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Big Box Retail

Aerial of big box store in Bellingham

In 2009, Bellingham Mayor Dan Pike proposed amendments to the "Big Box" retail ordinance that provide exceptions in certain areas of Bellingham to the previous 90,000-square-foot size limit.  Those changes are now codified and are reflected in the new Big Box retail ordinance.

The exemption area applies to most of the commercial area between Wal-Mart and Costco down to Bellis Fair Mall, and would also include areas at Bakerview and I-5 where Fred Meyer is located.

Modified Draft Amendment

After holding a public hearing on September 21, 2009 and several worksessions between January and April of 2010, the City Council approved the amendments following a second public hearing.

The amendments retain the same exemption area and Green Factor  requirement as the original proposal but would also require LEED™ silver or equivalent green building certification and prohibit “superstores.” A “superstore” is generally defined as a store over 90,000 square feet that sells a wide range of household products and devotes more than 10 percent of the sales floor area to groceries (or non-taxable merchandise.) The definition excludes membership warehouse clubs where shoppers pay a membership fee.

History

For more information contact the Planning and Community Development Department.

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