City planners release preliminary draft of new downtown plan

Bellingham city planners have issued a preliminary draft of a new downtown plan as the city’s Planning Department prepares for a public hearing later this month concerning the direction and regulation of the city’s central district.

That hearing is scheduled to take place at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 27, in the Bellingham City Council Chambers at City Hall, 210 Lottie St.

A staff report covering all relevant planning documents for the downtown quarter is to be posted on the city’s website by March 13, according to city officials. Work sessions on the new plan are also scheduled for April 3 and April 17.

Several relevant documents have already been posted online. Written comments on the plan can be emailed to, and should be received no later than March 25 in order to be addressed during the public hearing, according to city officials.

The structure of the new downtown proposal would require amendments to the Bellingham Comprehensive Plan, repeals of several current master plans that guide the city’s central business district, as well as amendments to land-use regulations on the master plans of several surrounding neighborhoods, including Sehome, the Lettered Streets, Sunnyland and York. It would also involve design standards and development regulations for the downtown core.

View the preliminary draft of the downtown Bellingham plan, courtesy of the City of Bellingham:

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Evan Marczynski, associate editor of The Bellingham Business Journal, can be reached at 360-647-8805, Ext. 5052, or

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