Bellevue Council endorses
plan to raise city fees
advances new city parking plan
By GREGORY FOLEY
Express Staff Writer
Bellevue City Council members Thursday voted to
advance two pieces of new legislation, including one proposal to raise numerous
Council members by a narrow 3-2 vote tentatively
approved a set of revised fees for city services, and scheduled a public hearing
on the proposal for March 13.
Councilman Jon Wilkes was absent from the meeting.
Also by a 3-2 vote, the panel tentatively approved
a set of changes to the city’s parking ordinance to generally relax the
parking-space requirements for developments in the city. The changes will be
drafted into a new ordinance that is tentatively scheduled for consideration by
council members on Thursday, Jan. 23.
Councilmen Parke Mitchell and Wayne Douthit opposed
advancing either of the measures without additional research and review by city
However, council members Dale Shappee, Tammy
Schofield and Jon Anderson agreed that both proposals—which have been repeatedly
reviewed by the council and Planning and Zoning Commission—should be prepared
for a final vote.
"At some point, we can’t micro-manage everything,"
The proposed revisions to city fees were put forth
by the P&Z last year. The plan generally proposes to raise by a small percentage
most fees for city services, permits and licenses.
The plan proposes to increase monthly sewer-service
rates from $17.75 to $18.90, but also calls for monthly water-service rates to
be lowered from $15.75 to $15.
Under the plan, water tap fees would be increased,
as would capitalization fees for new developments.
Council members will likely be asked to make a
final determination on whether to adopt the new fees at the March 13 public
The proposal to revise the city’s parking ordinance
was put forth by the Bellevue P&Z after Mayor John Barton and a contingent of
prospective developers complained that the city’s requirements for parking
spaces in business-zoned areas were too stringent.
The amendments to the parking ordinance propose to
lower the number of on-site parking spaces some businesses would be required to
keep, and would stipulate new requirements for many types of businesses for
which there are no parking requirement provisions in the existing ordinance.
The draft revisions include proposals to relax the
requirements for retail stores, restaurants and light industrial-zoned
In addition, the amendments seek to better define
the parking requirements for all types of residential units in the city.
Barton last year repeatedly said he thinks the
city’s strict requirements for small businesses discourage new business owners
from taking over vacant commercial properties in the city’s downtown core, and
might also discourage new construction of retail or light-industrial business
Barton on Thursday said he wants to bring the
city’s regulations "more in line" with other cities in the Wood River Valley,
which typically are less restrictive.
Councilman Mitchell said Thursday that he favors a
plan to entirely eliminate parking regulations for developments and businesses
in the city’s downtown core.
"You drive up and you park, and that’s it," he
said. "I’m proposing to scrap the parking ordinance in the downtown part of the
The majority of the panel agreed with Barton and
P&Z Administrator Steve Almquist that by relaxing the existing regulations the
city would be able to promote new businesses in the downtown core while ensuring
that there is no shortage of parking in the future.