Community Development Metrics

Building Permits

Annual Number of Building Permits Issued

The mission of Planning and Development Services (PDS) is to ensure growth and development occurs in a manner that protects public health, safety and welfare, preserves the natural environment, and ensures the quality of life enjoyed by citizens and visitors in Whatcom County is preserved and enhanced. An important aspect of what PDS does is to review, issue and inspect building projects, our numbers have been on a slow increase over the last few years. Building permits are only a portion of what we do at PDS on our website you can view all of our permit activity reports.

Annual Building Permit Valuation

The valuation on building projects is determined by Plans Examining staff during the Building Permit review process.  The square footage of the structure is used as a multiplier and the per square foot rate is dependent on the type of project.  For example a new single family residence per square foot rate is higher than the rate used for a detached garage. This valuation factors into the fees charged for the permit. You can get more information about how to determine valuation and the permit fees by visiting our permit fee page on our website where you will find a fee estimate worksheet. 

For Supporting Data Click Here: Excel or PDF
Building Inspections

Number of Building Inspections Completed Annually

Planning and Development Services has three Public Service Inspector III's and one Senior Public Service Inspector. The number of inspections does not represent individual trips; sometimes an inspector will do more than one inspection in a single visit. Inspection requested by contractor or owner either online or via phone are done the next business day. There are occasions when this does not happen due to weather or inspector availability; an average of about 40 inspections each year are deferred an extra day due to weather or inspector illness. 

For Supporting Data Click Here: 
Excel or PDF

Parks Department

Parks Attendance

The department provides management and oversight for over 16,000 acres of land comprised of parks, water access sites, preserves, natural areas, greenways and special use areas. Within the parks system there are over 60 miles of hiking, bicycle and equestrian trails. Visitation is tracked at most developed park areas and used to monitor activity, demand and capacity. Visitor counts are also used to assess trends and generally reflect responses to conditions and improvements. Visitation for the parks is gathered in a variety of ways including trail counters, traffic counters, spot counts, counts at special events and facility rentals, sign in sheets and provided by outside entities. Each of the rangers have a specific set of standards they follow in order to get the most accurate counts possible. 

For Supporting Data Click Here: Excel or PDF

Senior Centers

Senior Center Attendance

 Senior Centers provide opportunities for older adults to socialize and maintain active and healthy life styles. Participants can take part in a variety of programs, classes and activities, obtain information on other community resources, and participate in the congregate meal programs.

Attendance is gathered from 8 senior centers in Whatcom County including four full-time centers in Bellingham, Blaine, Ferndale and Lynden and four part-time centers located in Everson, Welcome, Point Roberts and Sumas. The Parks & Recreation Department contracts for services at the full-time centers and provides coordinators at the four part-time facilities. The centers in Bellingham, Ferndale and Welcome are owned and operated by the department. Use of other facilities and locations are in partnership with the various municipalities and park districts. 

For Supporting Data Click Here:
Excel or PDF

Senior Center Survey

The Parks & Recreation Department conducts an annual survey at all 8 senior centers where participants are asked to evaluate a variety of items including overall satisfaction, staff performance and programming. Survey results are used to assess services and trends to better serve participants. 

 Year  Number of Surveys Taken
2018 367
2017 307
2016 347
2015 365

 For Supporting Data Click Here: Excel or PDF
Transportation Metrics From
The County Road Administration Board

County Owned Arterial Surface Condition

Whatcom County operates approximately 960 miles of public roads. Arterial roads are the backbone of the system, enabling much of the commercial and domestic activity that we rely on for our high standard of living. Good arterial maintenance is the key to a healthy transportation system. 
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Bridge Sufficiency Ratings Number of County Owned Bridges Over 20ft

Moving goods and services by road in a county as watery as Whatcom means bridges - 159 of them to be exact.  Our bridges must be maintained structurally safe and functionally adequate to accommodate a rapidly growing number of passenger vehicles and heavier freight traffic than ever before.  Our bridges are inspected every year for structural integrity and periodically evaluated for their capacity to meet the demands of a growing community. 
Click here for more information.

Transportation Safety Metrics From
The County Road Administration Board

Fatal and Serious Injury Collisions per million vehicle miles traveled on county owned roads

Reducing accidents on our roadways is one of Whatcom County government’s biggest concerns.  We do that by enforcing traffic laws, responding rapidly to road emergencies, and improving road infrastructure to safely accommodate the modern mix of cars, trucks, bicycles, and pedestrians.  Notable road safety improvements include the use of roundabouts instead of four-way stops, improving poorly functioning intersections, and properly locating crosswalks and bike lanes.  Whatcom County has seen a reduction in fatal and serious injury vehicle accidents in recent years.  

What is APMVM? APMVM is accidents per million vehicle miles traveled.

What is a serious injury? In Washington State, a serious injury is defined as an injury which prevents the injured person from walking, driving, or continuing normal activities at the time of the collision.
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Number of Fatal Collisions involving target zero priority factors

While we cannot prevent all accidents, we do our best to focus our resources on causes that have the most serious outcomes. That means paying special attention to how drivers interact with our road system. Most fatal accidents in Whatcom County involve running-off-the road, speeding, impairment, or youth. While the number of impaired drivers involved in fatal accidents in unincorporated Whatcom County is down, we are seeing an uptick in deadly run-off-the road accidents. During the past two years, Whatcom County has focused energy on improving the placement and visibility of signs that mark dangerous curves and corners. 

What is Target Zero? Collision and injury data collected by the Washington State Department of Transportation is used by the Washington State Traffic Safety Commission to create the federally required Washington State Highway Safety Plan "Target Zero". "Target Zero" sets statewide priorities for all traffic safety partners, provides strategies to address identified priorities, and monitors outcomes. 

What is a priority factor? A priority factor is a factor that contributes to a certain level of fatal or serious injury collisions. Priority Level One factors contribute to at least 30% of fatal or serious injury collisions; Priority Level Two factors contribute to at least 10%, and; Priority Level Three factors are associated with less than 10%. Priority Level One and Two factors on county roads include factors such as impairment, speeding, young drivers, and run-off-the-road collisions. A fatal collision may involve more than one priority factor, which means that there are more priority factors than total fatal collisions.