Bellevue P&Z Supports High Density Downtown Housing | Nice view

Monday March 1, 2021. Bellevue buildings. Main Street.

Amid a county-wide housing crisis, the Bellevue Planning and Zoning Commission appeared to show general support on Monday for changes to the city’s zoning laws that would allow for increased development of new multi-family dwellings or apartment buildings. ‘apartments, in the city center.

Community Development Director Diane Shay said she had worked for about six months to find a way to further facilitate housing development in the face of a severe housing shortage across the valley, settling on a project neighborhood block of multiple housing units in the downtown core along Main Street between Cedar and Chestnut Streets, running the length of the original subdivision.

The proposed Business Core Residential Overlay District would allow an unlimited number of housing units per acre, provided that adequate on-site parking, snow storage, landscaping and at least 10% usable open space are available. included. The units can measure up to 550 square feet.

The proposed business core residential overlay district would include properties in the business, limited business and transitional residential areas.

“I’m all for it,” said P&Z commissioner Ray McCollum. “I think we can make it work.”

The P&Z Commission agreed on Monday to require a wall or other buffer between buildings “as needed” and eliminated the open space requirement, as well as the need for landscaping.

“I don’t think you need any landscaping in there,” said P&Z commissioner Robert Wiesen.

P&Z President John Kurtz asked why staff hadn’t spread the proposed pavement all along Main Street on the west side.

“No significant reason,” Shay said, adding that his intention was to revitalize Main Street and keep it “within walking distance”. There was a conversation about improving sidewalks as part of the proposed neighborhood.

Ketchum resident John Sofro, who owns property on Main Street north of the proposed overlay boundary, said the city could use funding from the city renewal agency to develop areas in the downtown area. around the accommodation.

“Thanks for even thinking about that,” Sofro said.

The current zoning in Bellevue allows for maximum housing density in the general residential area of ​​a duplex on a 6,000 square foot lot, provided the property is developed by the ARCH Housing Trust, Habitat for Humanity or another agency. housing. The changes discussed Monday would eliminate the housing agency’s requirement and the restriction of one unit per 3,000 square feet.

The proposed changes to the business zone include the authorization of housing units in a mixed-use building as long as the building contained an “licensed and continuously operated business”.

Bellevue resident Tom Blanchard asked how the town would limit units to people who “work in the valley”. And Kurtz asked Shay to investigate the possibility of restricting the use of short-term rentals in new developments in the proposed neighborhood, to ensure they provide long-term rental housing.

Shay said the city does not have a short-term rental, but “will look into the matter.”

A public hearing on the proposed changes to the city code will take place on August 16 at 6 p.m.