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Environmental Plans & Regulations


The City of Bellingham takes the protection of  environmentally sensitive areas very seriously. In addition to existing county, state and federal regulations, the following documents are key to Bellingham's local environmental regulations.

Updating the Critical Areas Ordinance (CAO) process:
This ordinance (BMC 16.55) outlines the specific rules and regulations regarding development near wetlands, streams and other environmentally sensitive areas. The CAO replaced the previous Wetland and Stream Ordinance.

Whatcom FallsMitigation Program
The City of Bellingham is developing a mitigation program to benefit our community by improving the success rate of mitigation projects, reducing costs associated with mitigation, coordinating mitigation efforts, and streamlining the mitigation process.

Shoreline Master Program (SMP)
The Washington State Department of Ecology (DOE) is currently conducting their final review of the City's updated SMP, which was adopted locally in December, 2009.

 Silver Beach Ordinance
This ordinance (BMC 16.80) regulates development in the Lake Whatcom Watershed.

 Stormwater Comprehensive Plan (9,200K PDF)
This plan is used to manage stormwater in the various watersheds inside Bellingham, it updates the 1995 Watershed Master Plan (9,000K PDF).

 Stormwater Management Program
This program details how the City of Bellingham intends to comply with the terms and conditions of its mandatory National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit.

 Comprehensive Sewer Plan (PDF)
Recognizing the importance of planning, developing, and financing sewer system facilities.

 2004 Environmental Impact Statement
Done as part of the update to the Comprehensive Plan, this document analyzed the potential impact of various methods (infill, sprawl, combination) for how Bellingham might accommodate projected growth over the next 20 years. 

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