The Planning Commission is hosting an open house on April 20 regarding draft shoreline policies and regulations to govern waterfront development in Bellevue.
The draft Shoreline Master Program (SMP) is being updated to comply with state law based on a review of the conditions of Bellevue's shorelines, Planning Commission direction and input from the public over the last three years.
At the open house -- 6 to 8 p.m., Wednesday, April 20, at City Hall -- residents will have an opportunity to learn more about the regulatory requirements and receive guidance on how to provide meaningful input to the Planning Commission on the draft. Staff and commission members will be on hand to describe the draft SMP and answer questions. Displays and handouts will be available to aid in the conversation; however no formal presentation will be made.
In Bellevue, water bodies and lands adjacent to them subject to SMP include:
- Lake Washington, including Mercer Slough and lower Kelsey Creek;
- Lake Sammamish; and
- Phantom Lake, including Larson Lake and associated wetlands.
Bellevue's SMP was originally drafted in 1974, following passage by the state of the Shoreline Management Act (SMA), and was intended to prevent the inherent harm resulting from "uncoordinated and piecemeal development of the state's shorelines."
In 2003 the state revised its shoreline management guidelines to emphasize ecologically appropriate development. Bellevue is required to update its shoreline regulations accordingly.
Cities such as Bellevue are the primary regulators of their shorelines, but the state Department of Ecology approves local programs and some permit decisions. The Bellevue SMP will become part of the state's program to protect natural resources, encourage land uses that require a waterfront location and promote public access to shorelines.
In addition to being consistent with the state requirements for updating master programs, the Bellevue SMP is also tailored to Bellevue-specific conditions. The Planning Commission believes the update should be consistent with the city's past approach to environmental regulation.
Proposed changes to the SMP recognize Bellevue's urbanized character, but also reflect its image as a "City in a Park," containing neighborhoods where nature enhances livability and personal well-being. Provisions are flexible, predictable and built on the understanding that some of the policies of the SMP may not be achievable by regulation alone.
On Wednesday, May 25, 6:30 p.m. at City Hall, the Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on the draft SMP update. The hearing is the community's opportunity to provide formal feedback and input to the commission on the draft SMP. Comments on the draft also can be submitted to staff or the commission at any time for consideration.
After additional public meetings, the commission will recommend a draft SMP for transmittal to the City Council. After council approval, the SMP update must be approved by the Department of Ecology.
Shoreline Management Plan Update
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