• Council Roundup: Update on temporary year-round men’s shelter study work

    At Monday’s study session, the City Council discussed the possibility of providing temporary year-round men’s shelter services at Lincoln Center. As part of the briefing, councilmembers gave initial direction on addressing the current gaps in services and funding.

    In November, staff presented a feasibility study to the council outlining the building modifications and land use process that would be required to meet city codes for providing year-round shelter. At that time, $135,000 was authorized for design of potential building modifications to better understand the cost and schedule of the year-round shelter services at Lincoln Center.

    City staff, working closely with Congregations for the Homeless and a team of professionals from the community, determined that the most cost-effective, efficient solution is to add fire sprinkler protection. This work, which also includes adding a new sleeping area and other fire/life safety improvements, is estimated to cost between $900,000 and $1.2 million.

    The council provided initial direction on two key issues:

    • Gap in Services. Since the men’s shelter will need to be closed during construction, councilmembers directed staff to minimize or eliminate any gap in services by finding a secondary “bridge” location. This site would be a short-term, interim facility during construction and would include a public outreach process prior to the move.

    • Gap in Funding. Since the current men’s shelter is funded only for the winter months, with year-round operation there would be a shortfall in funding of approximately $385,000. Additionally, to close the gap between the hours the day center operates and the hours the shelter operates, extension of the day center hours would require approximately $185,000. This amounts to a total of $570,000 in both 2019 and 2020 that will need to be filled. Councilmembers indicated they would like to continue outreach to regional partners to address this challenge.

    The team anticipates returning to the council in April for final direction. Additional background on the interim year-round men’s shelter can be found in the agenda packet materials.

    Land Use Code Amendment adopted

    Later, the council held a public hearing on a land use code amendment (LUCA) to formally allow nurseries and garden supply retail that have been operating prior to 1955 in residential districts.

    These nursery and garden supply uses were legally established before the 1955 Zoning Code, but subsequent zoning placed these businesses in residential zones where the establishment of nursery or garden supply uses was not allowed.

    After the zoning change, the nursery and garden supply uses were able to continue, but no companion uses could be established to complement these businesses. Additionally, the businesses could not be rebuilt after clearing the sites.

    After the public hearing, the council unanimously adopted the code change.

    The LUCA will result in nurseries being legitimized and allow for smaller complimentary services like a coffee cart or landscaping services. In addition, it would leave the option to clear the site and rebuild so long as the nursery remains in operation.

    The council adopted the LUCA instead of a Comprehensive Plan Amendment sought by a nursery applicant so that the change would apply citywide.

    Additional background can be found in the agenda packet materials.

    Support for local Muslim community

    Earlier during the regular session, Mayor John Chelminiak reiterated the council’s support for the Eastside Islamic community in the wake of the Christchurch mosque shootings. The mayor expressed regret that the council could not attend Monday’s interfaith vigil in Redmond hosted by the Muslim Association of the Puget Sound and other faith groups, but noted that the city sent a letter of support.

    “Bellevue, as a community, views hate in all forms as unacceptable,” said Chelminiak. “We firmly reiterate the inclusive values set forth in our council vision statement: ‘Bellevue welcomes the world. Our diversity is our strength.’”

    The full remarks can also be viewed online (2:10 mark) via BTV.

    Published on 03/21/2019