The Bellevue Planning Commission will recommend several areas of further study in response to public interest in neighborhood infill and redevelopment.
During the past few months, the city has gathered extensive data and public input on the practice of tearing down existing houses and replacing them with much larger ones.
Some residents have complained to the city, arguing that the practice detracts from neighborhood character and often imposes on adjacent neighbors’ privacy and sunlight. In addition, residents have talked about loss of trees and greenscape, unkempt construction sites and lack of consideration for surrounding homeowners.
The city has solicited comment from builders and developers, as well as from residents. At Planning Commission meetings and a June 13 open house, several dozen individuals have commented on the issue, some supporting additional building regulations and others expressing concern that such regulations would infringe on property rights.
People can register comments or ask questions concerning this issue online.
In response to public input and other research, the Planning Commission has drafted preliminary recommendations for the City Council to consider, including:
- Requiring preservation of significant trees on single-family properties undergoing redevelopment;
- Requiring greenscape to comprise a certain amount of front yards;
- Prohibiting lot combinations, rooftop HVAC and “pop-up” carports in front or side yards;
- Changing the method by which residential building height is measured;
- Requiring regular debris removal on single-family building sites; and
- Establishing performance standards for building projects that exceed a certain size threshold. Standards could address such elements as shadowing (loss of light), side yard setbacks and roof pitch.
The Planning Commission, which will forward these recommendations to the City Council, emphasized that any proposed regulations should provide alternatives and exceptions for special circumstances and constraints.
The Commission’s recommendations are scheduled for City Council consideration on July 16. If at that time the Council agrees to pursue some or all of the recommendations, additional discussions will take place at the Planning Commission level to flesh out code language and other details. More public comment opportunities would be part of any future Commission deliberations.
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