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News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Council Roundup: Support for hospital district withdrawal

Also, affordable housing work considered and neighborhood forums announced

The City Council Monday unanimously approved a resolution supporting the withdrawal of property owners in approximately 2,880 homes in southwest Bellevue from a public hospital district few of them use.

Currently, residents in the Newport Hills area must pay taxes to King County Public Hospital District No. 1, formed in 1948, though many of them don't use the district's hospital, Valley Medical Center in Renton, which is 7.5 miles away. Instead, they often travel to Overlake Hospital Medical Center in Bellevue, five miles to the north, which is not part of the hospital district.

Council members agreed the issue is one of fairness, since the total property tax paid to the hospital district by Bellevue property owners in 2011 will be approximately $645,000, though emergency medical services are largely provided by Overlake Hospital. The residents are the only ones in Bellevue who are part of a hospital distrct.

It's the second time the council has pushed to allow the residents to withdraw from the hospital district. In 2006, after the district's property tax levy rate jumped by 50 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, the city also asked the district board to remove the Bellevue area from the hospital district.

The hospital district board has recently proposed an alliance with the University of Washington Medical Center, and the council wants officials to reconsider the withdrawal issue now too.

For more information, see the council agenda item at http://www.bellevuewa.gov/pdf/City%20Council/PacketStudySession3-21-112c.pdf

Feedback: Diane Carlson, Director of Intergovernmental Relations, 425-452-4225 dcarlson@bellevuewa.gov

Affordable housing work considered
On Monday, the council considered a request from the chairman of the Planning Commission to study options for increasing the city's supply of affordable housing.

One option would change the way the city calculates how dense new housing could be on a given property, allowing more flexibility as to the number and mix of residential units. A second option would reduce parking requirements in areas that offer transit options. The idea is to increase affordable housing by reducing the cost of new housing.

For more information, see the council agenda item at http://www.bellevuewa.gov/pdf/City%20Council/PacketStudySession3-21-112b.pdf

Feedback: Dan Stroh, Acting Director, Department of Planning & Community Development; 425-452-5255 or dstroh@bellevuewa.gov

Neighborhood forums to focus on personal relationships
Council members received invitations to attend two upcoming neighborhood forums; events emphasizing the importance of cultivating personal relationships as the building blocks of strong communities.

The first forum will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, April 6, at City Hall, and will feature Peter Lovenheim, author of "In the Neighborhood: The Search for Community on an American Street, One Sleepover at a Time."

The second forum is at 6 p.m. Thursday, May 12, at Crossroads Community Center; will be a panel discussion on how neighborhoods can build strong connections that include seniors, youth and diverse populations. Both forums are free and open to the public, and both will include facilitated discussion groups following the main presentations.

Feedback: Neighborhood Outreach, 425-452-6836 or neighborhoodoutreach@bellevuewa.gov

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