Published November 16 2022
Plus, additional affordable housing tools introduced, annual Comprehensive Plan Amendments move ahead and Wintergrass commendation
On Monday, the City Council had a chance to propose amendments and ask final questions related to the city manager’s 2023-2024 preliminary operating budget and 2023-2029 Capital Investment Program (CIP) Plan after receiving hundreds of comments from community members on preferred priorities.
The council passed amendments to the budget including a one-time funding of $85,000 for arts in 2023 to come from the CIP arts and culture fund to the General Fund, as well as front loading investments in Vision Zero work in the CIP to equal $500,000 in each 2023 and 2024, with an intention of reevaluating the investment at the next budget cycle.
Amendments that did not pass included a proposal to delay allocating funding for a police transit unit in anticipation of light rail service starting in 2024 and a proposal to allocate an additional $1.4 million for people experiencing behavioral health crises, specifically to pilot a community-responder program.
The full discussion and proposal details are available on Bellevue Television replay. The council is expected to take final action on the budget, possibly adopting it, at the Nov. 21 council meeting.
Additional affordable housing tools introduced
Councilmembers also received a briefing on affordable housing tools that may be options for utilization in the future.
The presentation provided an overview of general affordable housing tools in advance of future Council consideration of specific planning efforts and code amendments, including the Next Right Work items, which are affordable housing actions taking place in the next 12-18 months.
There are a variety of inclusionary zoning tools that can tie upzoning – changes to city code designed to allow new capacity for development – with the creation of affordable housing in new development. This includes an option for a commercial fee-in-lieu, by which developers of commercial upzoned properties could make payments to go towards affordable housing. Councilmembers asked a variety of questions about inclusionary zoning and commercial fee-in-lieu for follow up in the future as the council continues to look at how to improve affordable housing opportunities throughout Bellevue.
Councilmembers asked a variety of questions about inclusionary zoning and commercial fee-in-lieu for follow up in the future as the council continues to look at how to improve affordable housing opportunities throughout Bellevue.
More detail is available in the meeting materials.
Annual Comprehensive Plan Amendments move ahead
In other business, the council voted unanimously to move forward with the Annual Comprehensive Plan Amendments (CPAs) related to the city’s Curb Management Plan and the Affordable Housing Action C-1 Phase 2 work to increase allowable density on certain properties owned by religious organizations to encourage development of affordable housing.
The first of the two 2022 CPAs aims to establish a comprehensive approach to curb management while creating alignment with the forthcoming Curb Management Plan. The second would add policies to support increasing opportunities for affordable housing on certain qualifying properties in single-family districts owned by religious organizations.
The council voted unanimously to have city staff bring back final ordinances for a vote to adopt both the 2022 Annual Comprehensive Plan Amendments as recommended by the Planning Commission, including minor modifications recommended by city staff for the curb management policies. More detail on the CPAs can be found in the meeting materials.
The next steps following adoption include development of the Curb Management Plan, and work on C-1 Phase 2 Land Use Code Amendments. Both initiatives will include further public engagement and program development details related to implementation.
Wintergrass recognized with commendation
The mayor and City Council presented a commendation for the Wintergrass music festival, which recently won two awards from the Washington Festivals and Events Association. The four-day music festival held in Bellevue each spring received the award for Central Puget Sound Event of the Year and the Statewide Event of the Year.
The commendation recognized the significant cultural and economic benefit the festival brings to the city and the ways community partners join together to ensure equitable access to this unique experience, especially for youth in the community. Wintergrass 2023 will be held Feb. 23-26.