Planning Services

Planning Services helps guide Port growth and development in a manner that promotes jobs, protects environmental resources, and improves the Port District for all Whatcom County citizens and users of port facilities by maintaining and updating the Port’s Comprehensive Scheme of Harbor Improvements.

Unlike municipal comprehensive plans which are subject to the Growth Management Act and are required to be updated every 7 years, Port comprehensive schemes are subject to RCW 53.20.010 which states, “ It shall be the duty of the port commission of any port district, before creating any improvements hereunder, to adopt a comprehensive scheme of harbor improvements...”.

The Port's Comprehensive Scheme of Harbor improvement Plan or CSHIP for short s is a broad conduit or vessel of many different Regional, Site and Program specific plans, goals and policies linked to the physical development of capital improvements, replacements and repairs identified in the Port's Strategic Budget as forecasted over a 5 year period of time.  The Comprehensive Scheme of Harbor Improvements is updated annually upon adoption and incorporation of the annually Port's Strategic Budget by the Port Commission . 

If a project is not identified in the Port’s comprehensive scheme of harbor improvements, the port commission must first hold a public hearing to receive public input on the project before amending or updating the comprehensive scheme. During this time, citizens will have the opportunity to review the proposed changes and will be encouraged to provide comments, feedback and participate in the public process.

The Port of Bellingham’s Comprehensive Scheme of Harbor Improvements  covers the entirety of the Port district  which is made up of six regional improvement plans including the Bellingham International Airport, Blaine’s Wharf District, Fairhaven, Squalicum Harbor, Sumas International Cargo Terminal and Bellingham’s Waterfront District.