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News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, July 10, 2008

Council to consider new round of 'megahouse' regs

The Bellevue City Council will consider Monday whether to proceed with a second round of regulations to limit the impacts of "teardown" development -- the replacement of older homes with large new residences that may seem out-of-scale compared to existing neighborhood development.

Meeting in study session at 6 p.m. in the Council Conference Room of City Hall, the Council will discuss a list of recommendations from staff and the Planning Commission to address concerns about neighborhood redevelopment. Among the recommendations are proposals to:

  • Apply development standards -- protecting adjacent neighbors' privacy and access to sunlight -- to new single-family structures whose total square footage exceeds 50 percent of the building lot square footage;
  • Establish placement requirements for mechanical equipment installed with new single-family home construction;
  • Require a 20-foot minimum setback from all property lines for guest cottages;
  • Establish maintenance standards specific to abandoned building sites and vacant houses;
  • Increase the tree retention requirement from 15 percent to 30 percent for infill development in single-family residential zones;
  • Revise noise construction hours for remodels and additions to 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays;
  • Refer to the Environmental Stewardship Initiative the issue of limiting tree removal within two years of redevelopment; and
  • Refer a proposed accessory structure proportional requirement and issues of Planned Unit Development setbacks and compatibility for consideration as part of the Innovative Housing Initiative.

The city initiated its inquiry into redevelopment impacts in early 2007 after a flood of complaints about the impacts of construction, loss of trees and greenscape, loss of sunlight and privacy, and disruption of neighborhood character due to teardown and infill activity. Assigned to investigate the concerns, city staff and the Planning Commission presented their initial findings and recommendations to the Council in summer of 2007.

Last December, the Council adopted relatively simple Phase One code changes to address neighborhood redevelopment concerns. Phase Two changes, coming before the Council on Monday, are more complex and potentially more controversial. If the Council agrees to proceed with the proposed changes, Phase Two code amendments will be prepared for a public hearing before the Bellevue Planning Commission.

Questions may be addressed to the Neighborhood Outreach Office, 425-452-6836, and the Neighborhood Character page offers details. Comments can be addressed to the City Council at 6 p.m. on Monday, or in writing to City Council, P.O. Box 90012, Bellevue WA 98004, or by e-mail to Council@bellevuewa.gov.

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Contact Information

Neighborhood Outreach
450 110th Ave. NE
P.O. Box 90012
Bellevue, WA 98009
Phone: 425-452-6836
E-mail: neighborhoodoutreach@bellevuewa.gov

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