Affordable Housing Strategy

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City council members with golden shovels, breaking ground for new housing.

The city’s Affordable Housing Strategy was adopted in 2017 and sets a goal of creating 2,500 affordable homes over ten years. The Strategy outlines 21 actions the city should take to preserve and increase affordable housing. Action C-1 calls on the city to make it easier to build affordable housing on land owned by public, non-profit housing, and faith-based organizations. This action could result in 200 to 1000 units of affordable housing .

In December of 2020 the Bellevue City Council approved an update to the comprehensive plan that provides a density bonus to affordable housing developments on select faith-based, housing non-profit, and public owned properties.

In 2021 we are working through the details of crafting new Land Use Code. Here's where you can ask a question, leave a comment, and find out more about the process.

The city’s Affordable Housing Strategy was adopted in 2017 and sets a goal of creating 2,500 affordable homes over ten years. The Strategy outlines 21 actions the city should take to preserve and increase affordable housing. Action C-1 calls on the city to make it easier to build affordable housing on land owned by public, non-profit housing, and faith-based organizations. This action could result in 200 to 1000 units of affordable housing .

In December of 2020 the Bellevue City Council approved an update to the comprehensive plan that provides a density bonus to affordable housing developments on select faith-based, housing non-profit, and public owned properties.

In 2021 we are working through the details of crafting new Land Use Code. Here's where you can ask a question, leave a comment, and find out more about the process.

Leave a Comment

Bellevue has a goal of creating 2500 units of affordable housing in the next ten years and we are pursuing multiple strategies to achieve that goal. Right now we are focusing on making it easier to build affordable housing on land owned by non-profit housing and faith-based organizations. We're in the process of drafting a new policy. Here's the place where you can leave a comment or offer feedback for us to consider.

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I have read the C-1 density proposal by staff and followed the conversation at the Planning Commission. The C-1 proposal by staff is disappointing; it does not serve the goal to prevent land owners from having to get a Comprehensive Plan Amendment to obtain density sufficient to make a financially viable project.

Under the staff's proposal, any similarly-situated church seeking density already awarded to St Margaret's and St Luke's would have to apply for a Comprehensive Plan Amendment. Likewise, it would not have prevented DASH's extremely time consuming efforts to obtain increased density on their property.

Also troubling is that during the Planning Commission meeting on April 14, Staff made NO COMMITMENT to Commissioners to re-evaluate their density proposal in future study sessions, despite a clear majority of Commissioners expressing disappointment in this proposal and calling for more density.

The staff's apparent reliance on a "demonstration project" to showcase one additional project with more density is unnecessary, and appears to be a dodge. There are two existing projects, St Luke's and St Margaret's, which already demonstrate that additional density beyond what is proposed by Staff is not only possible, but is a practical path for providing needed housing.

Council has repeatedly asked for Bold initiatives. Commission flatly stated on April 14 that this C-1 proposal is Not Bold. Recommend that Staff consider awarding density on par with St Luke's and St Margaret's for all qualifying properties and thereby take a positive step towards ending economically discriminatory zoning policies.

C Buchanan 19 days ago

Greetings.
I believe affordable housing does not mean residents will not own and drive cars. Reduced parking out side of transit nodes of 1/4 mile and serviced by multiple types of mass transit will increase on street parking and create congested neighborhoods.

Jeffrey Hummer about 1 month ago

A 10 minute walk to and from transit in the dark and rainy weather is not pleasant and does not improve the quality of life. Perhaps added street side walk lighting and covered sidewalks would help and should be required. Corporations such as Boeing have done this or many years to their remote parking lots.

Hansennp about 1 month ago

This is almost the same goal as set 10 years ago. DEFINITELY NOT an increase in Bellevue goals for affordable housing units. So much excess city property, non-utilized Parks Department lands and rigidly zoned land locations that could be utilized, NOT JUST "faith properties" to build on.

Old, outdated and poorly planned "Master Plan" for Downtown Ashwood Park still shows "Workplace Housing" to be constructed in the middle of this tiny 2 acre Downtown Park. What is wrong with our Bellevue Parks Board? Let's make a professional, ethical and transparent review before we do re-zoning. The Mayor has also expressed interest in building a Community Center
in addition to Affordable Housing in the Park. Our last remaining Ashwood Neighborhood green space for recreational public use would be destroyed. What is going on in Bellevue's Planning Department? Where is the "Planning"? Where are the Professionals anyway? Any Code review process must make common sense. Let's get real. Please! Any new policy must maintain Ashwood Park as green space for public use. Dwight Schrag - Ashwood Neighborhood Resident

stress1225@DS about 1 month ago

I have seen multiple units being developed in the area and marketed as affordable housing.

It very concerning that the prices for these units are nothing affordable to the forgotten class of those who are "not rich" enough to afford, and "not poor" enough to qualify for the subsidized housing.

What is the city doing to address this issue of young proffessionals who wants yo start family and set roots in Bellevue but are priced out?

Not everyone in Bellevue works for big techs and can afford the higher prices. How about teachers, police, nurses, etc. who all wants to live in Bellevue?

Mkayanda about 1 month ago

Fewer mega mansions! You are taking down affordable homes and trees! You are taxed bf diversity out of our city!

Sandra Grace about 2 months ago

Housing and transportation are intimately linked. Bellevue's economic profile claims the city had 150K jobs in 2015, but only 22% of Bellevue employees lived in the city (2010 number). We cannot afford to have everyone commute into Bellevue by automobile every day. We must build housing that's available and affordable across the entire economic profile of Bellevue workers: retail, health care, and even the underemployed.

Amazon alone is positioned to bring 25K tech jobs to Bellevue over the next four years. Facebook and other tech companies easily will bring that number over 30K. Each of those jobs creates more jobs in retail and other service sectors. How will those employees get to work? Wouldn't it be great if they could walk or bike to their jobs instead of adding more SOV car traffic to our downtown core?

We must remove barriers--both zoning and code--to building housing that targets all levels. It was encouraging to see support from Amazon and the Chamber of Commerce at this week's City Council meeting to eliminate some parking requirements for apartments, given that parking drastically raises the cost of affordable housing. We must do more to upzone and open up new ideas.

Bellevue prides itself on being a city of neighborhoods. Neighborhood representatives often complain that the "character" will change if we rezone, or that "people will park for free on my street" if we don't require parking minimums. But the city is nearing a future where we're all stuck in our cars, edging inch by inch toward the freeway entrances so we can crawl our way out of the city to our exurban homes. We have to make it easier to build housing for people (without necessarily including parking for cars) in Bellevue. We need to act now.

APardoe about 2 months ago

I am concerned about Ashwood Park. An earlier proposal dated over 20 years ago
called for building a structure on the Park that would include a Community Center
and Affordable Housing. If this happened, it would destroy the Park which is the only
open green space for outdoor recreation north of N.E. 8th Street. I hope any process
of drafting a new policy will include saving Ashwood Park. Susan Nelson

nelsonfinancialservices@comcast.net about 2 months ago

In many of the single family residential neighborhoods around Bellevue, residents would like the option to build out DADU rental space in the form of a tiny home. This would help to diversify neighborhoods, allow longevity into retirement and old age, and augment the affordable housing stock in Bellevue. Good resources from our own Runstad Fellows Program... get connected. https://www.naiopwa.org/index.php?option=com_dailyplanetblog&view=entry&year=2018&month=01&day=25&id=75:development-that-empowers-january-2018-breakfast-recap-

Karen 2 months ago

I am very pleased to see Bellevue making real progress facilitating affordable housing. As we are eager to say - our diversity is our strength - but we have to acknowledge that means socio-economic diversity, age diversity, racial diversity, cultural diversity. The unfettered real estate market place will deny us the very diversity we see as our strength. We need government to help us achieve our already-stated goals.
Thank you for this important work.

Chris Marks 6 months ago

Policy and zoning code comments regarding the current Affordable Housing C1 Strategy 2020 Annual Comprehensive Plan Amendment.

Thank you for initiating the actions found in Bellevue Affordable Housing Strategy C1, this is a much needed strategy to enable affordable housing development on these underutilized properties. At the time the AHS was adopted, Bellevue’s affordable housing priorities were somewhat aligned with King County’s affordable housing priorities. That alignment appears to have changed in 2020 where King County priorities appear to have diverged from Bellevue’s base priorities behind strategies C1 and E.

Up until 2020 King County had been prioritizing capital funding to homeless and very low income projects like 30Bellevue and Andrews Glen. The divergence occurred with new policies released in the King County 2020 Capital Funding for Affordable Housing Projects RFP. The new policies exclude very low income projects like 30Bellevue and Andrews Glen from receiving project based vouchers and will only make project based vouchers available to projects with;

“site based Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) serving 35 or more low-income households experiencing chronic homelessness”, and “to serve veterans and their families eligible under the HUD-VASH program and/or non-elderly (age 62 or under at time of leasing) disabled households eligible for support under the Mainstream voucher program.”

This new policy almost eliminates all opportunities for very low income projects on faith based properties like 30Bellevue and Andrews Glen. These two projects are considered Permanent Housing with Supports and they are distinctly different from the County’s site based Permanent Supportive Housing priority. The County definitions for the two housing types are;

• “Permanent Supportive Housing” (PSH) means non-time limited Affordable Housing for a household that is homeless on entry, and has a condition or disability, such as mental illness, substance abuse, chronic health issues, or other conditions that create multiple and serious ongoing barriers to housing stability.

• “Permanent Housing with Supports” (i.e. other permanent housing). Means non-time limited Affordable Housing for households experiencing homelessness with a high to medium level of service needs.
The project based voucher funding partnership had been a traditional key component to enable development of affordable housing projects to serve families and senior with very lower income levels. With the loss of leveraging King County funding options for projects similar to 30Bellevue and Andrews Glen on Strategy C1 properties, I recommend the City should also examine how Strategy E can respond to the new County policies.

In response to specific zoning code adjustments, I offer the following suggestions for Strategy C1 properties;

1. Allow building floor height increase based on building adjacency to arterials and buffer distances adjacent to R-5 zones.
a. Instead of allowing height increases based on dimensions, allow height increases based on additional floors.
b. Increasingly greater buffers should allow additional floors, i.e. if current code limits a building to 3 floors;
- A buffer of “x” width could allow 4 floors
- Additional buffer of “y” width in excess of “x” width, where “x+y” width could allow 5 floors.
- Where right of ways, easements, at grade setbacks, and upper level setbacks are included in buffer widths.
2. On properties where a church and affordable housing are proposed uses, allow residential density based gross tax parcel area(s) without subtracting church floor areas and critical areas in the density calculation.
3. Where an affordable housing project encompasses multiple and adjoining church tax parcels, allow increased densities based on gross area of all adjoining church tax parcels.
4. Allow all affordable units less than 600sf be considered ½ units.

Thank you

Allen

Allen Dauterman
Senior Real Estate Developer
Imagine Housing

Allen Dauterman 7 months ago

I am in complete agreement with the proposed strategy to use an already existing bonus program to encourage the development of affordable housing through partnerships between faith-based/non-profits, City and, potentially, the private sector. The City should also make every effort to streamline the development process to reduce costs in money and time. With the problem so acute the City must act with boldness and speed.

mazzelt 8 months ago

My huge concern revolves around finding affordable housing for those with disabilities. We are currently low income. My son who is intellectually disabled just turned 18. Everyone tells me get on the Section 8 list for my son, but it open just before he turned 18. And even if I filled it out, it is only for one person. My son does not yet have the skills to live completely on his own. So his unit right now is me his guardian and paid care provider and my husband. I had to resign my para-educating career of five years to educate my own child, because the school failed him during closure and in actuality was failing before the closure. So now I am his teacher as well. We cant get our son on SSI until we finish the guardianship process which should conclude the first week in October. My son turned 18 in March and because we are poor I had to do the guardianship all on my own, pro se, Every aspect of my sons life I am trying to navigate at the moment, without losing housing. How we supposed to find low income housing that does not separate us as a family?

mymanyautisticways 8 months ago

In response to "making it easier to build affordable housing on land owned by non-profit housing and faith-based organization" three thoughts.

1. Who owns the land should be irrelevant if a recorded long term land use restriction is put in place to limit the use to affordable housing.

2. It is critical that any definition of "land owned by non-profit housing" include a tax credit limited partnership that has a general partner or co-general partner that is a non-profit entity. That way a group can take the benefits offered to sites for affordable housing and apply to site a they intend to buy, but may not own until the closing of financing (a step that requires building permits and entitlements).

3. THINK BIG. Small changes here will not get you results. Small incremental differentials in density won't do it. Needs to be big.

Emily Thompson 8 months ago