• Council Roundup: Flood plain code updates

    Published June 17 2020

    Plus, council pledge discussed and Vision Zero approach adopted

    The City Council Monday was asked to initiate a Land Use Code Amendment (LUCA) to conform the city’s regulations for frequently flooded areas to current federal and state standards, and to adopt the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) updated countywide Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) and Flood Insurance Study (FIS). FEMA published an update to its FIRMs and FIS this past February. The city is required to adopt this recommended LUCA by August 19 to continue participation in the National Flood Insurance Program.

    The amendments are designed to minimize or eliminate flood damage, and to prevent development activity that increases flood risk to neighbors in these flood-prone areas. The necessary amendments to the Land Use Code include updated definitions for consistency with terms used in current national regulations for frequently flooded areas, updates to performance standards, including requirements that new utilities built in these flood-prone areas be flood proof, and amendments to variance standards and city procedures, including submittal documents.

    Further council discussion and public hearings on this topic will take place in July and August before a final council decision on the amendments. The presentation is available in the agenda item and the discussion replay can be viewed on Bellevue Television.

    City Council pledge

    City Manager Brad Miyake previewed next steps after Mayor Lynne Robinson signed a pledge on behalf of the council June 11 committing to a new review of public safety practices. 

    The pledge commits the city to taking the following actions: 

    1.    Review - police use of force policies.
    2.    Engage - the community by including a diverse range of input, experiences and stories in the review.
    3.    Report - the findings of the review to the community and seek feedback.
    4.    Reform - police use of force policies.

    “Bellevue’s culture of continuous improvement makes it possible to take this pledge,” Miyake said at the meeting. “Make no mistake we take this work very seriously and we are taking meaningful actions to acknowledge and address historical wrongs in our country and local community while also strengthening the important diversity work that Bellevue is doing.”

    Miyake stressed that Bellevue is not starting from square one in this work, noting the city formally adopted a 60-point Diversity Advantage Initiative in 2014, which includes a section pertaining to public safety practices. 

    The city manager will work with staff to develop an action plan within the pledge guidelines and come back to the council with specific actions and commitments based on the pledge components and community outreach findings.

    Approach for Vision Zero work adopted

    Also on Monday, the council adopted a resolution that clarifies the city’s approach to Vision Zero, an effort to eliminate traffic deaths and serious injuries on Bellevue streets by 2030. 

    The safe systems approach and strategies include four components – speeds, people, vehicles and streets – with four supporting elements: data, leadership, partnerships and culture. It’s a broad-based effort that includes everyone, recognizing that creating safe systems is a shared responsibility. 

    For the next step, a steering team comprised of staff from several city departments will finalize an action plan to guide the Vision Zero work. 

    Vision Zero, first adopted by the council in 2015, is important. In 2019, there were 1,354 reported collisions in Bellevue, resulting in 502 injuries, 25 of which were considered serious, and five people were killed. 

    More information is available with the council background materials and on the Vision Zero web page