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In 2007-09 the City Council took action to reduce negative impacts of neighborhood redevelopment – particularly the teardown of existing homes and replacement with much larger homes sometimes called “megahouses.”
In response to residents’ concerns about neighborhood compatibility of these large new homes, the council adopted regulations designed to:
- Preserve neighborhood trees and greenscape;
- Protect existing homes from structures that block sunlight and infringe on privacy; and
- Reduce negative impacts of construction.
Regulations were adopted in two phases after extensive public discussion.
In December of 2007, the City Council adopted Ordinance No. 5791, embodying Neighborhood Character Phase One amendments to the Land Use Code. These amendments:
- Require that new single-family homes and/or any land alteration within single-family land use districts provide at least 50 percent greenscape within front yard setbacks (a setback is normally the first 20 feet next to the right of way);
- Require retention of 30 percent of significant trees when single-family homes are redeveloped or expanded by more than 20 percent;
- Change the way the city measures building height (from finished to existing grade) to discourage unnecessary lot build-up;
- Eliminate the height exemption for rooftop mechanical equipment in single-family residential zones;
- Prohibit portable carports and storage structures in locations visible from public streets and rights of way;
- Declare unscreened construction debris a public nuisance;
- Require that lodging at construction sites comply with temporary use regulations, and;
- Authorize the city to require construction information signs in single-family zones.
Adopted in August of 2009 as Ordinance No. 5896, Phase Two Land Use Code amendments:
- Place further limitations on residential building height (maximum of 35 feet to the roof peak; maximum of 40 feet for any single façade);
- Establish rules for backyard placement or sound screening of mechanical equipment associated with new or remodeled homes;
- Increase the requirement for significant tree retention in new subdivisions, from 15 to 30 percent.
Also adopted in August of 2009 as Ordinance No. 5897, Phase Two City Code Amendments:
- Establish maintenance standards for vacant homes and abandoned building sites;
- Revise the ending time for residential construction noise from 10 p.m. to 8 p.m.
To understand how these regulations apply to a specific project, contact the Land Use and Zoning Information desk at 425-452-4188 or LandUseReview@bellevuewa.gov