Bellevue City Council considers Seattle’s approach to affordable housing

Could adopt new amendment to multifamily tax exemption by Feb. 5.

On Monday night, the Bellevue City Council was briefed on possible changes to Bellevue’s Multifamily Tax Exemption (MFTE) program. The proposal, aimed at encouraging greater participation in the affordable housing program, would change the affordability level for MFTE participating developments in the downtown to 20 percent of the units being affordable to families making 70 percent of the median income in King County. The council could adopt the new amendment as early as Feb. 5.

Monday’s discussion is a follow-up to a Nov. 13 study session. At that meeting, council members directed staff to analyze Seattle’s graduated approach to the MFTE and expressed interest in encouraging more two-bedroom units. Based on that research, in addition to feedback gathered from local developers and a financial feasibility analysis, an updated proposal was crafted.

Developments that participate in the MFTE program are allowed a 12-year tax exemption on residential improvements. Bellevue’s MFTE program currently designates five residential target areas for new multifamily rental housing.

More information on the program and the proposed changes can be found in the council packet materials at

eCityGov Alliance updated agreement

During Monday’s meeting, Bellevue Council members were briefed on an updated interlocal agreement (ILA) for the eCityGov Alliance. Bellevue is a founding member of the now six-city-strong alliance, which seeks to provide convenient and consistent web-based services for the public. Current products include My Building Permit, GovJobs Today and NWProperties.

The proposed changes in the ILA would streamline the alliance’s governing structure. The goal is to better serve member agencies by giving greater flexibility to the organization’s executive board. One change, for instance, would give the board greater latitude to choose which program to invest in, via supermajority vote.

During the discussion, council members expressed enthusiasm with Bellevue’s continued participation. Moving forward, members’ city councils are required to ratify the updated ILA before it becomes effective. The council is expected to take action in early February.

Additional background can be found in the council packet materials.