An initiative by the East Bellevue Community Council (EBCC) is looking to crack down on landowners who rent their properties to more than six unrelated tenants not operating as a family unit through a measure that cites preserving the character of the neighborhood as a large reason for its introduction to the public. Interim ordinance 6128 passed by the Bellevue City Council, and proposed by the EBCC, was adopted on March 23 and two upcoming meetings will look to extend the ordinance for another six months – as required by law — while the councils flesh out plans for a potential long term solution.  The legalese will go before the public in two meetings, one held by the EBCC on August 5, and another by the City Council on August 4.

A grace period was extended to landowners who have over six unrelated people in their house – that does not meet the definition of “family” – but that ended on July 1. The ordinance was passed in its interim phase for the following reasons, according to a FAQ on Ordinance 6128 (PDF):

The ordinance was adopted in response to community concerns about the rental of multiple rooms in single-family dwellings to unrelated individuals and the impacts of such rentals, including the erosion of single-family neighborhood character; increased density; declining property maintenance; and increased on-street parking, traffic, noise, and instances of speeding, among others. The City Council determined that adopting the ordinance as an emergency action was necessary for the protection of the public health and safety.

If you’re curious about learning more about the ordinance or wish to voice your opinion on the matter than written comments can be supplied to the following:

Comments: Any person may participate in the City Council public hearing by submitting written comments to the City Council in care of Myrna Basich, City Clerk, P.O. Box 90012, Bellevue, WA 98009, or by submitting written or oral comments to the City Council at the hearing. Any person may participate in the East Bellevue Community Council public hearing by submitting written comments to the East Bellevue Community Council in care of Charmaine Arredondo, Deputy City Clerk, P.O. Box 90012, Bellevue, WA 98009, or by submitting written or oral comments to the East Bellevue Community Council at the hearing.

The EBCC meeting will run at 8 PM at the Boys and Girls Club Clubhouse at 209 100th Ave NE, Bellevue, WA 98004

The City Council meeting takes off at 8 PM at City Hall in the Council Chambers. 450 110th Ave NE, Bellevue, WA 98004

Bellevue isn’t exactly renowned for its criminal activities, but that’s not to say they don’t exist. In the first Bellevue Dispatch blotter report we take a look at crimes committed over the last week as well as one incident that can be best described as mysterious chair arson.

Mysterious chair arson:

On July 15, at 11:20 PM Officer Slusser was called to the Ridgewood Corporate Square — 150-330 120th Avenue – to investigate an alarm report and met a security guard at the office park who explained the situation.

Sams

The security guard extinguished the ignited office chair and pulled it to the side of the roadway so it didn’t become a hazard. The  guard believes the chair was initially discarded adjacent to a dumpster, and they did not see any possible suspects, according to the report.

Ofc. Slusser did not find any evidence that an acceletrant was used to burn the chair – gasoline, etc.. – and security footage did not reveal any suspects. The security guard told Ofc. Slusser he would keep the chair in its place and discard it later.

This case is inactive.

Four stolen cars in two hours:

On July 19, four motor vehicles were stolen over the course of two hours, according to the Bellevue Police Department Crime Map. The first occurred off NE 8th near Crossroads with a reported time of 8 PM while another occurred off Bel Red at the same time. Another two car thefts occurred at 10 PM on NE 10th and NE 9th place.

Round-up:

Bellevue CrimeHere’s a round-up of police investigations from 7/19 to 7/25 – our geographic coverage zone extends East of 405, North of I-90, and South of Redmond:

Motor Vehicle Theft: Five

Theft/Larceny: Three

Burglary: One – we’re investigating for more details.

Vandalism: One

Drug Alcohol Violation: One

Simple Assault: One

Weapons Violation: One – we’re investigating for more details.

 

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It’s silly, a little strange and internationally award winning. Seattle based firm Beyond Home Production crafted an animated short for the City of Bellevue’s Office of Emergency Management that has been recognized by the International Association of Emergency Managers as one of two global award winning entries. The film entitled “Ways to Survive” features a pop group family of Sasquatches as they navigate a series of unfortunate events and help sing the ways out should you find yourself in a similar situation. Do you think it will help you survive?

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Real Estate One

Exact East Bellevue stats are not available (Image: Bellevue Dispatch)

Our friends in the local real estate game have provided the Dispatch with an update of market activities for the Eastside based on quarterly sales statistics. The Seattle Times recently tackled the issue of home purchasing in the area – spoiler: it’s not easy – but if you’re patient and the house stays on the market you may be able to come away with a deal. Here’s where to start based on information from Coldwell Banker:

Overall market for the eastside shows that currently the supply of inventory is 1.5. Meaning, if in 1.5 months there are no more new listings, everything currently on the market will be sold. Keep in mind, 0-3.0 is considered a sellers market, 3.0-6.0 is considered a balanced market, and 6.0+ is a buyers market.

Below is a list of markets based on highest to lowest availability:

• Mercer Island (3.0)
• Downtown Bellevue (2.6)
• Redmond/Kirkland (1.6)
• Newcastle (1.5)
• Bellevue east of 405 (Crossroads, Tamoshanter, Westlake, Sammammish, etc…) lowest available supply (number not listed)

The statistics reveal that the longer the house remains on the market the more its price drops. The largest selling range is for buildings between $500,000 and 700,000 – equating to 1/3 of closed sales. If you cannot wait more than a week you’ll end up paying more:

• Sold above list price- 7.3 days
• Sold at list price- 15.8 days
• Sold below list price- 23.7 days

Overall, 76% of residential properties that sold on the Eastside did not experience a change in price. 48.6% sold over the list price with 23.6% selling under. The properties that sold over their listing, averaged about 5.48% higher while the properties that went under that line came out ahead about 4.23%

The Coldwell Banker Bellevue office represented 54% of all Eastside sales, and 46% of all housing buyers

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(Image: PRNewsFoto/Courtyard Seattle Bellevue)

(Image: PRNewsFoto/Courtyard Seattle Bellevue)

The Courtyard Marriott Seattle Bellevue/Downtown – in downtown Bellevue – received a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for producing visitor experiences that maintain a four out of five star rating on the website. The travel review site utilizes a proprietary algorithm in addition to the star rating system to determine the excellence badge.

“The Seattle area is home to even more excellence than the NFL world-champion Seattle Seahawks,” a release starts modestly. The excellence the hotel is alluding to was crafted from their customer service as well as recently renovated rooms to deliver a pleasant experience for hotel goers.

Top ten cities (Image: TripAdvisor)

Top ten cities (Image: TripAdvisor)

“We are extremely pleased that guests of our hotel take comfort in our spacious rooms, convenient amenities and hard-working associates,” said Rick Tupper, hotel general manager. “We constantly strive to exceed expectations and remain dedicated to offering the highest level of service. We appreciate our guests for their constant support and positive feedback when staying with us.”

The Courtyard Marriot is one of nearly 58,000 hotels to receive the award. Seattle did not make it onto the list of the top ten cities – New York, San Francisco and Las Vegas took top three honors.

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(Image: Bellevue Dispatch)

(Image: Bellevue Dispatch)

The initiative to preserve and repair federally-assisted senior living complexes Bellevue Manor and Patricia Harris Manor Senior Apartments — in Redmond — passed through the Bellevue City Council this June in motion to transfer about $1 million city funds for the effort sponsored by A Regional Coalition for Housing (ARCH) – a multi-city coalition that supports the increase of low and moderate income housing in East King County. The Bellevue plans are just a small segment among 115 area restoration projects, but will have a noticeable impact locally.

For the upcoming renovations the City of Bellevue will contribute $747,256 – $904,158  from a General Revenue fund and $157,902 from a Community Development Block Grant – through operating grants and donations that will support the two senior housing homes. Funding attained by partner cities will be used for site repairs of properties such as windows, plumbing and fire alarm systems among other structural rehabilitation costs, said Klaas Nijhuis, ARCH Senior Planner. ARCH will commit approximately $1.3 million to the projects. An interestingly designed leverage structure leaves the burden – largely – out of the City’s pocket.

The King County Housing Authority (KCHA) is financing $10 million for acquisition costs that are highly leveraged against the City’s contributions resulting in smaller output through ARCH funding per unit, explains Nihjus. “In addition, the financing structure results in repayment of $600,000 to Bellevue for two other projects funded in the past that can be reused for this project,” he said.

In 2013, KCHA acquired several properties that receive federal assistance in the King County area. The ARCH  organization will contribute their renovation funding over the next 18 months to these parcels through its several member cities that encompass the areas served – Clyde Hill, Hunts Point, Issaquah, Kenmore, Kirkland, Medina, Mercer Island, Newcastle, Redmond, Sammamish, Woodinville and Yarrow Point.

“Had the units not been preserved, they would likely become market rate or redeveloped with a net loss of 105 affordable rental units for seniors to the ARCH member communities,” said Klaas Nijhuis, ARCH Senior Planner. “The properties, which are more than 30 years old, will benefit from the necessary improvements… No resident will be required to move during renovations.” Helping some of societies more vulnerable citizens is a large target for ARCH funding.

“Preservation of privately-owned, federally-assisted housing has been an ongoing top priority of ARCH Trust Funds,” said Nijhuis. As the projects wrap 642 such “affordable housing units” will be sustained in East King County with 590 of those getting long term preservation through federal assistance. The residents themselves are largely left unburdened on the financial end.

“Residents’ rent and utility payment is limited to 30 percent of their gross monthly rent,” Nijhuis tells the Dispatch. Since the inception of ARCH the organization has helped create and/or preserve approximately 3,000 affordable housing units with the City of Bellevue playing a  key role in the success of the organization.

“Bellevue was a founding member of ARCH and has supported regional affordable housing efforts through ARCH for more than 23 years,” said Nijhuis. The preservation aspects of the group are listed as a top priority in preserving the stock of affordable housing. The City of Bellevue sits on the Executive Board of the organization – with Bellevue residents included – and outreach among the public a regular facet of the group.

Bellevue Mayor Claudia Balducci was in attendance, as well as city council members and planning commission reps, for a March 6 forum at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church focused on affordable housing.

Bellevue Manor is located at 143 Bellevue Way SE, Bellevue, WA 98004

ARCH Sphere of Influence by Sebastian Garrett-Singh

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(Image: Bellevue Arts Museum)

(Image: Bellevue Arts Museum)

Over three hundred artists are gearing up to show their stuff this weekend for the Bellevue Arts Museum (BAM) Artsfair with free entry, live music and three days to soak up the paint (and other mediums…) And that is just the first stop in a weekend full of crafts, the 6th Street Fair with kids’ activities, local food, topped off with the Bellevue Festival of Arts 30th annual gathering will round out the weekend. Artsfair has been rocking Bellevue for over 60 years.

“No Fair is the same and this year’s free programs include community art-making, glassblowing demos, live performance art, and the creative and messy KIDSfair,” according to a BAM release The artists being displayed were selected from over 1,000 applicants to create a well-rounded and competitive entrance process to show off the finest in Pacific Northwest art. The event runs Friday through Sunday starting at 9:30 AM each morning and ending at 9:30 PM – except Sunday when it will close at 6:30 PM. Visual displays aren’t the only thing you’ll find at the fair as audio plays an important role in the arts.

The event features several local musicians performing at the Sound & Movement Stage from a touring roster of artists from 4Culture. You’ll also be able to purchase some paintings at the event, explore the BAM exhibits for free, as well as tour  two other street fairs just around the corner.

(Image: Bellevue Downtown Association)

(Image: Bellevue Downtown Association)

The 6th Street Fair, sponsored by the Bellevue Downtown Association, is also on the plate for the weekend and offers its own activities for the kids and a variety of foods from gyros to Asian-Fusion. The event runs from July 24 to 26 and begins each day at 10 AM and runs until 8 PM – except on Sunday when it will close at 6 PM. A full map and breakdown of events can be seen here (PDF).

Finally, if you’ve still got some steam left in you then be sure to drop by the Bellevue Festival of Arts which runs on the same timeline. The event now in its 30th year and features approximately 200 juried artists.

We’ve included an event map below:

MapIllustration1

(Image: Bellevue Festival of Arts)

So you’ve got your maps and your plans. The only thing left is parking – though the Dispatch encourages you to take public transportation – here are a few closures for the events you should be aware of:

To accommodate visitors, expect the following closures. Businesses will be open and accessible.

  • 100th Avenue Northeast will be closed southbound from Northeast Eighth Street to Northeast 10th Street (Thursday, July 24, 6:30 a.m. – 9 p.m.; and Sunday, July 27, 5:30 p.m. – 10 p.m.);
  • Northeast 10th Street will be closed westbound between 108th and 106th avenues. (Thursday, July 24, 5 – 10 p.m.);
  • 106th Avenue Northeast will be closed in both directions between Northeast Fourth and Northeast Sixth streets (Thursday, at 6 p.m. until Sunday, at 11 p.m.);
  • Northeast Sixth Street will be closed in both directions from Bellevue Way to 106th Avenue Northeast (6 p.m., Thursday, until 11 p.m., Sunday); and
  • 102nd Avenue Northeast will be closed in both directions between Northeast Eighth and Northeast 10th streets (7 a.m., Friday, until 11 p.m., Sunday).

To avoid sitting in traffic and to use alternative modes of transportation, check out Choose Your Way Bellevue. For more details about taking the bus, please visit Metro Transit and enter your preferred route number in the “Get a Timetable” box. For Sound Transit routes (535, 550 and 560) visit Sound Transit

Paid parking is also affordable and convenient, with price varying by location, and available in many of Bellevue’s downtown buildings.

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A construction worker at Bellevue College fell 50 feet to his death Monday morning. The man in his 30s was working on the school’s incoming health sciences building when the fall took place. The worker was declared deceased when paramedics arrived shortly after 10:30 AM. More details will be added as they arrive.

Update 1:14 PM: Several Bellevue Police Officers are still at the scene investigating the fall. Bellevue College released a brief statement featured below:

Bellevue College

 

(Image: Bellevue College)

(Image: Bellevue College)

Update 7/22: Bellevue College will lower all of its campus flags to half mast for the week in memory of the fallen worker. The City of Bellevue has just made a release on the incident:

Shortly after 10:30 a.m., Monday Bellevue Police and Fire units were dispatched to a report of an accident at a construction site at the Health Sciences building at Bellevue College. When officers arrived, they found a 31-year-old man dead from injuries sustained in a fall. The man had been a worker at the construction site. Detectives are currently investigating this incident and working to notify the family of the deceased.

A preliminary investigation revealed that the worker was working on a ladder on the fourth floor of the building prior to the accident, and may have fallen from the ladder. The victim fell approximately 50 feet to the ground below.

The state Department of Labor and Industries has responded, and is conducting an investigation into the man’s safety equipment, as well determining whether safety procedures and protections at the site were in compliance with all laws and regulations.

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The Public Technology Institute presented the City of Bellevue with an award for their performance database that runs on software called Covalent that streamlines multiple performance tracking systems into one easy-to-view dashboard for city staff and Bellevue residents.

“This system allows us to capture more than 1,500 performance measures used by city departments,” said Rich Siegel, the city’s Performance and Outreach Coordinator, in a release. Through the software, the City is able to examine trends and evaluate performance. The city is also in the development phase for public websites that will feature the dashboards.

The database provides reporting capabilities and the ability to create different views for different audiences. With its dashboards, strategy maps and reporting functions, the system allows staff to quickly look at measures, compare trends or evaluate current performance against targets.

The Public Technology Institute, based in Washington, D.C., supports local government executives and elected officials through research, education, executive-level consulting services and national recognition programs.

“Data now has a permanent seat at the decision making table, and this is a bonus for our city,” said Siegel.

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(Image: U.S. Department of State)

(Image: U.S. Department of State)

Bellevue commuters now have three reasons to telecommute this week as I-90 work continues until Friday, night work starts today on Factoria Boulevard, and on Tuesday President Barack Obama will roll (or fly) across 520 to Hunts Point for a fundraiser. Forget going to Seattle this week – or as they say on Capitol Hill, “Another reason to stay away from Bellevue.”

Obama 520:

On Tuesday, President Barrack Obama will arrive in the area with his normal traffic congesting secret service entourage and proceed to Hunts Point for a fundraiser. The Puget Sound Business Journal points out that in 2012 he took a helicopter to the Eastside. No word yet if that’s the case or when he will be making the trip from Seattle to Hunts Point. Did you know that his Presidential limos used to have flags made in Bellevue?

One lane I-90:

I-90 work continues until Friday evening with traffic flowing through a one-lane conduit – while bicyclists have a considerably easier route – as well as night time work alongside the highway on Factoria Boulevard between SE 36th and SE 41st which starts tonight.

Night work on Factoria Boulevard:

Part of a three-month repaving project, the City of Bellevue and the Washington State Department of Transportation worked together to avoid presenting dueling traffic delays so work in Factoria continues on a night time schedule during the week – 7:30 PM to 6 AM – and returns to a normal work schedule next week on July 28 – 9 AM to 6 PM.

The grinding and paving work will require one full side of the road to be closed at a time. As a result, traffic will be reduced to one lane in each direction on one side of the landscape median.  Business access and egress may be impacted for short durations as the work progresses past each street block and driveway.

There will be evening construction noise from the grinding work. The construction contractor will attempt to complete the work as quickly as possible to minimize the number of nights required.

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