City Council looks at Bel-Red financial options

The City Council was briefed Monday on the potential for using developer impact fees to fund transportation and parks improvements in Bel-Red and other places in the city.

  • Monday, June 2, 2008 3:29pm
  • News

The City Council was briefed Monday on the potential for using developer impact fees to fund transportation and parks improvements in Bel-Red and other places in the city.

City staff have made several presentations on Bel-Red to the Council in recent weeks in preparation for a May 25 public hearing before the Planning Commission. Last week, possible affordable housing strategies for Bel Red were discussed.

The City Council is scheduled to vote this fall on a comprehensive new land use plan for the 900-acre area northeast of downtown that would guide its gradual transition from a light industrial area to one featuring office space and housing developments, as well as new streets and parks.

Under state law, cities can utilize impact fees providing they are planning under provisions of the Growth Management Act. However, such fees only can be used to fund such facilities as roads, schools and parks directly associated with a new development.

Even though most of Bellevue’s neighboring cities and King County presently impose park impact fees, Bellevue does not. The Washington Association of Cities estimates that at least 59 cities throughout the state currently impose such fees.

The briefing on impact fees was part of a larger discussion on a broad financial strategy for Bel Red initiated several weeks ago. Since 1990, the city has imposed an impact fee citywide to help pay for transportation needs. Last May, council members directed city staff to work with the Transportation Commission to review the program and investigate ways to simplify fee calculation methods.

City planners earlier estimated that ideally $450 million in capital investments would be funded in the Bel Red area by 2030 through a variety of sources, including the city’s general revenues, development incentives and potential impact fees.

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