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Residents concerned with draft plan for Bellevue waterfront park
Plans for a new waterfront park at Meydenbauer Bay have been three years in the making, but some residents are unhappy with how the process is coming to a head.
The city's goal is to create a 10-acre park with sweeping views of the bay and nearly a quarter mile of shoreline.
The most controversial proposals in the draft plan would:
• Close 100th Avenue Southeast and transform the strip into a pedestrian area with viewing terraces and stairways leading to the shoreline.
• Eliminate moorage at Bellevue Marina to open up shoreline and views of the bay
• Build an elevated pier to provide new views of Lake Washington
• Create an 8,000-square-foot events center
• Up-zone surrounding neighborhoods
• Allow vendors in the park
The Meydenbauer Bay Neighbors Association has expressed strong opposition to those ideas from the start, but a steering committee still approved the concepts for the draft master plan.
Now the plan goes to the Bellevue Parks Board, and then to the City Council for review and adoption this spring.
Marvin Peterson, a member of the Meydenbauer Bay group, says the city needs to take a time out.
"The planners have done nothing but stick 100 percent to what they want to do," he said. "We're very much for a park, but we don't want the fast-track shoved down our throats. We want this process done properly."
Bellevue community-development manager Mark Bergstrom says the amount of planning and discussion has been adequate.
"It's been a three-year process," he said. "When we first started, the thought was that it would be one year, so it's not been fast-tracked by any means."
The Meydenbauer Bay group advocates keeping 100th Avenue Southeast open to preserve a traffic shortcut that relieves pressure from Main Street. The group also says the proposed events center would be an imposing structure on what should be a tranquil park setting.
As for moorage, the city owns 112 slips. The draft master plan calls for that number to be cut by as much as half, with 14 transient slips and between 38 to 48 leasable slips available in the new park.
Critics of the plan say it would be a mistake to get rid of moorage because it is increasingly rare and can be a revenue-generator for they city.
The Meydenbauer Bay group also questions the logic of up-zoning neighborhoods that surround the park when the city has already exceeded its growth-management goals.
Finally, residents of the 10000 Meydenbauer Way condominium complex fear that the proposed elevated pier would become a towering eyesore that blocks their views of the water.
Peterson said he hopes the new council majority, with its conservative bent on planning and spending, will heed the concerns of his group.
The steering committee that approved the draft master plan was comprised of residents selected by the previous council.