Waterfront District plans ready to enter regulatory review

Local officials and stakeholders have completed an eight-year process to create redevelopment plans for the 237 acres of former industrial property in the city’s center once home to a Georgia Pacific pulp and paper mill.

The Port and city of Bellingham released a draft of the “sub-area” plan for the property, which is being called the Waterfront District, earlier this week along with a slew of regulatory documents, including a development agreement, an environmental impact statement, a planned action ordinance and an inter-local facilities agreement.

Both agencies have been working together to draft plans for the new district since the port purchased the former mill site from the Georgia Pacific company in 2005.

Officials and stakeholders envision a variety of light industrial and mixed commercial-residential development in the future district, along with new waterfront parks and public spaces.

Starting in January, city officials will begin a regulatory review process of the documents. That review will include a comprehensive analysis by city planners and various advisory groups, followed by a review and public hearing process by the city’s Planning Commission.

After city planners make their recommendations to City Council, agreements on final action will be made by the council and the port commission. The entire process is expected to take about one year to complete.

All relevant documents have been posted on the city’s website: http://www.cob.org/services/planning/waterfront/index.aspx.

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