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News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Council Roundup: Proposed neighborhood character regs need refining

Staff and Planning Commission proposals to address the impacts of neighborhood redevelopment are generally on the right track, but need more study, discussion and work, the Bellevue City Council said Monday.

The Council received a series of recommendations covering such issues as loss of  light and privacy for homes adjacent to large, redeveloped houses; noise from large homes' heating and air conditioning equipment; loss of trees associated with subdivision development; placement of guest cottages; construction hours for remodels and additions; and the duration of residential construction projects.

The recommendations were submitted by the Planning Commission as part of the Phase Two Neighborhood Livability Action Agenda. Phase One recommendations -- including tree preservation for redeveloped lots, changes in the measurement of building height and measures to reduce construction impacts -- were adopted by the Council in December 2007.

On Monday Council members opted for further study of the Planning Commission proposal to establish special development standards for homes over a certain size or "threshold." The proposal would require a home whose bulk is more than 50 percent of the lot size to angle its roof or step back its second story -- one of two methods to protect neighboring homes' privacy and access to sunlight.

The Council recognized that improving the fit of new and rebuilt homes within established neighborhoods is a complex issue. While no approach will guarantee every home is a perfect fit, some Council members asked for more work to ensure any proposal addresses the problem in the least intrusive manner necessary.

There was also interest in providing flexibility for redevelopment to achieve desired outcomes in different ways, and to avoid situations where "the last house on the block" has to comply with new restrictions that did not apply to redevelopment of homes around it.

Council members also expressed interest in proposals to reduce construction hours for additions and remodels from 10 p.m. to 8 p.m.; establish placement standards for new homes' mechanical systems; and increase tree preservation requirements in new subdivisions from 15 percent to 30 percent.

Additional discussion of all Phase Two Neighborhood Character proposals is expected to take place before the Planning Commission this fall. The Neighborhood Livability Action Agenda pages offer more details.

Feedback: Cheryl Kuhn, 425-452-4089

The Council Agendas and Council Minutes pages offer complete information regarding Council meetings.

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