Chapter 17.30
ADDRESSING AND STREET NAMING

Sections:

17.30.010    Scope and general requirements.

17.30.020    Definitions.

17.30.030    Streets.

17.30.040    Address numbers.

17.30.050    Notification.

17.30.060    Unlawful acts.

17.30.070    Violations.

17.30.080    Fees.

17.30.090    Appeals.

17.30.100    Conflict resolution clause.

17.30.010 Scope and general requirements.

A. Purpose. The purpose of this chapter is to provide an address standard to facilitate efficient response by emergency services, minimize future street name and addressing conflicts, and comply with U.S. postal standards to the greatest extent feasible.

B. Applicability. The requirements of this section shall apply to all property and to all public and private streets in the city of Bellingham and supersede all addressing and street naming standards in Chapters 17.10 and 17.20 BMC.

C. Authority. The fire chief or their designee is authorized to enforce the provisions of this chapter and shall have the authority to render interpretations of this chapter, and to adopt policies, procedures, rules and regulations in order to clarify the application of its provisions. Such interpretations, policies, procedures, rules and regulations shall comply with the purpose of this code and shall not have the effect of waiving requirements specifically provided for in this code. [Ord. 2013-06-044 § 2].

17.30.020 Definitions.

Unless otherwise expressly stated, the following words and terms shall have the meanings shown in this chapter:

“Avenue” means a street of varying lengths that may be directional depending on location in the city.

“Boulevard” means an arterial street with a median.

“Circle” means a short street that returns to itself, or a secondary street that begins and circles back to terminate on the same street.

“Court” means a minor street less than 500 feet in length ending in a turnaround, a cul-de-sac, or permanent dead-end street.

“Drive” means a street that is longer than 1,000 feet and continues through to other rights-of-way.

“Lane” means a street that is generally less than 1,000 feet in length.

“Loop” means a short street that begins and ends on the same street of another name.

“Parkway” means a long, continuous street that handles heavy volumes of traffic and has major thoroughfare characteristics.

“Place” means a cul-de-sac or permanent dead end street. Named from the more major street from which it takes access.

“Road” means a street that is frequently used, has heavy traffic volume, and runs in any direction. This is a county designation that may be continued in city.

“Street” means a street of varying lengths that may be directional depending on location in the city.

“Way” means a street of varying length that may change direction. [Ord. 2013-06-044 § 2].

17.30.030 Streets.

A. General. Streets within the city of Bellingham shall be designated, identified and maintained in accordance with subsections (A) through (E) of this section.

B. Designation. All private and public street designation shall be in accordance with subsections (B)(1) through (B)(6) of this section. Designation assignment shall be consistent with this code and shall be approved by the fire chief or their designee.

1. Annexation. Designation of recently annexed streets, which have a centerline alignment offset less than 50 feet from an existing city intersection, shall be redesignated to bear the name of the adjacent city street. The redesignation will be in accordance with the requirements of BMC 17.30.050(B).

2. Alignment. Designation of new streets, which have a centerline alignment offset less than 50 feet, shall bear the name of the adjacent street. Otherwise, the street will be designated in accordance with this section.

3. Neighborhoods. New streets should continue any alphabetical, numerical, or type of name already established within the neighborhood.

4. Name Register. The fire department shall create and maintain a register of approved street names. The fire chief or designee will approve all street names placed on the register.

5. Street-Type Designators. Streets shall use one of the street designators from BMC 17.30.020.

6. Street Designation Threshold. Streets serving five or more residential or commercial structures shall have a name designation.

Exception: Streets within manufactured home parks.

C. Identification. Streets shall be identified with approved signs consistent with the City of Bellingham Development Guidelines and Improvement Standards.

1. Temporary Signs. Temporary signs shall be installed at each street intersection when construction of a new street allows passage of vehicles.

2. Permanent Signs. Permanent signs shall be installed in approved locations on both public and private streets prior to completion of street construction. A new structure may not be occupied until permanent signs are installed.

D. Maintenance. All street signs shall be maintained in an approved manner.

1. Responsibility. Sign maintenance is the responsibility of the property owner. Private street signs shall be the responsibility of the private property owner. Public street sign maintenance shall be the responsibility of the city of Bellingham public works department.

E. Existing Conditions. The fire chief or their designee may require existing street designation to meet the requirements of this section when the street designation is inconsistent with this section or when in the opinion of the fire or police chief the existing condition negatively impacts emergency services responsiveness. Street redesignation will be in accordance with BMC 17.30.050(B). [Ord. 2013-06-044 § 2].

17.30.040 Address numbers.

A. General. Address numbers, within the City of Bellingham shall be designated, identified, and maintained in accordance with subsections (B) through (C)(7) of this section.

B. Designation. All address number designation shall be in accordance with subsections (B) through (B)(2)(b) of this section. The city recognizes two address categories: street and unit. Address assignment shall be approved by the fire chief or their designee and be consistent with this code. The fire chief will maintain policy and procedures for the correct assignment of address during the development services permit process.

1. Street Address Numbers. Street address designation shall be in accordance with this section.

a. Sequence. Street address numbers shall increase consecutively as you travel away from the beginning point of the respective neighborhood grid. Additionally, odd numbers shall appear on the left side and even numbers on the right side of streets as you travel away from the beginning point of the respective neighborhood grid.

b. Blocks. A street address will include a one- or two-digit block number and a two-digit building number. Block numbers and building numbers will increase consecutively as you travel away from the beginning point of the respective neighborhood grid.

c. Alphanumeric and Fractional Addresses. Street addresses shall not contain either alphanumeric or fractional combinations.

d. Streets with Diagonal or Meandering Alignment. Street address numbers shall have a block range opposite to the street it intersects.

e. Streets with Circular Alignment. The number sequence shall start at the intersection nearest the beginning point of the respective neighborhood grid. Street address numbers shall have a block range opposite to the road it intersects.

f. Commercial and Residential Structures. Street address numbers shall reflect the location of vehicular access or as approved by the fire chief or their designee.

g. Alley Access. Commercial premises taking access only from an alley will utilize the street address for the portion of the structure fronting the public way and include a unit number in accordance with subsection (B)(2)(a) of this section.

h. Attached Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU). Attached ADU will use the street address of the primary residence and will include a unit number in accordance with subsection (B)(2)(a) of this section. Directional signage may also be required.

i. Detached Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU). Detached ADUs will use a separate street address from the adjacent residence. Directional signage may also be required.

j. Uninhabited Residential Accessory Structures. Uninhabited residential accessory structures and garages will not have a street address assigned.

k. Manufactured Home Parks. Manufactured home parks will receive a single street address. Residential spaces will receive a unit number in accordance with subsection (B)(2)(b) of this section.

2. Unit Numbers. Unit number designation shall be in accordance with this section.

a. Sequence. A unit number will include a one- or two-digit floor number and a two-digit space number. Floor numbers will coincide with the building story. Space numbers will start with “01.”

Exception:

i. Basement and alley units will utilize a “B” or an “A,” respectively, preceding the unit number.

ii. Parking levels will utilize a “P” preceding the floor level.

b. Manufactured Home Parks. Unit numbers will be a two- or three-digit number. The fire chief or their designee shall approve the sequence. Additional directional signage may be required.

3. Existing Conditions. The fire chief or their designee may require existing address numbers to meet the requirements of this section when the address numbers are inconsistent with this section or when in the opinion of the fire or police chief the existing condition negatively impacts emergency services responsiveness. Address reassignment will be in accordance with BMC 17.30.050(B).

C. Identification. Address identification shall be in accordance with subsections (C)(1) through (C)(5)(b)(iii) of this section.

1. Placement. New and existing buildings shall have address identification placed in an approved position that is plainly legible and visible from the street fronting the property.

a. Remote Location. Where the building cannot be viewed from the public way or named private street, an approved monument, pole, or other sign or means shall be used to provide identification. This method requires that the identification is visible to both directions of travel along the primary street.

b. Complexes. An approved site plan sign shall be conspicuously posted at the main entrance of the complex that denotes building locations and addresses.

c. Rear Entrances. Address identification shall be prominently displayed on rear entrance or access doors when required by the fire chief or their designee.

2. Timing of Installation. Address identification shall be installed upon the start of building or tenant space construction activities and approved permanent identification must be installed prior to occupancy approval. In the case of a reassignment, the address identification shall be installed within five days of the effective date.

3. Style. Address numbers shall be Arabic numbers.

4. Contrast. Address numbers shall have a positive contrast with their background or as approved by the fire chief or their designee. When address numbers are located on clear glazing the numbers shall be white in color.

5. Number Height. Address numbers shall be in accordance with subsections (C)(5)(a) through (C)(5)(b)(iii) of this section.

a. Building Numbers. Exterior building numeral height and stroke shall be in accordance with the minimum requirements of Table 17.30.040(C)(5)(a).

Table 17.30.040(C)(5)(a)

Building Numeral Height and Stroke

Distancea

Height

Stroke

0' to 50'

6"b

1/2"

51' to 100'

8"

3/4"

101' to 150'

10"

3/4"

151' to 200'

12"

1"

Over 200'

14"

1"

a.    Distance is measured from the face of the building to the centerline of the addressed street.

b.    One- and two-family and townhomes are permitted to have a minimum height of four inches.

b. Unit Numbers. Interior and exterior unit numbers shall be in accordance with subsections (C)(5)(b)(i) through (C)(5)(b)(iii).

i. Exterior Identification. Exterior commercial suite identification shall have a minimum height of six inches. Exterior multifamily unit identification shall have a minimum height of three inches.

ii. Interior Identification. Interior suite identification shall have a minimum height of one and one half inches.

iii. Rear Entrances. When required by subsection (C)(1)(c) of this section, identification shall have a minimum height of two inches.

6. Maintenance. The view to all address identification shall remain unobstructed and be maintained in an approved manner.

a. Responsibility. Identification maintenance is the responsibility of the property owner, occupant, or renter.

7. Existing Conditions. The fire chief or their designee may require existing identification or lack thereof to meet the requirements of this chapter when the identification is inconsistent with this chapter or when in the opinion of the fire or police chief the existing condition negatively impacts emergency services responsiveness. Address reassignment will be in accordance with BMC 17.30.050(B). [Ord. 2013-06-044 § 2].

17.30.050 Notification.

Street redesignation, address assignment and reassignment shall be in accordance with this section.

A. Address Assignment. Upon assignment, the fire chief or their designee shall notify the following:

1. Property owner;

2. Current resident;

3. United States Postal Service;

4. Whatcom County assessor;

5. What-Comm dispatch center;

6. City of Bellingham finance department;

7. City of Bellingham planning and community development department;

8. City of Bellingham public works department;

9. City of Bellingham police department;

10. Local utility providers;

11. Washington State Department of Labor and Industries;

12. Other agencies determined by the fire chief or their designee.

B. Reassignment and Redesignation. The procedure for address reassignment and street redesignation shall include notification by both a notice of pending action and final notice in accordance with this section.

Exception: Reassignment of an address at the request of the current property owner will only require compliance with subsection (B)(2) of this section.

1. Notice of Pending Action. The current residents and/or property owners subject to address reassignment or street redesignation will receive a notice of pending action through posting the affected structure or by certified mail, a minimum of 30 days before proposed final reassignment is to occur. The notice of pending action will notify the resident of the pending reassignment and their rights to appeal pursuant BMC 17.30.090.

2. Final Notice. After completion of the requirements of subsection (B)(1) of this section and the resolution of all appeals, the fire chief or their designee shall provide final notice to the following:

a. Property owner;

b. Current resident;

c. United States Postal Service;

d. Whatcom County assessor;

e. What-Comm dispatch center;

f. City of Bellingham finance department;

g. City of Bellingham planning and community development department;

h. City of Bellingham public works department;

i. City of Bellingham police department;

j. Local utility providers;

k. Washington State Department of Labor and Industries;

l. Other agencies determined by the fire chief or their designee. [Ord. 2013-06-044 § 2].

17.30.060 Unlawful acts.

It shall be unlawful for any person to:

A. Erect or install a street name sign not in accordance with this section.

B. Remove, alter, change, or deface a street sign or address identification erected or installed as provided herein.

C. Place or post address identification not approved by this chapter.

D. Fail to place an address visible from the street. [Ord. 2013-06-044 § 2].

17.30.070 Violations.

All unlawful acts shall be enforced as a violation of the International Fire Code as adopted by BMC 17.20.010. [Ord. 2013-06-044 § 2].

17.30.080 Fees.

A fee for address activities shall be paid as required, in accordance with the schedule as established by city council resolution. [Ord. 2013-06-044 § 2].

17.30.090 Appeals.

Appeals of orders, decisions, or interpretations shall be processed in accordance with the BMC 17.20.020. [Ord. 2013-06-044 § 2].

17.30.100 Conflict resolution clause.

All existing references in the Bellingham Municipal Code that are in conflict with this chapter are hereby amended and superseded by this chapter. [Ord. 2013-06-044 § 2].