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Published on May 27, 2024
Bellevue City Council Advances Land Use Amendments for Enhanced Tree PreservationSource: City of Bellevue

tomorrow night saw the City Council move to bolster Bellevue's environmental efforts, advancing talks on amendments to the land use code with an eye on updating tree preservation tactics. According to a release, the aim is to increase the tree canopy coverage to 40%, a goal etched into the city's Environmental Stewardship Plan. Developers might soon have to either retain more trees or plant new ones, banking "tree credits" in the process.

The proposed code changes, said to be the result of a thorough review by staff since 2023, go beyond mere preservation. In a comprehensive overhaul, they are built to include new rules related to non-development-related tree removal and penalties for violations. Further updates to these measures are expected to be laid out in a forthcoming meeting. The City Council has prompted staff to get these amendments ready for a final thumbs-up soon, with the discussions available for replay on Bellevue Television.

Bellevue's housing and human services programs were also under the spotlight. There's a new beacon of hope for residents living in their vehicles through the Safe Parking Pilot Program. Since its opening in late April, the program, run by the local agency 4 Tomorrow, has efficiently shuttled half a dozen families into secure parking lot spaces, providing them with vital services aimed to steer them toward stable housing. "The program is open to people whose sole residence is currently their vehicle, with preference given to families with children," detailed the city update.

The city's heart for the homeless doesn't stop there. Updates on the Eastgate housing campus revealed a joint venture aiming to bind the divide between affordable housing and homeless shelters. Polaris at Eastgate has been offering wallet-friendly homes since March and expects another wave of residents by June. Simultaneously, Porchlight's men's shelter has been operating at full capacity, aiding over 450 men since last year. "The site also includes the permanent location for the Porchlight men's shelter," the council was briefed.

Economic development remained a focus as well, with the council getting briefed on joblessness rates, bustling office spaces in central business districts, and soaring tourism numbers. With the FIFA Soccer World Cup on the horizon, Bellevue is aligning its ducks, striving to synergize with regional partners to ensure the city's infrastructure can handle the anticipated influx of visitors. Furthermore, efforts to cultivate and maintain vibrant business districts received unanimous council approval.