Chapter 20.04


20.04.010    Title.

20.04.020    Authority.

20.04.030    Purpose.

20.04.040    Scope.

20.04.050    Official zoning map and classification system.

20.04.010 Title.

This title shall be known as and is hereby ordained to be the land use and development code of the city of Bellingham. [Ord. 2004-12-088; Ord. 10706 § 4, 1996; Ord. 9024, 1982].

20.04.020 Authority.

This title is adopted pursuant to the provisions of Article 11, Sections 10 and 11, of the Washington State Constitution which empower the city to enact a land use ordinance and provide for its administration, enforcement, and amendment. [Ord. 9024, 1982].

20.04.030 Purpose.

A. It is the purpose of this title to promote the health, safety, and general welfare of the citizens of Bellingham by coordinating and guiding both public and private development of land by means of a comprehensive land use plan which is, in part, carried out by the provisions of this title.

B. The regulations and standards of this title are intended to promote high standards of development for living and in the operation of commerce and industry in order to help assure a pleasant environment for the people of Bellingham.

C. In utilizing the comprehensive neighborhood plans as a basis of land use implementation, it is recognized that Bellingham is made of many unique and diverse areas each with its own characteristics, and further it is recognized that to treat these areas uniformly – on a citywide basis – would not conserve or encourage those peculiarities which distinguish Bellingham from other communities. [Ord. 9024, 1982].

20.04.040 Scope.

A. The provisions of this title shall apply to both public and private use of land within the corporate limits of the city of Bellingham.

B. Hereafter, no use shall be conducted, and no building, structure and appurtenance shall be erected, relocated, remodeled, reconstructed, altered or enlarged unless in compliance with the provisions of this title, and then only after securing all permits and approvals required hereby. It shall be unlawful to build or use any building or structure or to use premises in the city for any purpose or use other than one permitted by the terms of this title in the area in which the same is located.

C. Any building, structure or use lawfully existing at the time of passage of this title, although not in compliance therewith, may continue as provided in Chapter 20.14 BMC.

D. In interpreting and applying the provisions of this title, they shall be held to be the minimum requirements for the promotion of the public health, safety, and general welfare. It is not intended by this title to interfere with, abrogate or annul any easements, covenants or other agreements between private parties. However, where this title imposes a greater restriction upon the use of land and/or buildings or in general requires higher standards than other ordinances, rules, or private agreements, the provisions of this title shall govern. [Ord. 9024, 1982].

20.04.050 Official zoning map and classification system.

A. The map or set of maps entitled “City of Bellingham Zoning Map” together with the associated general use type, use qualifier and density as listed in Chapter 20.00 BMC constitutes the zoning map for the city of Bellingham and is hereby adopted as part of this code.

B. Changes in the boundaries, general use type (also called the “zone” in Chapter 20.00 BMC), use qualifier or density of each “area” shall be considered through the rezone procedure in Chapter 21.10 BMC. Changes in permitted uses and/or density rules that modify the general use type, use qualifier or density shall be considered a rezone, regardless of the topic category in which they appear in the Chapter 20.00 BMC. All other amendments to Chapter 20.00 BMC shall be considered through the development regulation amendment procedure in Chapter 21.10 BMC.

C. Zoning Boundary Interpretation. Where uncertainty exists as to the precise location of zoning district boundaries, as shown on the zoning map(s), the following rules shall apply:

1. Where district boundaries are indicated as approximately following the centerline of streets, alleys or highways, the actual centerline shall be construed to be the boundary.

2. Where district boundaries are indicated as approximately following lot or tract lines, the actual lot or tract lines shall be construed to be the boundary lines of such use district.

3. Unmapped shorelands shall be considered to be within the same land use district as the adjacent upland as shown on the zoning map(s).

4. Where a public street or alley is officially vacated, the regulations applicable to the abutting property to which the vacated portion shall revert shall apply to such vacated or abandoned street or alley.

5. Where the land is unsubdivided or where a zoning district boundary divides a lot, the boundary shall be determined by map scaling unless the actual dimensions are noted on the map.

D. The following land use ordinances shall remain in full force and effect and shall constitute the total zoning restrictions for the subject property:

1. Development Contract Districts.

a. No. 1 – Ord. 7830 (Old Mill Village) as amended by Ord. 8934.

b. No. 2 – Ord. 8199 (Sunset Center).

c. No. 3 – Ord. 8772 (Lakeview Retirement).

d. No. 4 – Ord. 8838 (Whatcom Falls) as amended by Ord. 8956.

e. No. 5 – Ord. 8842 (Parkway Village).

f. No. 6 – Ord. 9003 (Valley Court).

g. No. 7 – Ord. 9072 (Valley View).

h. No. 8 – Ord. 9118 (Fir St.).

2. Planned Commercial Districts.

a. No. 1 – Ord. 8646 (People’s Place).

b. No. 2 – Ord. 8662 (Haggen’s).

c. No. 3 – Ord. 8703 (F.W.P. Investments).

d. No. 4 – Ord. 8804 (Meridian Plaza).

e. No. 5 – Ord. 8819 (Hallman) as amended by Ord. 8933.

f. No. 6 – Ord. 8834 (Trunkey).

g. No. 7 – Ord. 8843 (Whitney).

h. No. 8 – Ord. 8892 (Bengen).

i. No. 9 – Ord. 8925 (Smith Cleaners).

j. No. 10 – Ord. 9016 (Douglas/Jepson).

k. No. 11 – Ord. 8996 (Grenier/Todd).

l. No. 12 – Ord. 9017 (Cedarwood).

m. No. 13 – Ord. 9071 (Meridian Place).

n. No. 14 – Ord. 9092 (Meridian Village).

E. The following contract or concomitant agreement rezones shall remain in full force and effect and shall constitute restrictions in addition to the underlying land use classification of the subject property:

1. Concomitant Agreement Rezones.

a. No. 1 – Ord. 8493 (Evergreen East/“The Woods”).

b. No. 2 – Ord. 8502 (Rosengren-Vining Street).

c. No. 3 – Ord. 8686 (Ayaz-Vining Street).

d. No. 4 – Ord. 8709 (Benson-North Shore).

e. No. 5 – Ord. 8839 (Cortez-Vining Street).

The restrictions of the above ordinances may only be amended pursuant to the procedure for a rezone and/or comprehensive plan amendment, as applicable, pursuant to Chapter 21.10 BMC.

F. The following final plats shall remain in full force and effect and development within the townhouse lots shall be permitted in conformance with the restrictions shown on the face of the final plat and any other restrictions imposed by final plat approval:

1. Big Rock Estates.

2. Clearbrook Division No. 2.

3. Sunrise. [Ord. 2005-08-066; Ord. 2004-12-088; Ord. 10706 § 5, 1996; Ord. 9912, 1989].