Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Not a smart bet

The city of Bellevue’s decision to reject a small zoning change to allow Mountain Rides to store buses, repair them and operate an office and commuter transit center in Bellevue is confounding.

The Planning and Zoning Commission placed a when-pigs-fly bet that something better than Mountain Rides will come along some day to occupy a two-story building and three-acre site formerly occupied by a landscaping company. The P&Z also objected to Mountain Rides’ request to be relieved of $4,000 of property taxes annually.

The City Council didn’t vote, but gave its tacit approval by not reviewing the P&Z decision that sent Mountain Rides packing.

For decades, other Bellevue leaders proudly described the city as a light-industrial center whose residents are skilled in building and fixing things and who are not afraid to work hard and get their hands dirty. The P&Z’s insistence that the site would be better suited for a retail operation or another landscaping company flies in the face of those descriptions—not to mention economic realities.

Unlike its southern sister, Hailey is wisely looking to welcome a bus facility. While Bellevue goes on hoping pigs will fly in a still sketchy economy, Hailey is signaling that it wants its residents to have convenient, safe and affordable rides to work and to the attractions of the north. That’s smart planning.

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