Historic Preservation Commission

The Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) is responsible for identifying and actively encouraging the conservation of the City of Bellingham’s historic resources and typically meets on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month.

Meetings can be attended either in-person at City Hall (210 Lottie Street), or virtually via Zoom Webinar. The meeting ID and password, as well as the direct link to join can be found by opening the event date you are interested in attending.

Visit the Historic Preservation Commission Meeting Materials webpage to view meeting agendas and supporting materials, which are posted approximately one week prior to the meeting date. Also viewable, are the minutes and audio from past meetings.

The HPC identifies and actively encourages the conservation of the City of Bellingham’s historic resources by initiating and maintaining a register of historic places and reviewing proposed changes to register properties; to raise community awareness of the City’s history and historic resources; and to serve as the City’s primary resource in matters of history, historic planning, and preservation. They also review and make recommendations on development proposals located in specified historic design review districts. The duties of the Commission are more specifically listed in the Historic Preservation Ordinance, Bellingham Municipal Code Chapter 17.90 and Design Review, Bellingham Municipal Code Chapter 20.25. 

The Commission determines whether nominated structures should be added to the Bellingham Register of Historic Places and make recommendations on State and National Register nominations. They review proposed alterations to buildings on the Bellingham Register for consistency with historic preservation standards. They also may approve property tax reductions for improvements to Bellingham Register buildings under the Special Valuation program authorized by State law.

Certain development projects in specified design review districts, such as the Fairhaven Design Review District, are reviewed by the Commission for consistency with applicable design standards. Their recommendation is provided to the Planning Director for a final decision.

The Commission may also conduct a variety of research and education activities to promote historic preservation.

The Commission has two regular meetings per month, although meetings are cancel​​led if there are no agenda items. Meetings last approximately one to two hours. Time spent outside of meetings is required to review applications and staff reports for proposals requiring Commission action.

The Commission consists of nine members appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the City Council. One member is appointed from the Municipal Arts Commission. The Commission must also include at least four professionals who have experience in identifying, evaluating, and protecting historic resources and are selected from among the disciplines of architecture, history, architectural history, planning, archaeology, folklore, cultural anthropology, curation, conservation, landscape architecture, or related disciplines. Commission members must have a demonstrated interest and competence in historic preservation.

Appointments are three-year terms, at which time members may be reappointed, and no compensation is paid to members of this Commission. Members must presently live within Bellingham City limits and have done so for at least one year. No member of the Commission may be employed by the City.

Current Boards & Commission Vacancy List (PDF)

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

Phone: (360) 778-8300
Email: planning@cob.org