• Council Roundup: Mid-biennium budget changes approved

    Plus, Newport Hills neighborhood park plan, CPA process amendment and Energize Eastside  

    On Monday the City Council approved recommendations for 2019-2020 budget adjustments as part of the mid-biennium review process. Mid-biennium changes are primarily technical in nature and included the adjustment of personnel costs, minor error correction and adapting to impacts from the state legislature. The changes also included modest investments in public safety, affordable housing, and development services to address demand due to growth. This year’s mid-biennium process required the council to vote on six actions. 

    Three of the ordinances voted on were fee-based, including development services fees, transportation impact fees and fire inspection fees. They all passed unanimously. 

    In order to support the budget adjustment recommendations and maintain alignment with the adopted 2019-2020 budget, councilmembers voted on an ordinance to adjust the property tax levy for 2020 by 1%, or approximately $8 for a median home valued at $936,000 in Bellevue. This ordinance passed by a vote of 6-1 (Councilmember Conrad Lee voted “no”). 

    The fifth item was a resolution to preserve the full levy amount available to Bellevue to ensure sufficient capacity for future funding needs. That motion passed unanimously. 

    The final umbrella budget ordinance formally adopted the 2019-2020 mid-biennium budget adjustments according to the recommendations and set the new budget. That ordinance also passed unanimously.    

    The full discussion and votes are available on video replay through Bellevue Television.

    Newport Hills neighborhood park plan

    Earlier, the council reviewed final site plan recommendations to develop a new neighborhood park along Southeast 60th Street in Newport Hills. 

    Multiple park plan options were reviewed by more than 150 members of the public who attended a series of three public meetings earlier this year. The city also conducted online surveys and involved the Parks & Community Services Board in site plan review. 

    The final recommended plan presented to the council included nature trails, an adventure-themed play area for children, a picnic shelter, an off-leash dog play area, restrooms and improvements to parking and access to the park via paved driveways and crosswalks.

    Councilmembers will formally name the 13.7-acre park in mid-2020 with construction expected to finish by the end of 2020. Additional documents are attached to the meeting agenda item.

    Comprehensive Plan Amendment process

    In other business, the council approved by a 4-3 vote amendments to Bellevue’s Land Use Code related to the annual Comprehensive Plan Amendment (CPA) process. 

    The code amendments require applications to be submitted by Sept.15 for consideration in the following year; prohibit applications from being proposed in a neighborhood undergoing Great Neighborhoods review; and measure the waiting period preventing re-application of failed amendments at three years, starting from when an application is submitted. 

    After council discussion about whether the waiting period should be three or two years, a motion to keep it at three years passed by a 4-3 vote (Mayor John Chelminiak, Deputy Mayor Lynne Robinson and Councilmembers Lee and Janice Zahn voted in favor; Councilmembers Jennifer Robertson, John Stokes and Jared Nieuwenhuis opposed). The ensuing vote to accept the ordinance as amended–retaining the three-year limit–also passed by the same margin.

    The full discussion is available to view online via Bellevue Television.

    Energize Eastside

    Later, the council approved by a 6-0 vote (Councilmember Robertson abstaining) an ordinance denying appeals of the hearing examiner’s decision approving Puget Sound Energy’s application for a conditional use permit for the South Bellevue Segment of the Energize Eastside Project. The Council also approved the conditional use permit.  

    Published on 12/04/2019