• Council Roundup: Housing affordability tax incentive adopted

    Published July 1 2021

    Plus, Arts Commission and Parks Board appointments and East Main Station Area discussion 

    On Monday night, the City Council unanimously approved altering Bellevue’s multifamily housing property tax exemption (MFTE) to encourage increased development of affordable housing. The final ordinance marks the end of a multi-phased study and outreach process that began in October 2020. 

    Bellevue’s MFTE program was first adopted in 2015 and last amended in 2018. Based on state law, it allows developers who build multifamily housing to gain a 12-year property tax exemption in exchange for providing 20 percent of the building at affordable rates for that same time period. Monday’s update makes a number of key changes including expanding the areas within the city where the MFTE program may be used, offering alternate pathways for developers to meet eligibility requirements and capping rent increases for renewing tenants. 

    Additional background is in the agenda packet materials and the full discussion is available on video replay via Bellevue Television

    Commission and board appointments

    Earlier in the meeting, councilmembers unanimously approved recommended appointments to the Arts Commission and Parks & Community Services Board. 

    Bhavna Bhargava was recommended by liaison Councilmember John Stokes for position no. 6 on the Arts Commission and will serve a four-year term ending in 2025. The commission advises and makes recommendations to the council on matters of art with the goal of enhancing the cultural experience in Bellevue.

    Parks & Community Services Board liaison Councilmember Janice Zahn recommended Cassidy Giampetro for position no. 4. The board advises the council on parks and open space issues such as park planning, design and construction, development and renovation, enterprise management and natural resources, land stewardship and environmental education. Giampetro’s term also ends in 2025. 

    East Main Station Area planning 

    Councilmembers also discussed a draft Land Use Code Amendment (LUCA) for the East Main Station Area. This area is approximately 60 acres in size and abuts the southeast corner of Downtown to the north, the East Main light rail station and Surrey Downs neighborhood to the west, Interstate 405 to the east, and Mercer Slough to the south. The goal of the LUCA is to implement the vision for the East Main area as a vibrant, livable and memorable transit-oriented neighborhood with a distinct character.

    The council directed staff to schedule a public hearing, in addition to requesting information on several components of the LUCA based on stakeholder requests.

    The full discussion can be viewed on the city’s YouTube channel. Background, including the draft LUCA, is available in the agenda materials.  

    Next council meeting on July 12 

    Due the extended holiday weekend, the council’s next virtual meeting will be on Monday, July 12.