Council passes emergency ordinance on shelter land use code

The Bellevue City Council unanimously approved an emergency ordinance that amended the land use code for homeless shelters on Monday.

Effective citywide, Ordinance No. 6368 requires those who apply for the development of a homeless shelter to to go through the conditional use permiting process, which provides more transparency.

The ordinance also seperates a homeless shelter use from the hotel/motel use and provides clarity in the permitting process for the short-term while permanent citywide regulations are prepared.

Shelters will still be allowed in zones where hotels and motels are permitted, the ordinance states. Those zones are dispersed throughout the Downtown Bellevue, Factoria and BelRed areas.

The emergency ordinance will be in effect for six months with the option to extend it another six months. However, a public hearing is required to be held within 60 days of its adoption.

A proposal for the Eastside Men’s Shelter drew backlash from residents with more than 2,800 having signed a petition against the shelter in April. They cited increased crime as their No. 1 concern.

Establishing a permanent Eastside shelter is a 2016-17 City Council Vision Priority. The project is proposed in partnership with King County, the coordinator of regional funds for homelessness and affordable housing; Congregations for the Homeless, the operator of the shelter and day center; and Imagine Housing, the service provider and developer of the supportive housing component.