Council Roundup: Work on Downtown Livability Initiative continues

Council Roundup: Work on Downtown Livability Initiative continues
Posted on 09/07/2017
Wide angle view of downtown

The City Council, back from the summer recess, took another extended look into the Downtown Livability Initiative. Tuesday evening’s meeting marked the fourth in a series of study session discussions on the project; the first comprehensive update to the downtown Land Use Code since 1981.

Councilmembers were briefed and provided feedback on three key components of the code package:

  • Tower setback between projects. The council considered whether to keep the Planning Commission’s recommendation for a 20-foot tower setback from internal property lines. Options were also presented by staff that increased the minimum tower setback from adjoining properties to 30 feet.

  • Floor plate reductions when buildings exceed trigger heights. To allow for taller, more slender towers, recommendations offered included a 10 percent floor reduction for non-residential development in the DT-MU districts. A 15 percent reduction was considered for DT-O-1 and DT-O-2 developments with 20,400 square feet floor plates above the trigger height.

  • Downtown Office Limited Business District density and design. Councilmembers reviewed massing studies to assess potential downtown development between 112th Avenue Northeast and Interstate 405 between Main Street and Northeast Eighth Street. The studies were based on the Planning Commission’s recommendations for building height, density and floor plate sizes.

The council is slated to review a handful of remaining issues on Sept. 18. Adoption of the full Downtown Code update could take place as early as Oct. 2. 

Creative Edge program

Later the council was given a general progress report on “Creative Edge,” a new initiative aimed at leveraging Bellevue’s artistic, cultural and creative strengths, also referred to as the “creative economy.” The idea is to develop a strategy that uses the arts to create economic and aesthetic value for the city. Cities have increasingly recognized the value of the arts in creating attractive communities where people want to live and work.

The project is currently in the strategy development phase. The city will host a Creative Edge workshop for arts, businesses and civic leaders on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at City Hall.

Councilmembers voiced enthusiasm for the project and said they looked forward to hearing more as work continues. A full overview of the project will be given to the council in October.

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