Planning Commission

The Bellingham Planning Commission makes recommendations to the City Council on a variety of land-use issues, and the Commission typically meets on the first and third Thursday of each month.

Meetings can be attended either in-person at City Hall (210 Lottie Street), or virtually via Zoom Webinar. If attending via Zoom, attendees are required to register prior to joining the meeting. Once registered, an email with pertinent meeting information will be sent to you.

Visit the City’s agendas & supporting materials webpage to view meeting agendas and supporting materials, which are posted approximately two weeks prior to the meeting date. Also viewable, are the minutes and audio from past meetings.

Commission meetings are also streamed live via:

The Commission is responsible for providing the City Council with recommendations regarding adoption or amendment to the City’s comprehensive plan, neighborhood plans, urban village plans, zoning and other development regulations. The Commission also advises the Planning Director on some site specific development projects that raise substantial planning issues.

The Planning and Development Commission makes recommendations to the City Council after carefully considering land-use applications and proposals. Some examples of what the Commission has reviewed included the Bellingham Housing Authority request for 25 residential units on Yew Street, the preliminary plat proposal located northeast of the Samish Way/Ridgemont Way intersection, a request for Planned Residential Development approval for 10 attached units on 3.23 acres of property, proposed updates to the City’s subdivision and accessory dwelling unit ordinances, and review of new chapters proposed to be included in the Comprehensive Plan.

The Commission has two regular meetings per month, on the first and third Thursday, at 7:00 pm; however, meetings are cancel​​led if there are no agenda items.

The monthly meetings each last approximately two to three hours, but there is an additional two hours (approximately) required outside of the meeting to review applications and staff reports for proposals requiring Commission action. 

The Commission consists of seven members appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the City Council. The membership of the commission, should, to the extent practical, reflect a broad range of opinion, experience and expertise with the objective of providing sound advice representative of the citizenry. No more than three voting members of the commission may engage principally in the buying, selling, developing, construction of, or investment in real estate for profit as individuals or be members of any partnership, or officers or employees of any corporation, that engages principally in the buying, selling, developing, construction of, or investment in real estate for profit. No more than two members shall be engaged in the same kind of occupation, business, trade or profession.

Appointments are four-year terms (two term limit), with no compensation being paid to members of this Commission. All members must presently live within Bellingham City limits and have done so for at least two years. No member of the Commission may be employed by the City.

Current Boards & Commission Vacancy List (PDF)

Main Office
Bellingham Planning Commission
Planning & Community Development Department
210 Lottie Street – Bellingham, WA 98225

Phone: (360) 778-8345 (Heather Aven)

Shoreline Committee

The Shoreline Committee is comprised of three Planning Commission members. Due to the fact that they only review proposals that are dealing with specific shoreline jurisdictions, they will typically meet prior to a Planning Commission meeting, and only when necessary.