Council Roundup: Planning for development

Plus, meeting protocols for council, boards and commissions

On Monday, the City Council received an update on the 2022-2023 Community Development and Development Services Land Use Planning Initiative (LUPI) workplan. The workplan is utilized by both departments to guide city planning efforts that are foundational to directing growth and change over time.  

The LUPI framework provides a standardized, timely and reliable approach through a coordinated workplan. Examples of tangible results delivered through the 2021 workplan include accomplishments such as the East Main code amendments, Grand Connection Design Guidelines, Multifamily Tax Exemption (MFTE) program code amendment, removal of the 3-year accessory dwelling unit restriction and many more.  

The 2022-2023 LUPI workplan responds to the needs presented by the current record-setting development cycle that has extended over eight consecutive years and continues into 2022 with four key areas of focus: housing options and affordability, equity and inclusion, maintaining economic innovation and sustainability.  

A separate presentation from Development Services staff provided additional information on the high level of development activity throughout the city with an overview of major projects, performance data and customer feedback. Also, the council was asked to authorize 12 additional full-time staff positions to help Development Services keep pace with the record-setting level of development. 

The council unanimously approved the motion for legislation authorizing additional staff positions on the consent calendar at a future meeting. The full presentation and further details are available in the meeting materials for joint land use planning and Development Services update.  

Meeting protocols for council, boards and commissions

Later, the council voted on changes to the city’s rules regarding remote participation and agenda format for meetings of the City Council as well as boards and commissions.

The Bellevue City Council has been holding its public meetings remotely since April 2020. Due to the COVID-19 emergency, in March 2020, Governor Jay Inslee issued an emergency proclamation related to the Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA), prohibiting in-person meetings and requiring that the public be allowed to participate in meetings remotely. Gov. Inslee subsequently amended the emergency proclamation to allow in-person meetings as long as there is also an option for remote participation by the public. The OPMA provisions will be in effect until the state of emergency is lifted or until the proclamation is amended or rescinded. The city plans to return to in-person City Council meetings on April 18 and expects to conduct hybrid meetings going forward that would allow both in-person and remote participation by the public. 

The council voted in favor of boards and commissions allowing remote participation for up to three members at a time, within the bounds of the state’s Open Public Meetings Act and other laws, and to reassess its decision in a year. 

The council also voted to maintain the “one agenda” meeting format for council meetings that has been used during the pandemic. Prior to that, the council alternated each week between Regular Sessions combined with shorter Study Sessions on the first and third Mondays of the month and Extended Study Sessions on the second and fourth Mondays. Only the Regular Session meetings were held in Council Chambers. 

Having one agenda titled Regular Meeting for all sessions allows for any item to be added to the agenda on any Monday and also provides a consistent public comment time at each meeting. All meetings would also be consistently held in Council Chambers. 

The council voted unanimously to prepare legislation for adopting the “one agenda” format for meetings going forward and to reassess the decision in one year. The full discussion is available on Bellevue Television replay.

Source: City News