Council Roundup: More discussion on shelter code amendment

Council Roundup: More discussion on shelter code amendment

Picking up where they left off last week, Bellevue councilmembers discussed a number of proposed amendments to the draft Land Use Code Amendment (LUCA) for shelters and homelessness-related services. The conversation, which began at the study session and extended into a significant portion of the regular session, focused on the LUCA’s permitting process and makeup of a “Good Neighbor Agreement Advisory Committee.” The item is expected to return for consideration and possible adoption on July 16.

The City Council began the meeting with a discussion on the permitting process, primarily whether a development agreement should be an available option. A development agreement is a contract negotiation and legislative action overseen by the council based on objective criteria contained in the code. Amendment D1, allowing for a development agreement while also retaining the default Conditional Use Permit pathway option, passed by a 4-3 vote. Mayor John Chelminiak, Deputy Mayor Lynne Robinson and councilmembers John Stokes and Janice Zahn voted “yes,” while councilmembers Conrad Lee, Jennifer Robertson and Jared Nieuwenhuis opposed.

A second amendment on the permitting process, D3 which would remove the council from quasi-judicial appeals of homeless-related services permit decisions, failed. The vote was also 4-3, with councilmembers Lee, Robertson, Zahn and Nieuwenhuis voting “nay” and Mayor Chelminiak, Deputy Mayor Robinson and Councilmember Stokes in support.

The conversation next turned to the composition of the advisory committee. A series of six amendments passed with unanimous council support. The additions set guidelines for which stakeholders should be included in the group. Allocated slots range from residents and business representatives from within a mile of the shelter site to local non-governmental organizations and members of the faith community with subject matter expertise.

The Land Use Code is a permitting tool that governs the location, design and approval process for development in the city. A LUCA will add regulations to the code to determine how and where a homeless shelter can be sited in Bellevue.

Background related to the draft LUCA can be found in the agenda packet materials. The council’s full discussion, in the study and regular sessions, is also available to view online.

Wilburton commercial area update

During the regular session, the council was provided a brief overview of recommendations by the Wilburton Commercial Area Citizens Advisory Committee. The committee, made up of 15 members, was appointed by the council in 2016. It was specifically charged with reimagining the study area as a new urban neighborhood with a greater mix of uses and intensity, public open spaces and mobility connections.

The 310-acre Wilburton commercial area lies directly east of Interstate 405 and is uniquely positioned between downtown and the BelRed neighborhoods. The visioning process notably includes the concept of the “Grand Connection,” a walkable corridor stretching from Meydenbauer Bay, through downtown, over I-405 and directly connecting to the Eastside Rail Corridor.

The council will receive a more extensive briefing on the committee’s recommendations this fall. The full report is available.

Property acquired for Weowna Park expansion

As part of the consent agenda, councilmembers unanimously approved the purchase of 1.5 acres of land bordering Weowna Park. The family of G. Rodney Johnson worked with the Parks & Community Services Department for several years to make the sale a reality. The new parkland includes a trail connection, linking the 2.5 miles of trails in the park to West Lake Sammamish Parkway. The cost will be covered through the King County Conservation Futures grant program and proceeds from the 2008 Bellevue Parks and Natural Areas levy.

Additional background can be found in the agenda packet materials.

Published on 07/03/2018
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