Since the adoption of the Affordable Housing Strategy in June 2017, the City of Bellevue has made significant progress towards achieving the target of 2,500 affordable housing units over 10 years. On July 5, reaffirming their priority to encourage additional housing and affordable housing within the city, the Bellevue City Council initiated the "Next Right Work" actions.
The Next Right Work aims to further increase housing opportunities and diversity within the city, a need noted by the city's Housing Needs Assessment completed in December 2022.
Each Next Right Work items is described below. Additional information, including future opportunities for community input, can be found by following the link at the end of each description. The Next Right Work is comprised of the following actions:
- Remove barriers to Micro-Apartments
- Allow higher Floor Area Ratio (FAR) for residential development
- Phase 1: Downtown Interim Official Control (IOC)
- Phase 2: Mixed Use Land Use Districts Citywide Land Use Code Amendment (LUCA)
- Reduce permit review and inspection fees for affordable housing
- Encourage detached accessory dwelling units (DADUs), attached accessory dwelling units (ADUs) and duplex, triplex, quadplexes, including a mechanism for separate ownership
- Phase 1: ADU Reform LUCA
- Phase 2: DADUs, Duplex, Triplex and Quadplex LUCA
- Simplify the permitting process
- State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) categorical exemptions Bellevue City Code Amendment (BCCA)
- Unit lot subdivision BCCA
- Expedite permitting for affordable housing
Next Right Work Actions Timeline
- Allow a higher FAR for residential projects - Phase 1: Downtown IOC
Adopted: May 8, 2023
This Interim Official Control (IOC) is intended to increase the production of both residential units and affordable housing in downtown. It does so by increasing the existing downtown FAR exemption to allow more residential FAR to be exempt when affordable housing is provided. FAR is a measure of development intensity equal to building square footage divided by the property square footage on which a project is constructed. The IOC also provides greater development flexibility to projects meeting affordable housing thresholds. Additional details can be found in the May 8 city council meeting materials.
- Remove Barriers to Micro-Apartments Land Use Code Amendment
Adopted: June 5, 2023
The Micro-Apartments Land Use Code Amendment (LUCA) was adopted to enable and encourage micro-apartments in the city. Although micro-apartments were not disallowed by the Land Use Code (LUC), previous LUC requirements limited the feasibility and development of micro-apartments.
The LUCA defined micro-apartments within the LUC, requiring that all micro-apartments contain a kitchen and bathroom are under 320 square feet. Additionally, the LUCA sets car and bicycle parking requirements, counts a micro-apartment as one-quarter dwelling unit for density purposes, and exempts micro-apartments from the multifamily play area requirements. Additional details can be found on the micro-apartments page.
- Reduce Permit Review and Inspection Fees for Affordable Housing
Adopted: July 17, 2023
The Affordable Housing Fee Reduction was adopted to further encourage affordable housing by eliminating Development Services Department fees for projects that are 100% affordable, supportive housing or homeless services uses. Additional information can be found in the July 17 council meeting materials.
- Encourage DADUs, ADUs and Duplex, Triplex and Quadplexes & Including a Mechanism for Separate Ownership - Phase 1 ADU Reform LUCA
Adopted: July 17, 2023
The ADU reform LUCA was adopted to remove barriers to and further encourage the construction of ADUs within the city. The LUCA amends to modify or remove certain requirements for ADUs that have been identified as barriers, including: owner occupancy, design controls, prohibition of separate ownership, size limits, procedural requirements and off-street parking. Additional information can be found on the ADU Reform page.
- Simplify the Permitting Process - Unit Lot Subdivision BCCA
Anticipated Council Action: August 7, 2023
A BCCA has been proposed to streamline and standardized transportation design standards that apply to all townhouse developments, regardless of the ownership model (e.g. condominiums or fee-simple) through a BCCA. Under current requirements, vehicular and pedestrian facilities vary by the number of lots and type of development in the project. This BCCA allows the transportation director to establish consistent provisions for vehicular and pedestrian access that apply to unit lot subdivisions and other attached dwellings to serve the public interest. Standardizing the transportation requirements for these housing types creates better equity between use types, allows better administration of code and results in predictability and flexibility for developers and the public during the review process. Additional information can be found in the August 7 City Council meeting materials.
- Simplify the Permitting Process - SEPA Categorical Exemptions
Anticipated Council Action: Fall 2023
A BCCA has been proposed to simplify the permitting process by maximizing SEPA categorical exemptions up to state allowances. The BCCA allows single-family residential projects of up to 30-units and multi-family residential projects of up to 200 units to be exempt from SEPA environmental review. Exempting these projects allows for a shorter and less expensive permitting process for these projects, encouraging additional housing within the city.
- Expedite Permitting for Affordable Housing
Anticipated Completion: End of Year 2023
To expedite permitting for qualifying affordable housing projects, the Development Services Department are working internally to create programs to assist affordable housing providers through the permitting process. The goal of the program is to shorten the permitting time for affordable housing to allow providers to deliver the needed housing more quickly to residents.
- Encourage DADUs, ADUs and Duplex, Triplex, Quadplexes and Including a Mechanism for Separate Ownership - Phase 2 DADUs, Duplex, Triplex and Quadplex LUCA
Anticipated Completion: Summer 2024
Phase 2 of the LUCA will facilitate middle-scale housing across the city by encouraging DADUs, ADUs, and duplex, triplex, quadplexes, including mechanism for separate ownership. This strategy is being addressed in the Comprehensive Plan Periodic Update (CPPU). The CPPU is in the early analysis phase and is evaluating new policies supporting middle-scale housing. Phase 2 will also work to bring the city into conformance with state requirements to allow DADUs and allow two ADUs or DADUs per lot citywide.
- Allow a Higher FAR for Residential Projects - Phase 2 Mixed-Use Districts LUCA
Anticipated Completion: Summer-Fall 2024
Phase 2 of the action to allow a higher FAR for residential intends to increase the production of residential units by encouraging the development of residential uses over office uses, including affordable housing, within all of the mixed-use areas of the city (e.g. Factoria, Eastgate and Crossroads). Phase 2 will convert mixed-use areas using dwelling units/acre to FAR, increase residential FAR and explore various affordable housing programs. Additionally, Phase 2 will work to implement recommendations from the ongoing Comprehensive Plan Periodic Update.