Friday, September 16, 2005

Bellevue P&Z administrator departs

Search for new administrator for busy department is already underway

Express Staff Writer

The city of Bellevue is looking for a successor to Planning and Zoning Department administrator Jackie Crego, who leaves the department today.

Having taken a job in the private sector, Crego leaves at a time when the number of applications for building permits is on the rise.

"Jackie's stepping out is leaving a big hole," City Administrator Tom Blanchard said. "We can't afford to be without that position. That's a really busy department right now."

He said the city is advertising extensively.

"We're looking for quality candidates looking for a challenge," he said.

For the past year and half, Crego has confronted many growth-related issues. Blanchard praised her for having brought a much-needed professionalism to the busy department.

"She just brought a greater awareness about how P&Z should be run," he said.

When Crego came to the P&Z a year and a half ago, the department was understaffed and unorganized. Before her arrival, the city used contract services to handle P&Z-related matters.

The number of building permit applications being processed in Bellevue is one indicator of how busy things have become. During Bellevue's current fiscal year, which ends Sept. 31, the city has already received 66 building permit applications. In 2004, Bellevue received 57 building permit applications. Back in 2000, it received just 42.

"You'd think it (the number of applications) would run into a stopping point," Crego said.

Bellevue's current growth spurt has highlighted several obvious issues in need of attention. Crego said a less-than-adequate sewer treatment facility and lack of a way to regulate large-scale commercial developments are the most pressing ones.

In November, Bellevue voters will decide if a proposed revenue bond to finance construction of a new city wastewater treatment facility should be approved.

The city is also under a six-month building moratorium enacted after Crego and other city officials realized that Bellevue's zoning ordinance currently does little to regulate the size and design of large, "big-box-style" retailers. The moratorium was enacted to allow the city time to create a large-scale development ordinance, Crego said.

"We have this moratorium to kind of play catch-up," she said.

Of Bellevue's future, though, one thing remains clear, Crego said: "We will grow. It's inevitable."

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