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News Release


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Council Roundup: Reiterating opposition to light rail yard

Also, Energize Eastside review, affordable housing, Hugh Burleson

In late 2012 when the Sound Transit Board announced the operation and maintenance satellite facility site alternatives, the City Council responded with a letter that strongly opposed siting the OMSF in the Bel-Red area.

The OMSF draft Environmental Impact Statement 45-day public comment period is currently underway, and on Monday the council discussed drafting an additional letter to the Sound Transit board to reiterate the city's concerns.

The proposal to site the OMSF in Bel-Red is inconsistent with and undermines the goals of the city's Bel-Red plan adopted in February 2009. The plan established a vision and strategies for transforming the area from low-intensity light industrial to a mix of higher intensity residential and employment land uses focused around two transit oriented development nodes in the heart of the Bel-Red area.

The city provided written comment that the DEIS does not fully consider the adopted land use plan, zoning and approved master plans in Bel-Red, nor the opportunity cost of the OMSF displacing or otherwise impacting future transit oriented development. Also, the DEIS does not address the potential to minimize impacts by redesigning or reducing the size of the facility. The council directed staff to compile the final letter, which must be submitted to Sound Transit by June 23.

Following the comment period, the Sound Transit Board is expected to identify a preliminary preferred site at its July 24 meeting. Once the preliminary preferred site is identified, work will begin on a final EIS and preliminary engineering. The final EIS will also document and address comments received on the DEIS. In addition, after the final EIS is published, the FTA is expected to issue its record of decision on the project during the fall of 2015.

A copy of the 2012 OMSF letter is available. Members of the public can view a complete copy of the DEIS and submit comments through June 23 on at Sound Transit OMSF.

Comments from Energize Eastside forum reviewed
Councilmembers also reviewed a summary of comments from residents who attended a June 3 city-sponsored Community Forum on Energize Eastside, a proposed project by Puget Sound Energy to route new, higher-capacity (230 kilovolt) transmission lines proposed from Redmond to Renton, through Bellevue.

Approximately 275 people attended the event, 30 people spoke and hundreds of written comments were submitted. Areas of concern included community engagement, neighborhood character, public health, environmental impacts, alternative technologies and the need for expanded capacity.

The presentation on Monday was the third in a series for the council to learn more about Energize Eastside, hear questions and concerns from community members and understand the process that will lead to a decision on permitting by the city. Members of a community advisory group, formed by PSE to represent Eastside communities, addressed the council.  

At its July 7 meeting the council will be briefed on the policy and regulatory framework related to the Energize Eastside proposal. In late summer and fall, Bellevue and other Eastside cities will select a consultant and begin an environmental review of the project. PSE will continue to brief the council at future meetings.

Video of the June 3 Community Forum, as well as written and oral comments from the event, are available on the city's electrical facilities planning pages. Additional information is available on PSE's project web page.

Funding for senior housing approved
The council authorized providing $904,158 ($746,256 from the city's housing fund and $157,902 from a community development block grant) to the King County Housing Authority to preserve two, affordable, senior apartment buildings, Bellevue Manor in downtown Bellevue and Patricia Harris Manor in downtown Redmond, totaling 105 units. The total cost to acquire the buildings is $18 million, of which the Housing Authority will finance $10 million. The purchases will ensure the privately-owned properties are not converted to market rate housing.

The city's allocation was recommended by ARCH (A Regional Coalition for Housing). Bellevue is a member of ARCH, a partnership between King County and Eastside cities that seeks to preserve and increase the housing supply for low- to moderate-income households. 

Support for the affordable housing acquisitions ties closely to the council's recently crafted vision and strategic targets, one of which calls for a wide variety of housing types.

Hugh Burleson honored
Hugh Burleson, who played a major leadership role in Bellevue's Sister City Association for more than 30 years, 10 of them as the organization's president, was honored Monday with a commendation. Burleson passed away earlier this month.

The commendation refers to Burleson as "an ambassador for cross-cultural understanding," and further states that: "Hugh Burleson will long be remembered for his gentlemanly manner and his commitment, compassion, leadership and hard work to foster Japanese/American and other cross-cultural relations."

Planning Commission appointment
Also on Monday, the council appointed Stephanie Walter to serve a four-year term on the Planning Commission. The term ends on May 31, 2018.

 

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E-mail: echristens@bellevuewa.gov


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