The Bellevue City Council has adopted a complete rezone of the 900-acre Bel-Red area and a new set of development regulations.
The action Monday is a major step in implementing the city's Bel-Red plan, which calls for the corridor to undergo a graceful transition from light industrial to a mixture of retail, office and residential uses. The council adopted the plan in February.
The highest density development would be clustered around two light rail stations planned for the area as part of Sound Transit's East Link light rail line. The line, now in the planning stages, will ultimately connect the employment centers of downtown Bellevue, Seattle and Overlake.
Adoption of the new zoning caps a three-year effort and is a product of a citizen steering committee, the Planning Commission and other city commissions, citizens who participated in numerous public meetings and other outreach efforts, staff and council.
The new zoning and development regulations adopted Monday specifically:
- Rezones the Bel-Red area from mostly light industrial and commercial zones to a set of new districts that allow for variations of residential, office and commercial uses in mid-rise and high-rise forms;
- Concentrates opportunities for new development around planning light rail stations;
- Maintains lower density commercial services in areas such as along Northup Way;
- Allows for the continuation of today's existing uses throughout the area as redevelopment occurs;
- Provides incentives for new development to contribute to affordable housing, parks, open space, stream restoration and other public amenities;
- Establishes parking requirements that are consistent with transit-oriented development and allow for greater flexibility; and
- Includes a set of design standards and guidelines to ensure that new development enhances the quality of the Bel-Red area and makes it an attractive place to live and work.
Unlike downtown, where the city has successfully concentrated high-density development by allowing buildings of over 40 stories, the tallest buildings in the transformed Bel-Red area will be limited to about 13 stories and located only near transit centers. The three- to six-story buildings will be allowed in other parts of Bel-Red.
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