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News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, April 9, 2015

Council Roundup: Room rental ordinance approved

Also, East Link MOU, performance measures survey, proclamations

The City Council on Monday approved a permanent ordinance to prohibit the business practice of renting single-family homes as rooming houses in single-family neighborhoods, and allow rooming houses in designated multi-family districts.

The ordinance responds to concerns from residents about investors renting out several individual rooms in houses to unrelated individuals. Many of the concerns came from the Spiritwood neighborhood, but comparable issues have been raised in other parts of Bellevue.

Approval of the permanent ordinance follows adoption of an interim ordinance that was extended several times since 2013 while the city's Planning Commission studied a permanent fix. Last week the commission made its recommendations to the council.

"The action was targeted at a business practice that was really inconsistent with a single-family neighborhood," Councilmember John Chelminiak said on Monday. "We did strike a balance between having rentals where people can have affordable housing but also going after and regulating a business practice that was wrong for our neighborhoods." Chelminiak toured the Spiritwood neighborhood and saw the practices firsthand.

Among other things, the ordinance clarifies the definition of boarding and rooming houses and lowers the number of unrelated people who can live together as a family from six to four.

More information and a copy of the ordinance is available online.

Proposed agreement on East Link
The council considered a proposed agreement with Sound Transit to move ahead with permitting and construction of the voter-approved East Link light rail extension. The agreement would amend a memorandum of understanding signed between the two agencies in November 2011.

Part of the agreement addresses Sound Transit plans for an operations and maintenance satellite facility (OMSF) in Bellevue -- if a site in the Bel-Red corridor is selected following the completion of an ongoing environmental review. The proposed agreement also supports the city's Bel-Red land use vision for transit-oriented development near a planned 120th Avenue Northeast light rail station, confirms financial contributions for a downtown light rail tunnel, and minimizes impacts to neighbors during the construction and operation of East Link.

The council will hold a public hearing on the proposed agreement during its April 13 study session, which begins at 6 p.m. The council is slated to vote on the amended MOU on April 20.

More information about the draft MOU is available with the council's April 6 study session agenda. Additional material is available on the city's light rail public involvement page.

Performance Measures Survey
Councilmembers learned that preliminary results of the 2015 Performance Measures Survey show Bellevue residents continue to give the city high marks, with numbers consistent over the last four years.

The percentage of residents who rate Bellevue as a good to excellent place to live stood at 96 percent in 2015; 92 percent say they feel safe walking alone in their neighborhood after dark; 92 percent say the overall quality of city services meets or exceeds expectations; and 81 percent say the city is headed in the right direction.

The survey was conducted from January 30 to February 28 via telephone and online. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.3 percent. The full Performance Measures Survey report will be ready in a few weeks. .

Mayor Claudia Balducci proclaimed April as Autism Awareness Month, noting the brain disorder affects more than 3 million people in the United States.

Balducci also proclaimed April 18 as Arbor Day-Earth Day and urged "all citizens to plant trees to gladden the hearts and promote the well-being of present and future generations." The proclamation states that the National Arbor Day Foundation has recognized Bellevue as a Tree City USA community for the 24th consecutive year.

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Bellevue, WA 98009
Contact: David Grant, Public Information Officer
Phone: 425-452-4397
E-mail: dgrant@bellevuewa.gov

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