Council roundup: City moves to deny EBCC appeals funding

The Bellevue City Council voted 4-2 Monday night to put a resolution on next week’s agenda denying funding for East Bellevue Community Council.

The East Bellevue Community Council, represented by Chair Bill Capron, asked the City Council to provide legal funding to appeal a ruling in the King County Court of Appeals.

The Community Council is challenging the ruling on a Puget Sound Energy project focused on elevated high voltage transmission lines on a route through its jurisdiction.

The Community Council initially won the case, denying the project through its territory, only to subsequently lose it on appeal.

Capron asked the council to consider granting the legal funding, which would take the case to the Washington State Supreme Court if that court chose to accept the case. The Community Council is asking for $7,000 for the initial appeal and an additional $20,000 should the Supreme Court accept the case for review.

There were varied concerns on the City Council about granting the money, with Deputy Mayor Chelminiak noting that the interests of the city and the interests of the Community Council were actually opposed.

“An appeals court said there was virtually no merit in the Community Council’s decision,” he said. “It doesn’t mean I like it, or I think it was the best decision, but it does mean the law was followed.”

A hearing examiner and subsequently the City Council approved the shoreline conditional-use permit for the Puget Sound Energy project, only to have that permit denied by the Community Council, prompting the suit.

Councilmember Jennifer Robertson said she supported at least the initial $7,000 funding, as she said the Puget Sound Energy project would effect more than just the residents within the Community Council’s jurisdiction.

The city’s legal counsel said the likelihood of the state Supreme Court accepting a case of this nature on a civil matter was unlikely.

The council will vote on a resolution to deny the funding at the Feb. 21 City Council meeting. If the council were to deny that funding, the legal representation’s fees would fall to the East Bellevue Community Council.

Robertson and Councilmember Conrad Lee voted in opposition to the resolution.

In other council news:

• The council voted unanimously to appoint Sanjay Kumar to the city’s Environmental Services Commission, a seven-person advisory group on utilities-related topics. He will serve in Position 2, set to expire in 2019.

• The council voted unanimously on a consent item granting the Richards Road Inlet Replacement project to Kar-Vel Construction for the amount of $562,690.93.

* A previous version of this story said that the Bellevue Planning Commission initially approved the land-use permit. It was a hearing examiner which approved the permit, as the Planning Commission has no role in approving or denying permits. The Reporter regrets the error.