Zoning Requirements

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The city’s Land Use Code was established to control use and improvement of property in Bellevue. The requirements in the code preserve the public health, safety and welfare, and advance the vision for Bellevue described in the city's Comprehensive Plan. Zoning and Land Use Code requirements can include:

  • Zoning designations that distribute commercial, residential, industrial and other uses across the city
  • Dimensional requirements for structures and improvements
  • Design and performance standards
  • Special requirements only applicable to certain uses and development proposals
  • Protection of critical environmental features and functions
  • Permit process and procedural requirements

Frequently Asked Questions

Before you buy a property or lease a tenant space you should determine what the property is zoned and what uses are allowed. Any special requirements or limitations such as parking, landscaping, environmentally sensitive features and special development limitations are also important to determine.

Land Use applications typically precede construction permit applications. Some projects may require preapplication review prior to a formal Land Use application. Once a Land Use application is submitted, staff will review the application to ensure it is complete and issue a public notice for comments. Most Land Use applications require public notice. The staff will review the application and may require revisions to the proposal to meet requirements in the Land Use Code. Once a proposal meets the code requirements a decision on the application can be issued. Depending upon the application, a recommendation of approval to the City's Hearing Examiner, Planning Commission, or City Council may be issued. Once a decision is issued there is an appeal period where the applicant or any concerned party may appeal the City's decision. If no appeals are submitted a project can move on to construction permit applications.

Due to the requirements for review, public notice, comment, and the allowance for appeal, the project timeline for a Land Use application can take several months or longer depending upon the project complexity.

Application fees for Land Use applications can be found on the permits page. Land Use applications typically require a deposit at time of application that covers an initial amount of review hours. Review hours can exceed the initial deposit and are billed at an hourly rate. Depending upon the complexity of the proposal the amount of review time can vary. If the initial deposit is not fully used the applicant will receive a refund.

Land Use approvals typically have an expiration date when the approval issued will no longer be valid. The expiration date will be noted in the decision issued on the application. Expiration can range from a few months to several years depending upon the type of application.

It is recommended that you contact the Land Use division prior to proceeding with any tree removal in order to confirm if a permit is needed. A permit to remove a tree will be required for the following:

  • Any tree removal in the Bridle Trails Subarea requires a permit
  • Any tree removal on a commercial or multifamily zoned property requires a permit
  • Any tree removal in an area that is an environmentally sensitive area such as a steep slope, wetland, stream, or areas nearby these critical areas requires a permit.

The type of permit required will typically be a clearing and grading permit. If a permit is required to remove a tree the Land Use Code typically requires that the tree remain unless it is shown to be a hazard as determined by a certified arborist. In addition to a permit, Land Use applications may be required to remove a tree.