Bellingham ADU Ordinance

Urban sprawl is bad.

Urban sprawl is bad for our community, environment and individuals. Building on the fringes requires that we use our limited resources to build new roads and add infrastructure. It also dramatically increases traffic as people commute further and further and forever alters our farmlands and working forests. In a time when more people are looking for walkable, bikeable, car-free living options increasing housing at the outskirts of town is not our best option.

Accessory dwelling units

One solid option for reducing sprawl, that is on the table right, is accessory dwelling units (ADU’s). An ADU is a secondary house or apartment with its own kitchen, living area and separate entrance that shares the building lot of a larger, primary house. Currently only 20 ADU’s are allowed in each neighborhood, they must be attached to the main house, and the impact fees are very high; for more details about the current ordinance check out this page.

The current ADU ordinance is up for review. We are enthusiastically in support of updating the ordinance to allow for more unattached ADU’s. These units will help reduce sprawl, create more affordable and flexible housing, reduce development on our farmlands and forests and reduce our community’s dependence on fossil fuels. If you are interested in this issue please join us at the upcoming Bellingham Planning Commission work session on Nov. 19 at 7pm. Alternatively you can send written comment to the Planning Committee prior to November 17, 2015. All comments received prior to the meeting will become part of the written record. Hope to see you there!