C-1 Affordable Housing Density Bonus

This Land Use Code Amendment (LUCA) established a density bonus for affordable housing developments on certain public, nonprofit, or religious organization-owned properties.

Background

In 2017, the City Council adopted the 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 addition, in 2019, the Washington state Legislature established RCW 35A.63.300 which requires cities to provide a density bonus consistent with local needs for any affordable housing development located on property owned by a religious organization.

The council initiated work on Affordable Housing Strategy Action C-1 on July 20, 2020. City staff initiated a Comprehensive Plan Amendment to add policy language in the Housing Element that will guide implementation of C-1. This amendment was adopted on Dec. 14, 2020. The first step in implementing C-1 is to develop a Land Use Code Amendment establishing a new density bonus for affordable housing development. This bonus will be available for new, permanent affordable housing developments located on land meeting any of these criteria:

  • Owned by a religious organization and located in a single family, multifamily or mixed-use residential land use district
  • Owned by a nonprofit organization and located in a multifamily or mixed-use residential land use district
  • Owned by a public entity and located in a multifamily or mixed-use residential land use district (not available to the Bellevue Parks Department, Community Development Department, or any public utility)

The bonus will not be available in Downtown, BelRed or Eastgate TOD land use districts, as the code has already established density bonuses for affordable housing in these districts.

What happened?

On Dec. 6, 2021, the council adopted Ordinance 6626 to establish a density bonus and additional modifications to other standards and requirements for affordable housing developments on certain public, nonprofit, or religious organization-owned properties. Under the new code, eligible affordable housing development may receive a 50 percent density bonus.

In addition, the council directed staff to initiate a second phase of work on a comprehensive plan amendment and rezone for certain faith-owned properties. This phase will target faith-owned properties in single family land use districts with characteristics that could support additional housing beyond what will be possible with the new density bonus. These characteristics could include access to transit, location on an arterial street and adjacency to multifamily land use districts.  

Public Hearing

On Sept. 22, the Planning Commission held a virtual public hearing on the proposed LUCA. 

Council Agendas

Project Documents

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