Without Comprehensive Plan clarification, Bellevue will continue to clutter our streets with overhead electrical and communication lines. This also results in continual loss of tree canopy and decimates the aesthetics of Bellevue’s street design. Reliability is also improved by new technology under-grounding.
The Washington State Court of Appeals recently gave the green light for Puget Sound Energy’s proposal to cut 300 trees and install 80-foot power poles in East Bellevue along Northeast 8th Street and several miles of 148th Avenue. The court determined that this was compatible with Bellevue’s Comprehensive Plan. They stated that the plan “does not specifically bar overhead electrical lines on 148th Avenue.” Furthermore, the plan does not designate 148th Avenue as an urban boulevard requiring underground utilities.
The implications of this ruling are truly frightening for our Bellevue residents. Remember that 148th Avenue was originally designed and purposely built with underground utilities by a visionary City Council and residents. If that vision can be violated simply because it isn’t specifically protected in the Comprehensive Plan, then every street in our city is vulnerable to expanding overhead lines.
Our neighborhoods are watching and willing to work with the city to come up with a better plan for our future vision.
Bridle Trails, Coalition of Eastside Neighborhoods for Sensible Power Board member