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BRIEF: Bellingham Plan survey identifies housing accessibility as top priority

An update on The Front’s previous reporting on the Bellingham Plan

An attendee at an event for the Bellingham Plan at Options High School gives their input on community values and priorities on Sept. 26, 2023 in Bellingham, Wash. Community outreach allows Bellingham Plan staff to understand what is important to residents. // Photo courtesy of the City of Bellingham

Community Vision Survey results were published by the City of Bellingham in February, providing a framework of important challenges and priorities for the Bellingham Plan to address. 

A weakness of Bellingham identified is affordability relating to challenges around housing accessibility and job stability. The overarching priority identified by respondents across demographic groups is housing for all income levels. 

“One of the biggest ways that the city has to address this goal lies in what type of housing is permitted, where across the city and what kinds of barriers there may be in developing housing in the future,” said Elizabeth Erickson, project manager of the Bellingham Plan and a senior planner for the Planning and Community Development Department of the City of Bellingham. 

There are several upcoming sessions held by the City of Bellingham discussing the topic of housing that community members are encouraged to take part in to help address this overarching priority. 

Questions and prompts in the survey were created based on insight gained through community outreach and the application of city planning topics prevalent in Bellingham, Erickson said. 

The survey was distributed via paper mail-back copies with website URLs, paper copies and QR codes at tabling events. This also included community presentations, open houses and email blasts to generate 4,287 valid responses, according to the executive summary of the survey. 

Bellingham Plan staff will hold an open-house event with food provided at Western Washington University on May 6 from 11:00 a.m.- 1:30 p.m. in the Viking Union Multi-Purpose Room. Residents are encouraged to join the session to learn more and give their input.

Eleanor Peterson

Eleanor Peterson (she/her) is excited to be working as a city news reporter for The Front this quarter. She is in her senior year at Western majoring in communication studies and minoring in journalism with an emphasis in public relations. Eleanor enjoys going for scenic walks, drinking iced lattes and creating music playlists in her free time. You can contact Eleanor at

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