Proposed Bellingham shopping center by new Costco would affect wetlands, traffic

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDJune 20, 2014 Updated 13 hours ago

BELLINGHAM - Plans are moving forward on a 142,000-square-foot shopping center next to the future Costco off the Bakerview Road/Interstate 5 interchange.

PMF Investments, a Bellevue-based commercial developer, plans six buildings on 13 acres west of the Costco lot, at 4084 Pacific Highway.

The shopping center would be built in phases, with four buildings totaling 86,000 square feet going in first. The engineering firm Mead & Hunt of Issaquah has submitted five applications on behalf of the developer, including a request for a smaller no-build zone around sensitive habitat areas. The project also will need permits from the Department of Ecology and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

"They are proposing direct wetland impacts," Bellingham planner Kathy Bell said.

The environmental review of a 160,000-square-foot Costco next door was appealed last month by Lummi Nation and Fred Meyer Stores. Lummi Nation seeks more extensive review of the destruction of wetlands at the Costco site. The city is requiring Costco to replace any lost wetlands. Fred Meyer wants a closer look at the traffic impacts of the new Costco, which would be built along with 800 parking spaces across West Bakerview Road from Fred Meyer.

Costco has not filed for a building permit for the new store, which would be significantly larger than its existing 133,000-square-foot Meridian Street store.

With more than 700 parking spaces, the planned shopping center next to new Costco would also add traffic to the already busy Bakerview interchange.

Brian Franklin of PMF Investments was not available Friday for comment.

The city is taking requests for information and comments on the applications at kbell@cob.org. Comments and questions can be sent by mail to Kathy Bell, planner; Planning and Community Development; 210 Lottie St.; Bellingham, WA 98225. The deadline for comments is July 21.

The city Planning Commission will hold a public hearing Aug. 7 on a request from the developer to rezone the northern end of the site from a Whatcom County industrial zone to city industrial, which would allow retail. Phase 2, or the final two buildings of the project, is in this northern portion. The city is asking for public comments on the rezone request by Aug. 5.

Reach Ralph Schwartz at 360-715-2289 or ralph.schwartz@bellinghamherald.com. Read his Politics blog at bellinghamherald.com/politics-blog or get updates on Twitter at @bhampolitics.

Bellingham Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service