Also, council vision, light rail yard, budget hearing, Oso response
The City Council continued its focus on Puget Sound Energy's Energize Eastside project, hearing from both city staff and PSE on the status of the project and the role of the city, PSE and community in determining the route of new, higher-capacity (230 kilovolt) transmission lines proposed through the Eastside.
Over the past several months, this project has continued to gain the attention of Bellevue residents, businesses, the council and other stakeholders. PSE officials say the project is needed to provide reliable power to serve the region's current and expected growth.
On Monday, the council endorsed a city plan to increase community engagement in the planning for this critical infrastructure project. The community engagement plan consists of regular briefings to the council from PSE; periodic updates to the council by Bellevue stakeholders in the Energize Eastside Citizens Advisory Group and presentations to the council from independent experts and regulatory agencies.
Also part of the engagement plan is a community forum on June 3, 7-9 p.m., at City Hall. Given the importance of the project, the council is eager to continue hearing from residents and businesses. The forum is one way residents can learn about the project and, more importantly, share their opinions about how to meet the city's and the region's electrical needs.
In addition, city web pages about the project will offer information detailing the city and council's role, staff contacts, a sign-up section for email and text alerts and other resources.
Councilmembers also encouraged PSE to thoroughly address concerns raised by the community. Acknowledging PSE's expertise on transmission of electricity, the council reiterated the importance of the company showing how it came to its decisions, particularly on the selection of proposed routes, and engineering and financial considerations around overhead lines versus underground transmission lines.
The council and city staff will continue to monitor Energize Eastside as it moves through the community engagement process over the next few months. For more information on this project, please visit the city's Electrical Facilities Planning page or PSE.
Council vision, targets, priorities document adopted
The council adopted its long-term vision, called "Bellevue 2035 -- The City Where You Want To Be." Its introduction reads: "Bellevue welcomes the world. Our diversity is our strength. We embrace the future while respecting our past."
In addition to the vision, the council identifies seven strategic target areas and lays out a vision for each one: Economic Development, Transportation and Mobility; High Quality Built and Natural Environment; Bellevue: Great Places Where You Want to Be; Regional Leadership and Influence; Achieving Human Potential; and High Performance Government.
A separate section includes more specific, two-year priorities for each strategic target area, a total of 25 priorities. A nearly final version of the document is available in the council meeting packet. A final version, with small additions, will be available soon on the council page.
Light rail operations and maintenance facility
Councilmembers asked numerous questions of Sound Transit officials who provided a briefing on a proposed light rail operations and maintenance satellite facility. Three of the four proposed alternatives for the facility are located in Bellevue's Bel-Red corridor; one is in Lynnwood.
In a 2012 letter to Sound Transit, the council expressed strong opposition to an operations and maintenance facility in Bellevue. On Monday, some councilmembers repeated their view that a facility in Bel-Red would be inconsistent with long-standing plans to transform the area from light industrial uses to one focused on residential and office uses.
Two of the alternatives in Bellevue are located next to the Metro bus base off 120th Avenue Northeast; a third site is between SR 520 and Northeast 20th Street, east of 130th Avenue Northeast.
The maintenance facility will serve the East Link light rail line, and other parts of the regional system, once it becomes operational in 2023, but it’s not considered part of the East Link project. Sound Transit requires 20-25 acres to accommodate at least 90 cars. The facility will perform maintenance work from 1 to 5 a.m. daily. Sound Transit's main O&M facility is in Seattle.
Sound Transit recently released a draft environmental impact statement evaluating the four proposed alternatives. A 45-day public comment period on the report runs until June 23. People can view and comment on the draft EIS. Sound Transit will hold an open house and public hearing on the O&M Facility project on June 5 at the Coast Hotel in Bellevue.
First budget hearing of the year
The council held the first of three public hearings on the 2015-2016 Budget and the 2015-2021 capital budget (called the Capital Investment Program Plan). A total of four people spoke on a variety of topics. The second public hearing will be on July 21, and the final hearing will be on November 17.
Councilmembers will begin to review a preliminary budget recommended by the city manager starting in October and will adopt the final spending plans in December.
Oso landslide response
Twenty-one city staff members who helped out with the emergency response to the March 22 landslide in Oso were recognized for their support in the areas of planning, logistics, operations and communications. Bellevue employees, and the organization, benefited from opportunities for a hands-on experience, collaboration and building relationships.
EnviroStars in Bellevue
A representative with King County's Hazardous Waste Management Program recognized 36 Bellevue businesses and organizations as certified EnviroStars. The EnviroStars program publicizes companies' efforts to improve hazardous materials and waste management practices, and to minimize environmental impacts.
Human Services Commission appointments
Michelle Kline and Carla Villar were appointed to serve four-year terms on the city's Human Services Commission. The terms expire on May 31, 2018.
Mayor Balducci proclaimed May as Asian Pacific Islander Month; she proclaimed May 18-24 as National Public Works Week.
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