in new document
City works to
will have no more developable lots in another four years. We will be a
Planning and Zoning Administrator
Express Staff Writer
City Council members next week will consider approving an updated
Comprehensive Plan designed to be the guiding land-use document for city
officials in years to come.
members are scheduled to review a working draft of the document on
Thursday, Sept. 12, at 7 p.m. in Bellevue City Hall, and may decide on
whether to endorse the plan and an associated land-use map.
approved, the plan would then be presented for final adoption by the
council through a formal resolution on Thursday, Sept. 26.
plan received general support from most council members during a
discussion Aug. 22 about its readiness for adoption.
get this done," Councilman Parke Mitchell said, presiding over the
meeting for Mayor John Barton, who was absent.
introducing the document, Bellevue Planning and Zoning Administrator
Steve Almquist said the most important conclusion the plan makes is that
all remaining open parcels in Bellevue will likely be developed by 2006.
will have no more developable lots in another four years," Almquist
said. "We will be a built-out town."
the proposed Comprehensive Plan aims to give city officials a document
to guide future decisions on land-use issues. The document outlines a
series of guiding policies for the city to follow, as well as suggested
actions to implement the plan and its overall goals.
itself states that it will "serve as a guide for local
decision-makers to use to assure that decisions are made in the best
interests of the community."
chapters of the draft plan state that:
population of Bellevue is growing slowly but steadily. At the beginning
of 2002, the population of the city was 1,980, a number that is
projected to rise to 4,684 by 2020.
city’s projected growth rate of 4.9 percent is expected to coincide
with an increase in residential development that will cause "all
available residential-zoned land within the Bellevue city limits being
built out by the year 2006."
1993 to 2002, the average cost of a house in Bellevue increased
approximately 8 to 10 percent per year.
Bellevue has less than 190 undeveloped lots in the city limits. However,
an estimated 25 to 30 new lots could be created through the subdivision
of undeveloped parcels.
number of building permits issued by the city has been increasingly
steadily since a drop in 1998. The city issued 34 building permits in
city’s sewer system is capable of handling increased loads caused by
future growth, but may be of better service if its capacity is
increased. The plan recommends the city upgrade its water-distribution
for the city outlined in the plan include:
Maintaining a "healthy and stable economy through managed growth
while providing for Bellevue’s diverse population."
Encouraging affordable housing and protecting property values "by
improving the quality of existing housing and neighborhoods."
citizens’ fundamental land-use rights.
Maintaining the city’s historic, small-town, rural atmosphere.
to preserve open space around wetlands and in areas next to the Big Wood
River, as well as in the mostly undeveloped canyons east of town.
Promoting the conservation and "efficient management" of so
called "special areas," such as the Big Wood River, Wood River
Trail System, Slaughterhouse Canyon and Seamons Canyon.
Jon Wilkes said he wanted the new plan—which has been worked on by
city officials for approximately two years—to move forward without
further delay. "I need to know how long we are going to just sit
here and go nowhere," he said.
most council members were supportive of the draft document, the plan
upon its presentation to the council Aug. 22 did draw a series of
objections from Councilman Wayne Douthit.
early in the discussion presented a motion to the panel to table any
discussion of the plan until the council’s meeting Sept. 12, but the
motion failed by a 3-1 margin.
later alleged that Mayor Barton and Planning and Zoning Administrator
Almquist may have cooperated to ensure that an approximately 14-acre
parcel south of downtown be reserved as open space, and that former
Planning and Zoning Commissioner Mike Choate may have had a
"conflict of interest" in the matter.
essence, Douthit was concerned that the so-called "Howard
Property" was designated on the proposed land-use map as a
preferred site for open-space or recreation-use status.
assured Douthit that the city had not illegitimately discouraged
development on the site.
Tammy Schofield noted that the council earlier this summer had
determined that the site should be preserved as open space. "We
decided as a council that there was no development going down
there," she said.
remained concerned about the proposed map. "I don’t think that
any private property should be considered greenbelt, because any private
property is developable," he said, hesitant to elaborate on his
objections because Barton was absent from the meeting.
Attorney Jim Phillips told Douthit and the panel that zoning
designations determine how land can be developed, not the city’s
pending land-use map.