Urban Growth Areas


  • Urban growth area (UGA): An area designated, within which urban growth will be encouraged and outside of which growth can only occur if it is not urban in nature. Urban growth areas around cities are designated by the county in consultation with the cities; urban growth areas not associated with cities are designated by the county.
In 2016, Whatcom County completed a review of the county's 10 Urban Growth Areas (UGAs):
  • 3 unincorporated areas: Birch Bay, Cherry Point, Columbia Valley
  • 7 cities: Bellingham, Blaine, Everson, Ferndale, Lynden, Nooksack, Sumas

The Whatcom County Council adopted Ordinance 2016-034, which modified the boundaries of the Everson, Ferndale, Lynden, and Nooksack UGAs.  Under the Growth Management Act, the next county-wide UGA review must be completed by June 30, 2024 (RCW 36.70A.130).

Contact Us

Questions about this project? Please contact Planning and Development Services via email or by phone 360-778-5900.