To reduce Bellevue’s affordable housing gap, this initiative created additional development capacity for affordable housing on properties owned or controlled by religious organizations in single-family districts in areas well-suited to multifamily housing, consistent with the city’s Affordable Housing Strategy Action C-1. Based on neighborhood context and affordable housing needs, staff developed a proposal for creating additional development capacity for affordable housing on sites (see map) that meet the following criteria:
- Owned by a religious organization,
- Located in a single-family land use district,
- Located on an arterial street,
- Located within half a mile of a frequent transit stop, and
- Located within 500 feet of a land use district where multifamily housing or commercial uses are permitted.
See the History and Purpose section below to learn how this initiative builds upon previous efforts to implement Action C-1 of the Affordable Housing Strategy.
See our Action C-1 Phase 2 FAQs webpage to find answers to frequently asked questions.
On December 12, 2022, the City Council adopted the Comprehensive Plan amendment (CPA), which adds a note to the City's Land Use Map and two new Housing Element policies (HO-36 and HO-37). These policies provide guidance on which single-family properties are eligible for a rezone and promote informing and educating religious organizations about the opportunity to develop affordable housing. Single-family designated areas on the Land Use Map may reclassify to multifamily residential when they meet the following criteria:
- One hundred percent of the housing being developed will be permanently affordable housing;
- The property is owned or controlled by a religious organization;
- The property is located near high-capacity transportation infrastructure and services; and
- The property is located near other multifamily residential or commercial use districts.
The Land Use Code Amendment (LUCA) process established criteria and procedures for certain properties owned by religious organizations and located in single-family land use districts to be rezoned to permit permanently affordable multifamily housing. The project also included a city-sponsored rezone for the initial set of properties meeting the recommended criteria.
On June 26, 2023, the council adopted Ordinance 6743 amending Land Use Code (LUC) chapter 20.20.128 Affordable Housing to establish eligibility criteria, rezone procedures, and criteria for determining the additional capacity available to eligible properties. The council also adopted Ordinance 6744 rezoning 36 eligible sites consistent with the criteria established with the LUCA. If additional properties become eligible in the future, their owners will need to apply for a rezone. For more information related to the LUCA process, please refer to the LUCA project website.
Schedule of Events and Actions Taken
Event or Action Taken
City Council Action on Phase One Density Bonus LUCA
City Council Initiation of Phase Two CPA and LUCA
|Notice of Application
|Weekly Permit Bulletin
Planning Commission Study Session 1 (CPA)
|Virtual Information Session 6:30 p.m.
Planning Commission Study Session 2 (CPA)
|Notice of Recommendation, Public Hearing and SEPA Threshold Determination
|Weekly Permit Bulletin
Planning Commission Final Review Public Hearing (CPA) and Recommendation
City Council Study Session (CPA)
City Council Action (CPA)
|1/2023 to 6/2023
|Land Use Code Amendment Process
|LUCA Project Webpage and Materials
History and Purpose
Needs Assessment, Strategy, Action C-1 Phase One
In 2016, the city completed a Housing Needs Assessment that identified a gap in Bellevue's supply of affordable housing.
In 2017, Bellevue City Council adopted an Affordable Housing Strategy, which includes Action C-1 to “increase development potential on suitable land owned by public agencies, faith-based and non-profit housing entities for affordable housing.”
In 2021, Bellevue City Council adopted a 50 percent density bonus for affordable housing developments meeting these ownership criteria as the first step in implementing Action C-1.
Certain stakeholders noted during the adoption of the density bonus that some faith-owned properties in single family land use districts have location characteristics that could support higher densities and multifamily style housing. This second phase of work identifies these properties and develops a proposal for creating additional development capacity for affordable housing on these sites.
What is “Housing Affordability?”
The Housing Affordability webpage describes what is meant by housing affordability generally and affordable housing more specifically. Scroll down to the bottom of the page for more detailed descriptions and definitions of affordable housing.
Affordable Housing Strategy
Housing Affordability Glossary
The Housing Affordability Glossary provides definitions of common terms used when discussing housing affordability.
Ongoing Housing Work
Keep abreast of all projects and initiatives part of the city's ongoing housing work program here.