Are single-family zones part of this project?

    No. This project evaluates multi-family (RM) zones only.

    What is "the docket?"

    Per the Growth Management Act, cities can amend their comprehensive plans only once a year through the docketing process. This process creates a list of annual comprehensive plan amendments. The RM project includes amendments to neighborhood plans, which are part of the Bellingham Comprehensive Plan. As such, this project has been added to the docket, a process that included a Type VI legislative process with Planning Commission and City Council public hearings. The RM project amendments will go undergo a second Type VI legislative process (Planning Commission and City Council public hearings).

    What is RM zoning?

    Per Policy LU-2 (Comp Plan Land Use Chapter), the RM designation is intended for areas that can support higher concentrations of people, while encouraging a desirable living environment within and adjacent to these districts. This zoning also provides a compatible mixture of residential housing types, typical accessory uses, public and semi-public uses, office uses and limited neighborhood commercial uses in appropriate areas.

    Why are the RM zones being evaluated now?

    City Council asked staff to “leave no stone unturned” in finding solutions to the City’s housing crisis. Staff evaluated several options and proposed the RM project, which could result in a significant number of additional units in neighborhoods throughout the community and help meet the City’s housing, climate change and land use goals. City Council directed staff to continue analyzing this project.

    What does the City hope to accomplish with this project?

    The project will facilitate the development of more housing units, resulting in more housing options for Bellingham's residents and denser, more walkable neighborhoods throughout the community. Initial analysis indicates that the project could result in approximately 1,000 additional units. In general, multi-family units are some of the most affordable in the community, as they are smaller and more efficient.

    How will neighborhoods be affected?

    This project will facilitate more units for more of Bellingham’s residents by allowing a broader range of densities and Infill Housing Toolkit forms in all existing RM zones. The impacts of the changes on existing units and residents are being considered as the project moves forward. Existing RM and Infill Housing Toolkit standards, such as those related to site and building design, parking and open space, will continue to apply to projects in these zones.