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News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Council Roundup: Keeping car dealerships running smooth

Also, road map approved for updating city's Comprehensive Plan

New car sales account for a significant chunk of Bellevue's tax base, and city officials are working to retain dealerships threatened with displacement by transportation projects, high land costs and other factors.

City Councilmembers on Monday heard the results of a 60,000-mile check-up on the city's auto retail sector, including the first part of a market study by a consulting firm. (Video of council meetings is on Bellevue TV.)

In 2012, new car dealerships contributed more than $6.4 million in city sales tax revenue. This represents about 14 percent of Bellevue's total sales tax revenue.

Displacement threats to dealerships include city roadway expansion projects and future construction of the East Link light rail line. Redevelopment of areas zoned to accommodate car dealerships and high land prices also are contributing to the squeeze. 

The market study, commissioned by the city, noted industry trends toward more "urban" dealerships with multi-story buildings, rather than single-story buildings and adjacent parking lots. Some car dealers interviewed for the study were concerned about the availability of land zoned for dealerships and were interested in a long-term plan to address the changing needs of the city's auto retailers. 

Bellevue staff will continue to work with at-risk dealerships with a goal of retaining them in Bellevue at different locations. At a policy level, the council may consider whether to expand the supply of land zoned for dealerships, and whether such an expansion can be accommodated as part the city's broader community development vision. 

study session agenda item 

Also, updating the comp plan
Work continues on updating the city's comprehensive plan, which spells out the community's vision for Bellevue's future. On Monday the council approved a game plan for how to go about completing the task, including a set of principles, work program, community engagement plan and a process for updating subarea plans.

The comprehensive plan, last updated in 2004, sets policy that will direct city actions on a wide range of topics, such as land use, human services, housing, transportation, parks and economic development. Work to update the current plan began in 2012 and will wrap up in 2014.

study session agenda item

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E-mail: lwright@bellevuewa.gov

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