Developer Jeff Pfaeffle got the go-ahead from the Bellevue City Council on Thursday night to build 170 homes in Slaughterhouse Canyon northeast of town. The four-year process brought to light many issues pertaining to future growth in the city.
The council's unanimous vote to support an annexation agreement was followed by a round of applause by council members, the developer and his representatives.
"It's a little anti-climactic," said Pfaeffle, who thanked city staff for their hard work in putting the annexation deal together. "This will show people that the city of Bellevue is willing to work with them."
After four years of reviewing studies on the potential impacts of Pfaeffle's plans on the city, the council voted to bring 100 acres of his property, now part of Blaine County, into the city limits. About half those acres and additional property within Bellevue city limits will be used for the proposed Strahorn subdivision.
The developer spent $378,305 in consultation and administration fees associated with the annexation proposal. In addition, he will pay the city $5,146,300 in cash, property and city infrastructure improvements in exchange for hooking up to city services. The payments will come to the city when final build-out occurs, which could take many years.
"Bellevue hasn't completed an annexation of this size in a long time,' said City Administrator Tom Blanchard. "Simpler ones could go more quickly."
Blanchard said the annexation request resulted in the city's first capital improvement plan and transportation master plan, and clarified water rights issues for the city. He said surveys of unbuilt lots and information gathered on demographics in the city will be valuable as the city plans for the future.
"The developer paid for all of this as part of the annexation request," Blanchard said. "The city has already benefited enormously from this."
Planned infrastructure improvements associated with the Strahorn development include spending on parking spaces, fencing, and ball park improvements at O'Donnell Park, city street improvements and a portion of the city's share to build a stoplight required to accommodate increased traffic associated with the development.
Those improvements will cost the developer about $1 million.
Under the annexation agreement, Pfaeffle will give the city $500,000 in five years, or when he begins Phase 1 of the development. He will then pay the city $250,000 every five years, or at whatever time he begins each of the consecutive three phases.
Pfaeffle's engineer, Mike Choat, said Thursday that the development is not likely to break ground on infrastructure improvement for at least two years.
"This took a long time," Pfaeffle said. "But that is OK, because the time was spent in putting together a deal that is good for everyone."