Off-street parking and loading.

20.68.653    Drainage.

20.68.654    Driveways.

20.68.655    Access.

20.68.656    Maintenance.

20.68.657    Enclosure.

20.68.700    Performance standards.

20.68.701    Pollution control and nuisance abatement.

20.68.702    Heat, light and glare.

20.68.703    Ground vibration.

20.68.704    Odors.

20.68.705    Noise.

20.68.706    Toxic gases and fumes.

20.68.707    Liquid pollutants.

20.68.708    Appearance.

20.68.709    Marijuana odor.

20.68.010 Purpose.

The purpose of the Heavy Impact Industrial District is to implement the Heavy Impact Industrial land use designation of the Comprehensive Plan by supplying a reasonable amount of land, commensurate with demand, for the location and grouping of heavy impact industrial uses. Heavy industrial uses are primarily related to producing, distributing and changing the form of raw materials; whereby, product demand and industrial employment are predominately basic, that is, serving nonlocal markets. In addition, the purpose of this district is to encourage the siting of industrial uses which will optimize the limited resource of land available for heavy impact industry. A further purpose of this district is to minimize the scope of impacts generated within the HII District and to provide protection for nonindustrial districts situated outside thereof; as enabled through the district’s performance and development standards, and the buffer and setback requirements. (Ord. 98-083 Exh. A § 66, 1998).

20.68.050 Permitted uses.

Unless otherwise provided herein, permitted and accessory uses shall be administered pursuant to the applicable provisions of Chapter 20.80 WCC, Supplementary Requirements, and Chapter 20.84 WCC, Variances, Conditional Uses, Administrative Uses and Appeals, the Whatcom County SEPA Ordinance, the Whatcom County Subdivision Ordinance and the Whatcom County Shoreline Management Program. The purpose of the SIC numbers listed within this chapter is to adopt by reference other activities similar in nature to the use identified herein. (Policies of the subarea Comprehensive Plan may preclude certain permitted uses to occur in particular subareas. Please refer to the policies of the applicable subarea plan to determine the appropriateness of a land use activity listed below.)

.051 The manufacture and processing of food including meat (including packinghouses and slaughterhouses), dairy, fruits, vegetables, seafood, grain mill, large scale bakery, sugar and beverage products, provided the following criteria are met:

(1) Holding pens associated with packinghouses and slaughterhouses shall be limited to that necessary to accommodate animals intended for processing within 24 hours.

(2) The facility shall comply with the solid waste handling standards as set forth in Chapter 173-350 WAC, as administered by the Whatcom County health department as adopted by reference in Chapter 24.06 WAC.

(3) If required by the Washington State Department of Ecology, the following permits shall be obtained:

(a) State waste discharge permit (Chapter 173-216 WAC);

(b) Industrial stormwater permit – general permit (Chapter 173-226 WAC);

(c) An NPDES permit (Chapter 90.48 RCW and Chapter 173-220 WAC).

.052 Manufacturing and processing of textiles including weaving cotton, synthetic, silk or wool fabrics; knitting yarn and thread mills; textile bleaching, dyeing and printing; and carpet manufacture.

.053 The manufacture and processing of lumber and wood including sawmills; planing mills; millwork; veneer, plywood and prefabricated wood products; wooden containers and cooperage.

.054 The following are permitted uses except as otherwise prohibited:

(1) The manufacture and process of paper including pulp, paper and paperboard mills; and building paper and board mill products.

(2) The manufacture and processing of chemicals and allied products including industrial inorganic and organic chemicals; synthetic resins, rubber, fibers and plastic materials; soap, detergents and cleaning preparations; paint, linseed oil, shellac, lacquer and allied products; chemicals from gum and wood; and agricultural chemicals.

(3) Refining and storage of petroleum and asphalt.

(4) The manufacture and processing of rubber and plastic products.

(5) Leather tanning and finishing.

(6) The manufacture and processing of cement and glass; and concrete, gypsum, plaster, abrasive, asbestos and nonmetallic mineral products.

(7) Primary metal industries including blast furnaces and steel works; mills for primary smelting, secondary smelting, refining, reducing, finishing, rolling, drawing, extruding, and casting of ferrous and nonferrous metals; and the manufacture of miscellaneous metal products.

.055 The fabrication of metal products including metal cans, hardware, hand tools, cutlery, heating apparatus, plumbing fixtures, structural metal and stamping.

.056 The manufacture of machinery including engines; turbines; farm machinery and equipment; construction, mining and materials handling equipment; machine tools and dies; and special and general industrial equipment.

.057 The manufacture of electrical machinery including transmission and distribution equipment, and industrial apparatus.

.058 The manufacture of transportation equipment including automobiles, trucks, buses, airplanes, boat building and repair, railroad equipment, bicycles and motorcycles.

.059 Bulk commodity storage facilities, and truck, rail, vessel and pipeline transshipment terminals and facilities.

.060 Stationary thermal power plants with generating capacity of less than 250,000 kilowatts, floating thermal power plants with generating capacity of less than 50,000 kilowatts, and other power plants utilizing renewable resources from solar, wind (Chapter 20.14 WCC) or water sources.

.061 Heavy construction contractors.

.062 Public uses and community facilities including police and fire stations, libraries, activity centers, community centers, park and recreation facilities identified in an adopted city or county Comprehensive Plan or Park Plan, and other similar noncommercial uses, excluding state education facilities and correction facilities.

.063 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.

.064 Uses allowed in the Light Impact Industrial Zone as permitted uses, WCC 20.66.100, shall be permitted outright within the Heavy Impact Industrial District shown on Map 1 of the Urban Fringe Subarea Plan.

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

.066 Marijuana production or processing facility.

.081 Freight railroad switching yards and terminals.

.082 Marine port facilities.

.085 Type I solid waste handling facilities.

.086 Type II solid waste handling facilities. (Ord. 2016-035 § 1 (Exh. A), 2016; Ord. 2015-006 Exh. A, 2015; Ord. 2014-041 Exh. A, 2014; Ord. 2008-043 § 1, 2008; Ord. 2005-079 § 1, 2005; Ord. 2004-026 § 1, 2004; Ord. 2004-014 § 2, 2004; Ord. 99-078, 1999; Ord. 99-062, 1999; Ord. 98-083 Exh. A § 66, 1998; Ord. 91-075, 1991;

Ord. 88-13, 1988; Ord. 87-12, 1987; Ord. 87-11, 1987; Ord. 84-38, 1984).

20.68.100 Accessory uses.

.101 Employee recreation facilities and play areas.

.102 Restaurants, cafes and cafeterias operated primarily for the convenience of employees, clients and customers of the district.

.103 Temporary buildings for construction purposes for a period not to exceed the duration of such construction.

.104 When auxiliary to a principally permitted use: electric utility facilities; substations; generating plants, if less than 50 megawatt (MW) net plant capability; gas works; sewage disposal facilities; solid waste landfills and incinerators.

.105 Other accessory uses and buildings, including security services, customarily appurtenant to 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. (Ord. 2012-001 § 1 (Exh. A), 2012; Ord. 2009-34 § 1 (Att. A), 2009; Ord. 99-068, 1999; Ord. 89-10, 1989; Ord. 87-12, 1987; Ord. 87-11, 1987).

20.68.130 Administrative approval uses.

.131 Commercial mushroom substrate production limited to the Cherry Point Industrial Area and pursuant to the requirements as contained in WCC 20.15.020(2) (commercial mushroom substrate production facilities). (Ord. 2006-031 § 1 (Exh. A), 2006).

20.68.150 Conditional uses.

.152 Uses allowed in the Light Impact Industrial zone as permitted uses, WCC 20.66.100, subject to the following:

(1) Outside of the Urban Fringe Subarea, approval shall be supported by a finding by the hearing examiner that allowing the use will not limit the supply of land available to meet the demand for future heavy industrial uses.

(2) Filing of a deed restriction acknowledging that heavy industrial uses are the preferred uses in the zone and agreeing not to protest proposed heavy industrial uses allowed in the zone in accordance with Chapter 20.68 WCC, and to refrain from legal action against any heavy industrial use in compliance with the regulations of WCC Title 20 and any conditions of approval which might have been proposed.

.154 Treatment and storage facilities for hazardous wastes subject to the following:

(1) The eight criteria for a conditional use listed under WCC 20.84.200.

(2) The most current state siting criteria under Chapter 173-303 WAC.

(3) It shall be the responsibility of the applicant to document to the satisfaction of the approving body the anticipated sources, types, volumes and final disposition of hazardous wastes to be collected and the type of treatments associated with those wastes. The permit shall be limited exclusively to those types of wastes and treatments as documented and approved.

(4) Total off-site facility capacity shall be limited to that needed to treat and store wastes generated within Whatcom County by generators requiring off-site management of hazardous wastes; provided, however, waste streams may be sourced from other jurisdictions through interagency zone designation agreements as approved by the county council, not to exceed 10 percent of the total local hazardous waste stream.

(5) Prior to occupancy of the facility, the State Department of Ecology shall certify to the county that the facility has been constructed consistent with state requirements.

(6) As a condition of approval, the applicant shall be required to keep and maintain accurate and current records of the types, amounts, sources, and final disposition of hazardous wastes collected. The applicant shall provide such records annually to the county, or sooner upon county request. If the facility is found to be exceeding the waste stream limitations or permit restrictions, the county staff shall so report to the approving body who shall have the authority to revoke the permit, following a public hearing, if the limitation has been exceeded absent an emergency situation. Any emergency must be documented by county staff.

(7) Annual inspections of the facility shall be a minimum requirement. The applicant shall be required to forward copies of all facility inspection reports to the county. If deficiencies are found, the operator shall, within 15 days, submit to the county for approval an implementation schedule of corrective measures. Such schedule shall include specific completion dates and inspection reporting procedures.

If the state does not inspect the facility within the year, the applicant shall be required to arrange and bear all costs for an inspection by a qualified and independent inspection agency satisfactory to the county.

(8) Should the facility be found to consistently operate in a manner unsatisfactory to the county in regard to the public health and safety, the permit may be revoked by the approving body following a public hearing.

.156 Public and private parks facilities not included in an adopted city or county Comprehensive Plan or Park Plan.

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

.158 Athletic fields.

.180 Major passenger intermodal terminals.

.187 Type III solid waste handling facilities; provided, that:

(1) The facility or site will not be located within the 100-year floodplain or the Lake Whatcom watershed. The facility or site will not be located within any area identified in an adopted critical areas ordinance unless outside of the floodplain and at least three feet in elevation higher than the floodway elevation;

(2) Solid waste handling facilities shall be located at least 1,500 feet from the following:

(a) All zoning district boundaries, except Commercial Forestry and Industrial Zones;

(b) Public parks, public recreation areas, or publicly-owned wildlife areas;

(c) Archaeological and historical sites that are registered with the State Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation;

(d) Shorelines that are within the jurisdiction of the Shoreline Management Program;

(e) Rivers, streams or creeks that contain documented threatened or endangered fish species;

(f) This 1,500-foot buffer does not apply to:

(i) Structures used for offices, storage areas for equipment, and weigh scales. These facilities shall be set back from the property line 100 feet or the standard zoning district setback, whichever is greater;

(ii) Inert landfills;

(3) Inert landfills shall be located at least 500 feet from the following:

(a) All zoning district boundaries, except Commercial Forestry and Industrial Zones;

(b) Public parks, public recreation areas, or publicly-owned wildlife areas;

(c) Archaeological and historical sites that are registered with the State Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation;

(d) Shorelines that are within the jurisdiction of the Shoreline Management Program;

(e) Rivers, streams or creeks that contain documented threatened or endangered fish species;

(f) This 500-foot buffer does not apply to:

(i) Structures used for offices, storage areas for equipment, and weigh scales. These facilities shall be set back from the property line 100 feet or the standard zoning district setback, whichever is greater;

(4) The facility or site will not result in filling or excavation, location of structures or buildings, driveways or machinery use except for vegetation maintenance within 100 feet of any property line and except for driveways within 150 feet of any county or state road right-of-way;

(5) The facility or site will have vehicular approaches designed to minimize conflict between automobile and truck traffic, will maintain the carrying capacity of county roads, and will be located on a road classified as all weather, except where use is shown to be intermittent and easily delayed until emergency conditions have passed;

(6) The facility or site has complied with the provisions of WCC 20.84.200 and all other ordinances and laws regulating solid waste facilities and sites, such as but not limited to WCC Title 24, the Whatcom County SEPA Ordinance, as well as state and federal regulations concerning solid waste facilities and sites;

(7) All landfills have a final closure plan meeting the requirements of WCC Title 24 and of Chapter 173-350 WAC, and the closure plan includes:

(a) Reclamation in two to 10 acre increments, as appropriately responsive to the size and intensity of the particular activity, with seeding to be accomplished annually but no later than September 30th; and

(b) Permanent vegetative cover that will maintain in healthy growing condition with the level of maintenance that is covered through the financial assurance for post-closure activities;

(8) The buffer areas and visual screening shall include a minimum of 50 feet wide of landscaping meeting the requirements of WCC 20.80.300 (Landscaping);

(9) Solid waste facilities or sites shall be located outside the 10-year time of travel boundary of a public water system’s delineated wellhead protection area;

(10) Solid waste facilities or sites that handle putrescible waste will be located at least 10,000 feet from airports serving turbine-powered aircraft and at least 5,000 feet from airports serving piston-powered aircraft. These buffers shall be measured from the boundary of the Airport Operations Zone or, if the airport is not within an Airport Operations Zone, from the boundary of the airport property;

(11) In addition, the Whatcom County hearing examiner may impose conditions of approval which may be necessary to protect the value and enjoyment of existing adjacent uses.

.188 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; Ord. 99-078, 1999; Ord. 91-075, 1991; Ord. 91-013, 1991; Ord. 88-76, 1988).

20.68.200 Prohibited uses.

All uses not listed as permitted, accessory, administrative approval, 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.

.203 In the Urban Fringe Subarea the following uses are prohibited: petroleum refinery and the primary manufacturing of products thereof, primary manufacturing and processing of rubber, plastics, chemicals, paper, asbestos and products derived thereof; and primary metal industries. (Ord. 2016-011 § 1 (Exh. L), 2016; Ord. 99-078, 1999; Ord. 99-070 § 2, 1999; Ord. 91-075, 1991).

20.68.250 Minimum lot size.

The minimum lot size shall be consistent with the area required to meet the building setback, lot coverage, buffer and development standards of the district. (Ord. 97-057 § 1, 1997; Ord. 96-046 § 1, 1996).

20.68.255 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, and development standards of the district. In no case shall the frontage be less than 30 feet. (Ord. 99-045 § 1, 1999).

20.68.350 Building setbacks.

Building setbacks shall be administered pursuant to WCC 20.80.200, 20.80.254 and 20.68.550. (Ord. 99-078, 1999).

20.68.400 Height limitations.

No maximum height is established; however, when a building exceeds 50 feet, the setback requirements of WCC 20.80.200 shall be increased by one foot for each foot of building height in excess of 50 feet, as applicable to all setbacks.

20.68.450 Lot coverage.

The maximum building or structural coverage shall not exceed 60 percent of the lot size.

20.68.500 Open space.

Repealed by Ord. 97-057. (Ord. 96-046, 1996).

20.68.550 Buffer area.

.551 The industrial user shall establish a buffer for building sites adjoining the boundary of the

Heavy Impact Industrial District (HII), which shall be located adjacent to the district boundary. The purpose of the buffer is to optimize the visual appearance of the site by obscuring industrial activity from view by passing motorists, to contribute to on-site and off-site impact abatement, and to move towards attaining compatibility with surrounding nonindustrial land uses and character.

.552 To implement the buffer requirements of this district, minimum setbacks for heavy industrial buildings and accessory structures shall be established consistent with the following options:

(1) If a planting screen is not provided by the industrial user and no natural vegetative screening exists, the minimum setback(s) shall be 660 feet, as measured from the edge of the district boundary. The setback area may be used for security roads, parking, or open space.

(2) If natural sight-obscuring and dense vegetation exists, the minimum setback(s) shall be 250 feet, as measured from the district boundary; provided, that a minimum width of 50 feet of natural vegetation is retained. The remainder of the setback(s) may be used for security roads, parking, or open space.

(3) If a 50-foot buffer planting screen is established, pursuant to WCC 20.80.345, the minimum setback(s) shall conform to the setback requirements of WCC 20.80.200, as measured from the district boundary. In addition, security roads may be situated within the minimum buffer setback; provided, that the 50-foot wide buffer planting is established.

(4) When a parcel situated within this district is located within the Bellingham Urban Fringe Subarea and adjoins an Urban Residential District or residential district within the city limits, setbacks for heavy industrial buildings and/or uses shall be increased to 100 feet and landscaped in accordance with the requirements of WCC 20.80.345.

(5) In no case shall the northern and western boundaries of the Cherry Point Heavy Industrial area not contiguous to another industrial zone be less than 660 feet, nor the natural vegetation removed except for parking and security or protective uses in accordance with Heavy Impact Industrial Policy 1.05 of the Cherry Point-Ferndale Subarea Comprehensive Plan.

.553 Uses other than heavy industrial will conform to the normal setback requirements as set forth in WCC 20.80.200 and 20.80.254(3) and the buffering requirements for light impact industrial uses WCC 20.66.551.

.554 If any part of said buffer area is separated from, or sold to any contiguous or adjacent owner, lessee or user, the parcel so separated or sold shall be used only as a buffer area in accordance with the above requirements. (Ord. 99-078, 1999; Ord. 97-057 § 1, 1997; Ord. 96-046 § 1, 1996; Ord. 89-117, 1989; Ord. 87-12, 1987; Ord. 87-11, 1987).

20.68.600 Sign regulations.

Sign regulations shall be administered pursuant to WCC 20.80.400.

20.68.650 Development criteria.

(Ord. 96-056 Att. A § A1, 1996).

20.68.651 Landscaping.

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

20.68.652 Off-street parking and loading.

Off-street parking and loading provisions shall be administered pursuant to WCC 20.80.500. In addition, loading areas must be located in such a manner that no loading, unloading and/or maneuvering of trucks associated therewith takes place on public rights-of-way.

20.68.653 Drainage.

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).

20.68.654 Driveways.

Consistent with WCC 20.80.640, driveway plans shall be reviewed by the county engineer or State Department of Transportation, as applicable. (Ord. 2013-057 § 1 (Exh. A), 2013; Ord. 84-38, 1984).

20.68.655 Access.

Access shall conform to the provisions of WCC 20.80.565 and 20.80.660. (Ord. 89-117, 1989).

20.68.656 Maintenance.

The owner, lessee or user shall be responsible for maintaining an orderly appearance of all properties, and shall be responsible for assuring the care and maintenance of any natural growth, where appropriate.

20.68.657 Enclosure.

All manufacturing or fabrication processes which have the potential to produce off-site impacts of a detrimental nature, including light, glare, odors and noise impacts, shall be sufficiently enclosed to mitigate the impacts. (Ord. 99-078, 1999).

20.68.700 Performance standards.

20.68.701 Pollution control and nuisance abatement.

Each industry is required to continuously employ the best pollution control and nuisance abatement technology when reasonably and practicably available for each particular industry; provided, that where federal, state, or regional laws or regulations provide for the level of technology to be employed, the appropriate standards shall apply.

20.68.702 Heat, light and glare.

All operations and facilities producing heat, light or glare, including exterior lights, shall be so constructed, screened or used as to not unreasonably infringe upon the use and enjoyment of property beyond the boundaries of the district.

20.68.703 Ground vibration.

No ground vibration other than that caused by highway vehicles, trains or construction activity shall be permitted, which is discernible without instruments, at or beyond the property line for the use concerned.

20.68.704 Odors.

No odors, dust, dirt, or smoke shall be emitted that are detectable, at or beyond the property line for the use concerned, in such a concentration or of such duration as to cause a public nuisance, or threaten health or safety, or to unreasonably infringe upon the use and enjoyment of property beyond the boundaries of the district. (Ord. 91-075, 1991).

20.68.705 Noise.

No use in this district shall exceed the maximum environmental noise level established by Chapter 173-60 WAC. (Ord. 91-075, 1991).

20.68.706 Toxic gases and fumes.

Any release of toxic gases or fumes must be in compliance with Washington State and Northwest Air Pollution Control Authority standards. (Ord. 91-075, 1991).

20.68.707 Liquid pollutants.

There shall be no off-site release to soil or surface drainage ways of water borne or liquid pollutants. (Ord. 91-075, 1991).

20.68.708 Appearance.

New facilities developed in the Bellingham Urban Fringe Subarea shall 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 such uses shall not change the essential character of the same area. (Ord. 99-078, 1999).

20.68.709 Marijuana odor.

For indoor facilities no odor or smoke shall be emitted that is detectable at or beyond the walls of the facility, in such a concentration or of such duration as to cause a public nuisance, or threaten health or safety, or to unreasonably infringe upon the use and enjoyment of neighboring use. The applicant shall install an exhaust system that is designed and constructed to capture sources of contaminants to prevent spreading of contaminants or odors to other occupied parts of the building or surrounding area. The system must be designed by a licensed Washington State professional engineer. (Ord. 2015-006 Exh. A, 2015).