Also, franchise agreement, ethics, downtown building signs, light rail stations
The City Council reviewed progress on work to update Bellevue's Comprehensive Plan and provided direction for the city's most important long-range planning effort.
Last updated in 2004, the comprehensive plan lays out the community's vision for the future of Bellevue and sets policy that will direct city actions on a wide range of topics, such as land use, housing, human services, transportation, parks and economic development. The effort to update the current plan began in 2012 and is scheduled for completion in 2014.
An important aspect of the update is engaging community members to identify their vision for the future. Staff discussed some of the ways that's being done and unveiled a new video that offers a sampling of what residents and others hope to see in Bellevue's future.
Another way the city is reaching out to residents is through an online forum called Bellevue's Best Ideas, which invites peoples' thoughts about how the city should grow and adapt to change over the next 20 years or more. So far the page has garnered more than 30 ideas and more than 350 votes. To encourage participation, the city has even organized a drawing for prizes; anyone who submits an idea automatically is eligible to win. Sponsored prizes are three $100 gift cards to Microsoft and three $50 gift cards to Crossroads Bellevue shopping center.
In other council action:
- Electrical franchise agreement: The council authorized renewal of a franchise agreement with Puget Sound Energy for an additional five years. The agreement sets the terms and conditions PSE must comply with when their electrical facilities occupy city rights of way.
- Code of ethics: The council discussed a proposed code of ethics ordinance that would govern the council, boards and commissions. The existing, outdated ordinance would be repealed. The draft code, modeled on the City of Kirkland's regulations, is expected to come back for further discussion, and a possible vote, at the council's May 27 meeting.
- High-rise sign code: Councilmembers gave preliminary approval to amend the city's sign code that governs signs atop downtown high-rise buildings. Currently, 11 towers have building-top signs and employers must occupy at least 180,000 square feet of space to qualify for such a sign. The proposed code amendment would drop the requirement to 120,000 square feet for corporate headquarters only and could potentially qualify two additional office buildings. A final vote on the amendment is expected at the council's June 3 meeting.
- Station area planning: The council approved a work program for station area planning related to future East Link light rail stations. Objectives include community engagement, identifying city-funded investments, maximizing station access and supporting the land use vision in Bellevue's comprehensive plan for each neighborhood.
- Proclamations: Mayor Conrad Lee marked National Police Week and Bike to Work Day (May 17) with proclamations.
More information on each of the items listed above is available in the council agenda.
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