Published December 16 2021
Plus, public hearing on supportive housing legislation, stellar performance survey results, Human Services Commission appointment
On Monday, the City Council unanimously adopted a package of code amendments that will facilitate transit-oriented development near the East Main light rail station south of downtown. This action is a significant step in implementing the vision and policies adopted in the comprehensive plan for the East Main TOD, which aims to transform the 60-acre area into a vibrant, people-oriented transit station area.
The package of amendments increases the density east of the station, set to open in 2023, and allows for taller buildings in the TOD. The amendments also require a minimum amount of housing and provide incentives for new development to build affordable housing units in East Main. The council also unanimously adopted an amendment proposed by Deputy Mayor Nieuwenhuis that expands the portions of East Main that do not need to provide smaller blocks when a project proposal includes a grocery store.
Comprehensive Plan Amendments
Later, the council took action on five separate ordinances to amend the city’s Comprehensive Plan. The Comprehensive Plan amendments include a privately initiated request to change the land use on two parcels in Wilburton to provide for increased affordable housing by the local housing nonprofit DASH. The remaining amendments were two city-initiated amendments to remove the Comprehensive Transportation Project List from the Comprehensive Plan to streamline the overall process and add policies to the Transportation Element in support of multimodal concurrency. Two additional city-initiated amendments included updates to two neighborhood Subarea Plans – Northeast Bellevue and Northwest Bellevue.
The council unanimously adopted the DASH amendment. They also adopted the transportation-related amendments and neighborhood Subarea Plan updates with additional amendments to language after receiving input from community members. The council then adopted the overall ordinance for all the comprehensive plan amendments.
The full discussion is available on video replay through Bellevue Television and further detail on the amendments is available in the meeting agenda under “Item 12. Other Ordinances, Resolution and Motions.” The approved amendments will be posted on Comprehensive Plan Amendments when finalized.
Public hearing related to supportive housing legislation
The council also held a public hearing to extend, by six months, temporary regulations related to permanent supportive and transitional housing, as well as emergency housing and shelter in certain land use districts. These regulations were originally adopted under an interim official control in July and brought the city into immediate compliance with state law. The extension gives Bellevue more time to develop permanent code language consistent with state law.
No members of the public spoke during the hearing and the council unanimously approved the extension, which now expires in July 2022. State House Bill 1220 mandates that cities allow permanent supportive housing and transitional housing uses in all land use districts where residential dwellings or hotels are allowed, and requires cities to allow emergency shelters and emergency housing in any land use districts where hotels are allowed.
Further detail and the staff presentation are available in the meeting materials. Additional information on the development of permanent regulations can be found on the Supportive-Emergency Housing LUCA webpage.
City performance survey results presented
In other business, councilmembers received a report on the recent 2021 Performance Survey, an annual survey allowing residents to share their feelings about six marquee indicators for the community.
The survey collected 439 resident responses across indicators including quality of life, quality of city services, value for your tax dollar, direction the city is headed and sense of Bellevue as a place to live.
Bellevue’s overall key indicators are very strong, with 97% of respondents saying the city is a good to excellent place to live and 94% saying Bellevue exceeds or greatly exceeds their expectation for quality of life. In addition, for the first time, Bellevue also surveyed residents’ “sense of belonging” in the community. Overall, the results were positive with many respondents having an emotional connection to the community and feeling that their needs are fulfilled by the community. A full report and analysis will be available in January 2022.
Human Services Commission appointment
In addition, the council voted unanimously to approve a recommendation from Council Liaison Jared Nieuwenhuis for an appointment to the Human Services Commission.
Angela Phan will serve a partial term on the Human Services Commission expiring May 31, 2022.