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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of Oct 30 - Nov 5, 2002


Bellevue eyes changes to parking ordinance

Public hearing set for Dec. 12

Express Staff Writer

Bellevue City Council members Thursday gave preliminary approval to a plan to amend the city’s parking regulations.

In a 5-0 vote with Councilman Wayne Douthit absent, the panel endorsed a lengthy set of revisions to the city’s parking ordinance that were put forth last month by the city Planning and Zoning Commission.

In offering their tentative support, council members scheduled a public hearing for their meeting Thursday, Dec. 12, to consider formally adopting the changes.

"I think that it serves the city of Bellevue well at this time," Commissioner Tammy Schofield said.

Bellevue P&Z commissioners and P&Z Administrator Steve Almquist sought changes to the ordinance after Mayor John Barton and a contingent of business owners complained that the city’s requirements for parking spaces in business-zoned areas were generally too stringent.

The P&Z in September proposed numerous changes after comparing the city’s standards to those of Hailey, which are considerably more liberal.

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.

Specifically, the draft revisions include proposals to:

  • Relax the requirements for retail stores from one space per 250 square feet of floor area to one space per 500 square feet of net floor area used by customers or patrons, plus one space for every 750 square feet of net storage area.

  • Amend the requirements of restaurants, taverns and nightclubs from one space per 200 square feet of floor area to one space for each 250 square feet of net floor space used by patrons, plus one space per employee.

  • Change the requirements for General Light Industrial-zoned businesses from one space per 300 square feet of net floor area plus one for each 500 square feet of storage to one space for every 600 square feet of net floor area plus one for every 750 square feet of storage.

In addition, the amendments seek to better define the parking requirements for all types of residential units in the city. As one of the only increases put forth, the requirement for duplexes was proposed to be increased from two spaces per duplex unit to four spaces per unit.

Barton earlier this month said he has seen the city’s strict requirements for small businesses discourage several new business owners from taking over vacant commercial properties in the downtown core, and might also discourage new construction of retail or light-industrial business sites.

Council members agreed Thursday that because the revisions stand to impact how many business owners in the city conduct their operations, special efforts will be made to publicize the Dec. 12 public hearing.



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