Agreement keeps light rail on track | Editorial
February 28, 2013 · Updated 3:13 PM
It’s not often that two government entities, wrestling over a billion-dollar project, forge a plan that works for all. It just happened in Bellevue.
The City of Bellevue and Sound Transit have come to an agreement on many of the issues involving the light-rail line that will run through the city. Such things as setbacks from property lines; how the permitting process will work; design guidelines.
Perhaps the best part is this: even the residents whose property butts up against the light rail line like the deal Like all good compromises, everyone got what they really wanted.
Key for Bellevue was protection for homeowners, some of whom feared that the light rail route would run right up against their property line – or even across it. The agreement now means that Sound Transit will maintain a 60-foot setback from properties and – equally good – plant and maintain a 30-foot buffer. Homeowners will get to look at trees instead of light-rail cars. Sound barriers also will be installed as warranted.
For Sound Transit, the agreement lets it apply for permits after beginning the property appraisal process and not having to wait until condemnation had been initiated. The difference lets Sound Transit keep to its schedule.
Things like this agreement don’t come easy. In fact, many would have bet the two sides wouldn’t or couldn’t reach an agreement.
But thanks to a long weekend of back-and-forth negotiations between Bellevue City Councilmember Kevin Wallace and Ron Lewis, Deputy Executive Director for Link Light Rail, an understanding took shape.
There’s still major decisions yet to be made. Sound Transit needs to finalize the actual route. And the City Council needs to OK it.
But the agreement is more than a good start. It shows the light rail in Bellevue is back on track.
– Craig Groshart, Bellevue Reporter