Also, economic development plan, other news
As one might expect in a city located between two beautiful lakes, with nearly all of the waterfront occupied by single-family home owners, a public hearing Monday on draft regulations to manage shorelines drew a crowd.
Nearly 50 people commented on the city's draft Shoreline Management Program update. The hearing provided the public an opportunity to comment on the draft plan before the City Council begins its deliberations on policy issues posed by adoption of the SMP. Most of the speakers were owners of waterfront property who were in favor of the draft SMP recommended by the Planning Commission; others advocated stricter shoreline regulations they said would better protect fish and water quality.
The SMP was first adopted in 1974 and has changed little since then. Work to update the document started several years ago and is a significant environmental policy and code amendment effort. Once updated and adopted, the SMP will regulate the development and use of Bellevue's shorelines along Lake Washington, Lake Sammamish, Phantom Lake, Larson Lake, lower Kelsey Creek and Mercer Slough.
Councilmembers will hold more study sessions in May and June to review SMP topics that were of greatest concern to the Planning Commission and to the public. Another public hearing will be held after that to obtain comments on the final package endorsed by the City Council, before it's submitted to the state Department of Ecology. Comments can be directed to Carol Helland (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The draft SMP is available online (http://www.bellevuewa.gov/draft-smp-update.htm)
New economic development plan a hit
Also on Monday, the council got a look at a draft economic development plan that outlines both specific actions for staff to work on over the next five years and "foundational strategies" that support the local economic climate.
Examples of near-term actions in the plan recommended by staff, include encouraging technology entrepreneurism, attracting an expanded higher education presence, developing a coordinated tourism and visitor strategy, creating additional marketing to support the economic development strategy, taking a regional approach to addressing issues, developing a vision and plan for the future of the Wilburton district and expanding access to high-speed telecommunications.
Councilmembers lauded the recommended plan for creating a strategy that connects with the city's comprehensive plan, as well as the council’s own recently created vision statement and accompanying priorities. Based on feedback on Monday, city staff will return with a final version of the Economic Development Plan for adoption at a future meeting.
More information, including the draft, recommended economic development plan, is available online (http://www.bellevuewa.gov/pdf/City%20Council/PacketStudySession5-5-142a.pdf)
In a separate but related presentation to the council, a representative of Visit Bellevue Washington, the city's official destination marketing organization, summarized the economic impacts of visitors to Bellevue, based on a methodology used by other destination marketing organizations.
According to Visit Bellevue, the number of visitors to the city increased 4.4 percent in 2013, to 1.4 million, compared with 2012; direct visitor spending increased 3.5 percent, to $716 million; and the amount of visitor-generated tax revenue collected by the city rose 3.3 percent in 2013, to $6.9 million, compared with 2012.
Chad Davis and Chris Dreher were appointed to fill two vacated positions on the Library Board. Both terms expire on May 31, 2015.
Mayor Claudia Balducci noted five proclamations marking National Music Week, Arts Education Month, Better Hearing and Speech Month, Older Americans Month and Bicycle Month.
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