Council to digest shoreline plan

Bellevue city councilmembers emphasized the importance of a strong public process Monday as they move through a series of presentations on the planning commission's update to shoreline management regulations over the next four months.

The Shoreline Master Program sets regulations within the Shoreline Overlay District in Bellevue, which includes Phantom Lake, Lower Kelsey Creek, Lake Sammamish, Lake Washington and the Mercer Slough to I-405. It is a planning and zoning ordinance governing waterfront development in Bellevue that also includes about 1,500 properties within 200 feet of these bodies of water, floodplains and wetlands.

Updating the plan — mainly unchanged since 1974 — also has been an area of focus by the Bellevue Planning Commission for more than five years, a process that was slated for completion in 2011. Monday's City Council study session laid out the progress of the planning commission, including fixes to a number of compliancy issues within the SMP's May 2013 draft following an unsolicited review by the Washington Department of Ecology, which has final say on approving the program.

The ecology department is reserving its opinion on several issues identified in a September review until after the city passes its finalized version.

With the planning commission unanimously supporting its updated regulations and restoration plan, the council now will be briefed on the contents of the SMP over the next four months, with a review of recommended policies for shoreline overlay set for April 14 and review of the cumulative impact analysis and light rail component on April 28.

Councilmember Jennifer Robertson said she supports the council schedule leading up to a public hearing and SMP approval proposed by late June or early July, but would like a public hearing to occur in May, after the public has more information, but before the end of the adoption process. Councilmember John Stokes pushed for more information to be provided to the public to ensure good feedback. Deputy Mayor Kevin Wallace said he supports no more than two public hearings.

"We still have to do our jobs, and that's going to take as long as it takes,” he said.


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